Healthcare has a Tapeworm and it won’t let go.

There are several types of tapeworms (Cestoda) that infect humans. They latch on to the host’s intestinal wall and absorb nutrients that are supposed to feed the host. Tapeworms survive and thrive at the expense of their host. Typically, they release their hold, fall off the intestinal wall and are excreted before the host dies of starvation.

Healthcare has a tapeworm but it won’t let go. It keeps growing as the host consumes more but gets less nourishment. The worm’s full technical name is Bureaucrator defensis uber alles (BDUA) or bureaucracy for short. Because it won’t let go, the host called Healthcare is starving to death.

According to Darwin (“On the Origin of Species,” 1859), biological organisms survive in order to procreate. BDUA is different. It survives and defends itself solely for the purpose of expanding or enlarging and does so at the expense of everything, including its host.

Host healthcare is gorging itself…on money. The U.S. consumes more healthcare dollars per capita than any other nation. Since money is the energy source by which systems do whatever they do, one expects that the system that uses the most energy (consumes the most money) gets the most benefit. Not so!

The U.S. spends more of its gross domestic product on healthcare than Canada (50% more in USA), Japan (48%), United Kingdom (46%), Germany (35%) and Switzerland (24%). The U.S. ranks behind every one of them in how long we live and infant mortality.

To paraphrase a beer commercial, we are spending more and getting less. Plagiarizing Peter, Paul & Mary, “Where has all the money gone?” Answer: the “waste of the middle,” consumed by BDUA. Roughly 40% of all the dollars that go in to the U.S. healthcare system never come out. When you are talking about $2.5 trillion, even Senator (deceased) Everett Dirkson would call $1 trillion [40% of 2.5 trillion] some “real money.”

Imagine what the nurses and doctors could do for us if they had a $1 trillion more than what is available now!

There is one huge difference between BDUA and the more common human tapeworms (Cestoda). When an individual human is infected with Cestoda, the person cannot decide what the tapeworm eats versus what goes to the host.

For BDUA, we can say how much [money] goes to it and how much goes to us [patients]. By requiring cost/benefit analysis for all food [money] going to the bureaucracy (BDUA), we can reduce its obscene, life-threatening eating habits and have more health care for people.

I often repeat Dennis Miller’s famous closing line, “That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.” Not this time – I know I am right. In a choice between our welfare and the tapeworm, we must choose us.

System MD

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3 comments ↓

#1 fontgoddess on 07.09.10 at 3:09 am

I think the worst part of healthcare’s parasitic bureaucracy is the payment bureaucracy. With so many disparate payment plans and payment standards and codes and systems, it feels like much of the money going into healthcare is getting skimmed off by billing and payment inefficiencies. It shouldn’t take a special degree to communicate with a doctor’s billing office or an insurance company.

#2 Health policy IS fiscal policy. on 05.20.11 at 10:30 pm

[...] of borrowing. Healthcare policy as fiscal policy – viz., spending money we do not have to feed a healthcare bureaucracy we cannot afford – is accelerating our rush toward Chapter 11 or even [...]

#3 health care » Blog Archive » Health policy IS fiscal policy. on 05.21.11 at 2:08 am

[...] Healthcare process as mercantile process – viz., spending income we do not have to feed a healthcare bureaucracy we can't means – is accelerating a rush toward Chapter 11 or even [...]

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