Flunking math… Or why you shouldn’t believe all you read!

 

Recently I came across a study that says that American obesity costs us $190 billion dollars a year.  Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  However total US health care costs are about $2.7 trillion dollars a year and are heading up thanks to Obamacare.  Turns out that $190 billion dollars is less than 7% of the current $2.7 trillion dollars we’re spending now on health care.  Given current yearly increases in health care costs, this is no more than a couple of years worth of increases in our health care costs.  In other words, just the sort of statement that impresses only those people who flunked grade school math.

A lot of the supposed $190 billion dollars spent on obesity turns out to be “income” for medical providers and nice hefty profits for the American drug industry along with a certain amount of additional income spread out through our government created and enforced health care monopoly that we are told produces the world’s best and greatest health care.  The fact that if we were to remove those aspects of government regulation that cause us to have the world’s most expensive health care, the savings would amount to perhaps as much as a trillion dollars a year, or about $3,000 per capita.  In which case the supposed $190 billion dollars would of course be much smaller in proportion.  It is for example quite possible to manufacture insulin for much less than what our drug companies now earn making it.  The only reason we don’t have cheaper generic insulin has to do with “pay offs” to generic drug manufacturers not to make a competitive product that would probably sell for half of what is currently charged for the drug.  There is a lot of this sort of thing that happens “behind the scenes”.  Which adds of course to our own costs of maintaining our health, but which puts money in many pockets…

Actually “managing” your diabetes isn’t that difficult for those capable of doing even basic grade school calculations.  Diabetes is merely a condition where your body cannot manufacture sufficient amounts of insulin to maintain your blood sugar at “normal” levels.  Blood sugar is produced by “carbohydrates” which come from starches and sugars.  Your body uses the sugar in your blood as “fuel”, so a diabetic is a person who effectively is putting more “fuel” into themselves than they are burning back off for energy.  If a diabetic was to keep the ratio between input and output in balance, they would not need to take insulin or take drugs that help control blood sugar.  Prior to the creation of injectionible insulin, diabetics had to eat low carbohydrate meals which in turn did not create an excess of blood sugar.  We know the idea of low carbohydrate diets today under the term “The Atkins’ Diet”.  Dr. Atkins “discovered” this diet most likely through the sort of diet that diabetics had to use before the development of insulin that could be injected into the blood stream. Of course this sort of diet means you eat a lot of meat and vegetables, but avoid for the most part starches and sugars.  This is why most of today’s diabetics are “type two” diabetics, whose bodies still make insulin, but not enough.  Most of the time they are also overweight or obese.  There are also those who bodies simply don’t make insulin, these are “type one” diabetics, who are much less common than the “type two’s” who got that way through overeating and/or not exercising enough to keep their blood sugar under control.  Of course doctors could explain all this to their patients, but there wouldn’t be much profit in it, and the drug companies wouldn’t be able to make the profits that they creating insulin for diabetics.  Of course there is also the problem that the diabetics would have to change their diets and become more physically active.  Interestingly enough, many diabetics can get off insulin after they have the size of their stomachs reduced by bariatric surgery.  Which sort of surgery is also a “money maker” for the medical profession.  However given the high cost of insulin over say a decade or so, the surgery might well be cheaper…

What this all means is that when you read statements like “American Obesity costs the US health care system $190 billion dollars a year, you must understand that what to you is “cost” is however “income” for someone else.  Obviously if there weren’t very many diabetics, then the health care industry dedicated to treating diabetics wouldn’t exist.

It will be obvious to any thinking person reading this that in truth there is usually much more to be considered than just what someone says is a “problem”.  Obviously someone has to pay for treating diabetics, but the insurance company that is paying the doctor is also making a profit on the deal too.  And the doctor is earning income he or she wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.  The same is true of the drug company that makes the drug.  So that $190 billion dollars that it is claimed diabetics cost the US is actually money that ends up in many pockets.  The doctor gets paid, the insurance company collects premiums (of which 20% is gross profit) and the drug company gets paid and because the cost of producing insulin is far less than the amount paid for it, also means excellent profits along with dividends to the stockholders.  So we must look at the “Big Picture”, see all the factors involved.  In which case I think we will agree that the idea of “cost” should only be considered in light of the “profits” that someone else is earning here.

Perhaps this will put into a better light the truth about the US health care system.  That while it is extremely expensive (compared to the rest of the developed world), it also at the same time generates a very excellent level of income for those who provide the services.  An income that they would “not” enjoy if the medical condition mentioned here did not exist.  This I think puts an entirely different “light” upon these issues.  It is in fact the profit seeking activities of those involved in health care that drive the high cost of US health care.  Obviously if the US health care system was exposed to the cost controlling features of the free market, the cost of health care here in the US would drop by a considerable amount.  Therefore making the need for things like “Obamacare” much less than they are today.  In effect, it is the activities of “government” that generate monopoly, and without government, monopoly is much more difficult to maintain…

 

 

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About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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