For Your Average Genius: I Don't Want No Stinkin' Socialized Medicine!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Don't Want No Stinkin' Socialized Medicine!

When I was in my mid-twenties, I suffered from a serious kidney ailment. Off and on for five years, my urine would throw off red blood cells. It got so bad that sometimes my urine would be almost the color of a Coca Cola.

That's why I recall an article about the result of the government picking up the tab for kidney dialysis many years ago. The article noted that the costs had exploded from an expected $500 million to $15 billion.

By then I had cured myself of my incurable condition without the help of my kidney doctor. So when I read the article about the soaring costs, I just shook my head.

It was kind of ironic that later, I worked transporting wheelchair-bound patients from nursing homes to large kidney dialysis centers. Long rooms filled with about 30 dialysis units were kept running in shifts because there were so many patients being brought in each day. The patients themselves were almost all on medicare or medicaid.

It was obvious to me that the owners of the equipment would not be interested how I cured myself. No, they were sucking on the government teat. What would they have done with the millions invested in their dialysis machines and staff if patients could cure themselves?

In 2005, Medicare funneled $62 billion of taxpayers' money into kidney dialysis treatments. Hardly anyone was cured...maybe no one.

But the dialysis center's bills were paid. So it was a success at least by that yardstick.

The National Kidney Foundation notes that 80% of all dialysis costs are paid by taxpayers.

Maybe that's why I'm so opposed to socialized medicine. The patients I saw were on a slow road to dying early. The dialysis kept them alive but for most, they would be too exhausted to work or enjoy life.

It seems that my method for curing myself was far better, but so long as there's an easy gravy train that continues to this day, the motivation to find actual cures is greatly diminished..

In other words, innovation goes out the window when the medical infrastructure becomes dependent on taxpayers footing the bill.

My personal cure cost me less than a laptop computer - far less. My kidneys have been working just fine for over 30 years.

If one government controlled disease can cost us tens to hundreds of billions of our hard earned dollars, how hard will the government hammer us to pay for every illness?

Because the my story doesn't stop with bad kidneys.

Two years after I wrote The Doctor Who Cures Cancer, I cured myself of Stage 4 cancer nearly 10 years ago. I must tell you, I didn't rely on the government to do it.

Nope. I cured myself for about $10 or so.

If I'd relied on the government, it would have easily cost $100,000 to $250,000 as a lead up to my funeral. I didn't have the money, so you would have ended up paying for my treatment.

If we want innovation, the last thing we should do is set up an infrastructure called socialized medicine. 'Cuz there's nothing 'social' about puking your guts out thanks to government "do gooders" transferring your wealth to expensive treatments that might not be all that beneficial.

I treated myself out of necessity. It's the mother of invention. Government controlled medicine is the mother of more government controlled medicine.

So ask yourself, do you want more innovation or more government?

For me, with no kidney disease and no cancer, the answer makes me smile.
Kelley Eidem is the author of The Doctor Who Cures Cancer and It's Not Just For Sex.

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