[Marxism] Healthcare Follies

Michael Perelman michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
Sat Jul 5 20:55:53 MDT 2008

Thank you Greg.  I will try to work on this.  You might be interested in a friend's 
site on body mechanics.  He has mortgaged his home to make a video of his new 

On Sat, Jul 05, 2008 at 10:09:32PM -0400, Greg McDonald wrote:
> Thanks Michael for tackling such an important topic. I like the  
> points you've already made, in particular with regard to HMO  
> bureaucracy and paperwork, as well as care denial. Both key points.
> I'd like to make a few small points based on my experience within the  
> field of health care. I've lived and worked as a massage therapist in  
> a variety of settings, both rural and urban, and over the years have  
> developed professional relationships with medical doctors,  
> chiropractors, orthopedists, physical therapists, osteopaths,  
> acupuncturists, etc. I frequently  give and receive referrals to and  
> from a wide range of health practitioners.
> I've developed a bit of a niche as someone dealing with both chronic  
> and acute pain reduction, so I get to see a diverse group of traumas,  
> injuries, and structural imbalances.
> I've come to the conclusion that private health care distorts the  
> quality of care delivered, and can lead to inappropriate treatments  
> based more on cost-benefit analysis rather than the health and well- 
> being of the patient or client in question. This is due to the  
> institutional power structures, which in many cases determine  
> treatment protocol, and not to the advantage of the client  
> necessarily. We see this time and again in relation to the  
> pharmaceutical industry and insurance, as well as, unfortunately, to  
> certain surgical procedures.
> I've also observed turf wars between different medical professions,  
> also to the detriment of the patient. These are of course due to  
> capitalist distortions within the industry. Sometimes legislation is  
> passed, usually denying access to a certain treatment protocol for  
> one group of practitioners to the advantage of a more firmly  
> entrenched profession, and usually the cutting-edge science is in  
> favor of the insurgent profession. go figure.
> US health care is also extremely expensive, favoring technologically  
> sophisticated treatments, but ones usually based on some heroic  
> intervention. Such is the case with a warrior culture that got it's  
> medical advances primarily on the battlefield. Surgery, morphine,  
> sterilization.
> Fortunately, preventive medicine, which is in the forefront of much  
> new science and traditional non-occidental practice, is gaining a  
> footing within the industry. Unfortunately, the benefits seem to be  
> going mainly to the wealthy. Single-payer could help to revolutionize  
> medical care, taking all the current cutting edge practices and  
> making them more accessible to the citizenry. The problem is the  
> contradiction created by capitalism, which feeds on and magnifies  
> people's dis-ease, and a health care system which would prioritize  
> keeping people healthy.
> Greg McDonald
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Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu

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