$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams

If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.  At this point only the United States, China, Japan and Germany have a GDP that is larger than the 3.5 trillion dollar U.S. health care market.  If that sounds obscene to you, that is because it is obscene.  We should want people to be attracted to the health care industry because they truly want to help people that are suffering, but instead the primary reason why people are drawn to the health care industry these days is because of the giant mountains of money that are being made.  Like so many other things in our society, the health care industry is all about the pursuit of the almighty dollar, and that is just wrong.

In order to keep this giant money machine rolling, the health care industry has to do an enormous amount of marketing.  If you can believe it, a study that was just published found that at least 30 billion dollars a year is spent on such marketing.

Hoping to earn its share of the $3.5 trillion health care market, the medical industry is pouring more money than ever into advertising its products — from high-priced prescriptions to do-it-yourself genetic tests and unapproved stem cell treatments.

Spending on health care marketing nearly doubled from 1997 to 2016, soaring to at least $30 billion a year, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA.

This marketing takes many different forms, but perhaps the most obnoxious are the television ads that are endlessly hawking various pharmaceutical drugs.  If you watch much television, you certainly can’t miss them.  They always show vibrant, smiling, healthy people participating in various outdoor activities on bright, sunny days, and the inference is that if you want to be like those people you should take their drugs.  And the phrase “ask your doctor” is usually near the end of every ad…

The biggest increase in medical marketing over the past 20 years was in “direct-to-consumer” advertising, including the TV commercials that exhort viewers to “ask your doctor” about a particular drug. Spending on such ads jumped from $2.1 billion in 1997 to nearly $10 billion in 2016, according to the study.

As a result of all those ads, millions of Americans rush out to their doctors to ask about drugs that they do not need for diseases that they do not have.

And on January 1st, dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturers hit Americans with another annual round of massive price increases.

But everyone will just keep taking those drugs, because that is what the doctors are telling them to do.  But what most people never find out is that the pharmaceutical industry goes to great lengths to get those doctors to do what they want.  According to NBC News, the big drug companies are constantly “showering them with free food, drinks and speaking fees, as well as paying for them to travel to conferences”.

It is a legal form of bribery, and it works.

When you go to most doctors, they will only have two solutions to whatever problem you have – drugs or surgery.

And since nobody really likes to get cut open, and since drugs are usually the far less expensive choice, they are usually the preferred option.

Of course if doctors get off the path and start trying to get cute by proposing alternative solutions, they can get in big trouble really fast

Today’s medical doctors are not allowed to give nutritional advice, or the American Medical Association will come shut them down, and even if they were, they don’t know the right things to say, because they weren’t educated that way in medical college. So instead, M.D.s just sling experimental, addictive drugs at symptoms of deeper rooted sicknesses, along with immune-system-destroying antibiotics and carcinogenic vaccines.

That’s why any medicine that wrecks your health is easy to come by, just like junk food in vending machines. The money isn’t made off the “vending” products, the money is made off the sick fools who are repeat offenders and keep going back to the well for more poison – it’s called chronic sick care or symptom management. Fact: Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in America, even when “taken as directed.”

Switching gears, let’s talk about hospitals for a moment.

When you go to the hospital, it is often during a great time of need.  If you are gravely ill or if an accident has happened and you think you might die, you aren’t thinking about how much your medical care is going to cost.  At that moment you just want help, and that is a perfect opportunity for predators to take advantage of you.

Just consider the example of 24-year-old Nina Dang.  She broke her arm while riding her bicycle in San Francisco, and so she went to the emergency room.

The hospital that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated so much money to definitely fixed her arm, but later they broke her bank account when they hit her with a $24,000 bill

A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance. She was semi-lucid for that ride, awake but unable to answer basic questions about where she lived. Paramedics took her to the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors X-rayed her arm and took a CT scan of her brain and spine. She left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and with a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist.

A few months later, Dang got a bill for $24,074.50. Premera Blue Cross, her health insurer, would only cover $3,830.79 of that — an amount that it thought was fair for the services provided. That left Dang with $20,243.71 to pay, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.

Most Americans assume that if they have “good health insurance” that they are covered if something major happens.

But as Dang found out, you can still be hit with crippling hospital bills even if you have insurance.

Today, medical debt is the number one reason why Americans declare bankruptcy.  Because of the way our system is set up, most families are just one major illness away from financial ruin.

And this kind of thing is not just happening in California.  The median charge for a visit to the emergency room nationally is well over a thousand dollars, and you can be billed up to 30 dollars for a single pill of aspirin during a hospital stay.

Our health care system is deeply broken, and it has been designed to squeeze as much money out of all of us as it possibly can.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with this system for now.  The health care industry is certainly not going to reform itself, and the gridlock in Washington is going to make a political solution impossible for the foreseeable future.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Prescription Painkiller Crisis: Why Do Americans Consume 80 Percent Of All Prescription Painkillers?

Pills Prescription Painkillers - Public DomainIf Americans are so happy, then why do we consume 80 percent of the entire global supply of prescription painkillers?  Less than 5 percent of the world’s population lives in this country, and yet we buy four-fifths of these highly addictive drugs.  In the United States today, approximately 4.7 million Americans are addicted to prescription pain relievers, and that represents about a 300 percent increase since 1999.  If you personally know someone that is suffering from this addiction, then you probably already know how immensely destructive these drugs can be.  Someone that was formally living a very healthy and normal life can be reduced to a total basket case within a matter of weeks.

And of course many don’t make it back at all.  According to the CDC, more than 28,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2014.  Incredibly, those deaths represented 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the United States for that year

A report released by the US Centers for Disesase Control and Prevention (CDC) in January revealed that drug-overdose deaths reached a new high in 2014, totaling 47,055 people. Opioids, a type of powerful painkiller that requires a prescription, were involved in 60% of those deaths.

Many Americans that start out on legal opioids quickly find themselves moving over to heroin because it is often cheaper and easier to obtain, and the U.S. is now facing a tremendous epidemic of heroin abuse as well.  In fact, the number of Americans that die of a heroin overdose nearly quadrupled between 2000 to 2013.

Finally, the federal government has started to take notice of this crisis.  A bill was recently passed to spend more than a billion dollars over the next two year fighting this problem.

But as long as doctors are writing thousands upon thousands of new prescriptions for these painkillers each year, this crisis is not going to go away any time soon.

In the Appalachians, these prescription painkillers are commonly known as “hillbilly heroin“, and all of the attention that the New Hampshire primaries received focused a lot of attention on how this crisis is destroying countless numbers of lives up in the Northeast.  But one survey found that the states with the biggest problems with painkiller addiction are actually in the West

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey of approximately 67,500 people across the United States, found that the states with the highest rates of narcotic painkiller abuse were in the West – Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Unless you are about to die, I would very strongly recommend that you resist any attempt by your doctor to put you on these “medications”.  Just consider what happened to one stay-at-home mother named Norah Mangan

I am an educated, suburban wife and stay-at-home mother of four. Life had been good to me until a fateful visit with an orthopedic physician, my chief complaint being mild arthritic pain in my toes. My physician handed me the first of many monthly prescriptions for Oxycodone and what followed that appointment was a rapid descent into hell. Within six months, I had become a raving drug addict.

Before too long, Norah had to turn to means that were less than legal in order to keep fueling her addiction.  Her life was turned into a complete and utter disaster by drugs that were legally prescribed to her…

It wasn’t long before my legal monthly prescription fell woefully short in terms of keeping my life altering pain at bay. In the interest of not incriminating myself, I’ll simply share that when procured through other means, Oxycodone generally sells for one dollar per milligram. I was draining our savings and was out of my mind. I was so tortured that I didn’t care about the deterioration of my moral values, in fact, I didn’t even notice. It’s hard to imagine that in such a short period of time I had morphed from a Mrs. Cleaver, baking hot cinnamon buns in anticipation of my children’s arrival home from school, to Scarface crushing pills on the glass top of the executive desk in our home office while thinking to myself as I heard them arrive from school…why oh why are they home already?

You can read the rest of her amazing story right here

The truth is that we are the most drugged people on the face of the planet.  It has been estimated that 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs in non-medical ways, and this problem gets worse with each passing year.

According to research that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 59 percent of all U.S. adults are currently on at least one prescription drug, and 15 percent of all U.S. adults are on at least five prescription drugs.  And the numbers are far worse for older Americans.  The following statistics come from one of my previous articles

According to the CDC, approximately 9 out of every 10 Americans that are at least 60 years old say that they have taken at least one prescription drug within the last month.

There is an unintentional drug overdose death in the United States every 19 minutes.

In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

A shocking Government Accountability Office report discovered that approximately one-third of all foster children in the United States are on at least one psychiatric drug.

A survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that more than 15 percent of all U.S. high school seniors abuse prescription drugs.

We are a deeply unhappy nation that has been trained to turn to pills as a “quick fix” for our hurt and our pain.

Yes, there are medical situations that call for prescription pain relievers.  But what we are seeing in America today goes far, far beyond that.  We are a nation of addicts that is always in search of a way to fill the gaping holes that we feel deep in our hearts.  This prescription pain killer crisis is just another symptom of a much deeper problem.

So what is the solution?

Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…