Is Capitalism the Cause of the Healthcare Problem?




I’m enjoying the escalating public outrage over the greed of Wall Street capitalist pigs. It reminds me of my collegiate days at Berkeley in the ‘60s when the protests against the Vietnam war gained popularity once the mass media finally revealed the atrocities of a senseless war to sway the public’s opinion. Sadly, it took over 56,000 dead GIs before the end came.


The public outrage over losing young military lives in a foreign war took longer to materialize compared to the swift criticism now as people lose their life savings, lose their homes, and lose their jobs as the capitalist pigs give themselves millions in undeserved bonuses.


The recent Wall Street fiasco begs the question: Wall Street supposedly has the best capitalists in the world, so how could it collapse? Either capitalism is a broken economic system, or these bankers are capitalist pigs who cheat; maybe both. Methinks the same mindset on Wall Street prevails in American version of capitalist healthcare where the goal is profits, not lifetime healthcare with safety nets for the poor.


Not only has Wall Street revealed how shysters with golden parachutes operate in a deregulated environment, the healthcare industry has the same shysters in the HMO businesses. The public remains unaware of these shysters since the health care insurance industry hasn’t collapsed, yet. Instead of a $700 billion loan from Congress, the HMO industry has been propped up by double-digit increases in healthcare premiums for the past 8 years as it “squeezes care to expand profits.”


“Commercial, for-profit health insurance is one of the greatest Ponzi schemes ever foisted on the public,” writes Nancy Terry. “The executives are the ones that benefit to the detriment of everyone else. How else does the president of one of the largest insurance companies get to be a billionaire? By being at the top of the pyramid of companies’ and individuals’ premium payments.” [1]


CEOs have their golden, if not platinum, salaries and parachutes, most notable the former CEO of United Healthcare, Dr. William McGuire, who in 2004 was paid $158 million along with 5-year bonuses totally $1.6 billion. Not bad for capitalist pigs who live high on the hog by moving money instead of really working for a living.


“The single most important factor in the atrociously high cost of healthcare
in the United States is the rapacious, money-hungry insurance companies and
their fat cat CEOs,” according to Nancy Terry.[2]


While “fat cat CEOs” are definitely to blame for the high costs of healthcare, this medical contributor fails to include other elements of the medical cartel, such as the monopolistic AMA that has virtually eliminated any competitors, and like any monopoly, the AMA can give a bad service at a high price, and without any realistic competition, people have no choice in their treatments.


People just don’t realize the money involved in these health insurance Ponzi schemes. For example, UnitedHealth’s net income fell 36% to $2.97 billion from $4.65 billion in 2007.  Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., reported net income of $2.5 billion in 2008 vs. $3.3 billion in 2007.[3]  



As well, Big Pharma and Big Hospitals executives all profit dearly from the inflated world of medical care.


To illustrate life at the top of this pyramid,

  • The top six HMO health plans paid 37 executives an average salary of $7,513,470.[4]
  • The 7 top drug kingpins had an average salary of $20, 226,089. [5]
  • The top 3 hospital kingpins averaged $15,937,849.[6]


Considering the average salaries of these drug, hospital, and HMO kingpins, surgeon’s compensation is pale in comparison.[7]

  • Orthopedic Surgery                                                    $670,000
  • Foot & Ankle                                                                           $791,000
  • Hand & Upper Extremities                                                   $770,000
  • Hip & Joint Replacement                                                      $715,000
  • Spine Surgery                                                                       $1,352,000
  • Sports Medicine                                                                      $762,000
  • Anesthesiology: Pain Management                           $651,000


This cartel is the 800-pound gorilla in this reform effort that will not simply let go of the billions of bananas it now consumes. The public is outraged over the greed on Wall Street, but if they knew of the same outrageous salaries in the medical cartel, this cry for reform would be louder. 


We cannot let this Reform boil down to “more of the same” drugs, shots, and surgery for the 48 million uninsured. It’s not that the present healthcare system needs expansion, the fact is the American capitalist version of healthcare is broke and only propped up by double digit inflation in healthcare premiums.


This version of capitalistic, monopolistic medical healthcare omits the basic market checks and balances that made this country great—free enterprise on a level playing field. Indeed, this healthcare tragedy can be laid at the doorstep of the AMA cartel that has denied these principles in order to dominate.


It’s time to breakup this medical cartel just as the government broke up Standard Oil and AT&T to increase competition, lower costs, and improve services.


Chiropractors have been denied any semblance of free market in this back pain industry, we have been boycotted, our reputations were ruined by a multi-year, multi-faceted, multi-million dollar propaganda campaign by the AMA that has led to an epidemic of back pain and failed back pain treatments. Indeed, every DC should be outraged over this pandemic of pain caused by the mismanagement of patients. Every DC should be outraged at the boycott that has cost us millions in denied payments. Indeed, we DCs deserve reparations for this boycott that continues to this day.


We DCs, the original healthcare reformers, need to jump on this bandwagon of outrage and direct the public’s anger to the same mindset in healthcare. Now is the time to speak out with our own outrage. No longer can we remain a silent movie in healthcare where we’re rarely seen and never heard. Our leaders must join others in the streets of protest and make our position known that we can save billions of dollars in wasted treatments as we improve patient outcomes. This is a story dying to be told at this time.


It’s time to yell, “Power to the People” to have access, quality and affordable costs for healthcare that includes any licensed practitioner. It’s time to take our message to the media to change the anti-chiropractic skepticism to an anti-capitalistic medical cartel attitude that shows the greed and incompetence we now live with in American healthcare.


It’s time to end our silent movie as the Mystery Science profession so we can be heard loud and clear.



[1] Nancy R. Terry, The Ponzi Scheme That Is Health Insurance, Medscape Family Medicine, Posted 03/12/2009

[2] Nancy R. Terry, The Ponzi Scheme That Is Health Insurance, Medscape Family Medicine, Posted 03/12/2009

[3] Health Insurers Face Headwinds In Tough Economy, Insurancenews.net, April 2o, 2009.

[4] http://www.harp.org/hmoexecs.htm



[7] http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htm