Category Archives: health

My Theories On How To Fix Healthcare In America

It’s common knowledge that healthcare in America is unaffordable, and politicians are always talking about ways to fix that. Unfortunately, their plans are always confusing and often misleading. The problems isn’t that complicated though, and there are some relatively simple solutions that deserve to be discussed.

The root of the problem (that politicians almost never mention) is that hospitals price gouge their customers. This is the only reason health insurance is necessary. If prices weren’t inflated beyond affordability, there would be no reason to pay insurance companies to protect you from them.

The reason politicians never promise to simply make price gouging illegal is because hospitals would immediately point out that they have to pay ludicrous prices for medical equipment, and doctors have to pay unreasonable prices for medical school. This raises the point that medical equipment and medical schools are also price gouging their customers.

If we passed a law that prevented those businesses from price gouging, they would point out that the businesses they depend on are price gouging them. If we follow the rabbit hole all the way down, we’ll have to admit that the entire economy revolves around businesses gouging their customers.

You could take this as evidence that humans are inherently greedy and evil, or you could take it as evidence that the standard business model is inherently flawed.

The purpose of owning a business is to make a profit, and the formula for profit is “revenue minus costs.” So to make the most amount of money, you have to provide your customer with the cheapest goods and services possible while charging them as much as possible. And we justify gouging customers for cheap goods and services by saying that the value of goods and services is equal to whatever a person is willing to pay for them.

This is easily true when determining the price of bananas or a piece of modern art, but it becomes a recipe for exploitation when determining the price of cancer treatment.

If you need a good or service in order to survive, then of course you’re going to pay whatever you have to. But if you have to pay $3,000 for insulin that costs $50 to produce, and you don’t have $3,000, you’re going to die because your ability to pay didn’t meet your provider’s ability to exploit your need. The value of insulin wasn’t really $3,000. That was just the value your provider could get away with exploiting you.

Fixing this problem would require putting profit caps on businesses or income limits on business owners, but that’s never going to happen in my lifetime because predatory businesses have the money to legally bride politicians with campaign donations and lobbying to prevent comprehensive anti-price gouging laws from getting passed.

Ultimately, profit/income caps are the truest solution to the root of the problem of unaffordable healthcare. Short of that, there are other second-tier solutions.

Adding more regulations to private insurance is not one of those solutions. Insurance companies are required by the law of supply and demand to provide the least amount of benefit to their customers while simultaneously charging the highest prices people are willing to pay to survive. So they will always try as hard as possible to do what’s in their best interest, which is inherently in the worst interest of their customers.

If health insurance must exist, the best course of action is to nationalize the insurance industry completely. In other words, the government is the only insurance company, and they only have one plan that everyone can afford. They don’t need to make a profit, and whatever profit they do make can go directly into the government coffers to be spent on public services. You could even just roll the cost into basic taxes so you don’t even have to apply for it or have an insurance card.

In America, this is basically “Medicare for all.” Granted, I don’t trust the American government to implement this system as simply and efficiently as it could be. Having said that, you should be asking, “If you don’t trust the government to do this right, then why trust the government to do it at all?” My reply would be that I trust private predatory insurance companies (whose profit margin depends on providing life-threateningly poor service) even less.

In a perfect world, we would just nationalize the entire medical industry and take away the need for health-related businesses to make extravagant profits. But we live in a bureaucratic world where egos, careers, and paperwork are more important.

Most Americans don’t know this, but New Zealand found a decent compromise. They don’t have “socialized healthcare” per se. They have “subsidized healthcare.” This means doesn’t totally control the healthcare industry. You pay a little extra in taxes, and the government uses that to cover the costs of the inevitable markups doctors and hospitals are going to charge. In practice, this means seeing a doctor always costs $30-$50, and your prescriptions always cost $5-$15. Healthcare providers always make a profit, but they never eat you alive.

In New Zealand, you can still buy private insurance and see more expensive providers, but due to how the whole subsidized medicare system works, millionaires in New Zealand aren’t going to get as good of healthcare as millionaires in America, and New Zealand medical centers don’t make as many medical research breakthroughs as America’s over-funded hospitals because even though most of America’s healthcare funds get funneled into hospital owners’/investors yachts, a lot of that money still manages to find its way to research.

So if we have to make the most of a broken system that favors the rich, then perhaps the best course of action is to admit and embrace the fact that we have a classist system.

People who make less than $70k per year need reliable access to basic healthcare. So give them (which includes me) nationalized, socialized, or subsidized access to relatively shitty healthcare with (possibly) long wait times that guarantees we get can at least get something we can afford, and then make overpriced first-class hospitals mandatory for rich people where they don’t have to be inconvenienced with the presence of the poor. That would be a better and more honest system than America has now.

This isn’t the solution I want, but it’s one I’m willing to accept if we have to balance the needs of the many (surviving) with the needs of the few (profit). But I’d rather use this compromise to point out the absurdity of having to balance the needs of the many with the needs of the few.

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7 Reasons Your Muscles Hurt

1: You’re suffering from repetitive strain injury

You probably live in suburbia, where you wake up every morning on an old mattress. You get out of bed, put on your work clothes and an old pair of shoes. You make breakfast standing up in your kitchen, and sit at a table to eat it. Then you sit in your car and hold your hands on the steering wheel and drive to work, where you spend all day doing the exact same thing you did every day before. Then you sit in your car and hold your hands on the steering wheel as you drive home and spend the better part of your evening sitting on a couch or at a desk.

If you hold your body in the same positions all day every day, and you perform the same motions with your limbs all day every day, it’s only a matter of time until the muscles you overuse get tight and knotted, and the muscles you use less, atrophy. When that happens, your tight muscles will pull and hold your skeleton in a contorted position that your atrophied muscles are powerless to prevent. Your body will try to correct the contortion by tightening other muscle groups in an increasingly counterproductive attempt to straighten your body. The longer this goes on, the worse your muscles will hurt.

Simply varying your daily routine can reduce muscle strain and prevent muscle pain… but there are only so many different ways you can sit in a chair, hold a steering wheel or perform your job. For most people, it’s impossible to completely avoid repetitive stress injury. You can minimize and treat it though by varying your routine and following the rest of the advice in this list.



2: You need to buy better shoes, pillows, and mattresses.

Your brain is constantly figuring out how hard it needs to tell every muscle in your body to flex in order to keep you from just falling to the floor like a puddle of jelly. Your brain also constantly figures out which muscles it needs to flex in order to hold your body in a position where you can walk straight with your eyes level.

When external factors like cheap shoes, a cheap bed, or a serious injury tilts the posture of your skeleton off balance, the muscles in your body automatically tighten/loosen to hold your skeleton in a way that allows you to walk forward with your eyes level despite whatever factors are throwing your posture off.

Another way bad posture can cause muscle pain is by creating an imbalance in your fascia. Every individual muscle in your body is basically shrink-wrapped in a stretchy film called fascia, and every group of muscles is wrapped in an additional layer of fascia. Where two muscles meet, their fascia connects. These bags don’t flex like muscles; they just passively conform to whatever shape they’re stretched in.

If your skeleton is tilted off balance, in the same way, every day, eventually your fascia is going to get over/under stretched around the muscles you over/under use. These awkwardly stretched/stressed bags are going to pinch your muscles, causing pain. And since all of the fascia bags around your muscles are ultimately connected, that means stretching the fascia in the top of your body can pull the fascia at the bottom of your body, causing pain in a completely separate location from where the real problem is. The longer your fascia conforms to bad posture, the more it sets and becomes tougher and less pliable. That will reinforce the bad posture that’s stressing your muscles and causing you pain.

You’re going to spend half your life in your shoes, and the other half in your bed. If they don’t support your body ergonomically, you will develop muscle injury and pain. So spending money on a good bed, good pillows and good shoes will bring you more happiness than buying pretty much anything else that costs less than $1,000.



"You are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both."

“You are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both.”

3: You need to stretch more.

Each of your muscles is made up of millions of fibers that are about as thick as a strand of hair. Muscle fibers are made of living cells that consume food, generate energy, die and need to be replaced. Each fiber is also made of thousands of microscopic chambers that contain moving parts that latch onto each other when injected with calcium and release when the calcium is drained. When you strain your muscles, they become inflamed, which can constrict the microscopic chambers in your muscle fibers and cause them to seize up. This will trap the calcium being used to activate the machinery in your muscle fiber chambers to get trapped there, which means that fiber won’t be able to relax. To make matters worse, since your muscle fibers are living cells, they’re always producing waste, and eventually, they all die. If the chambers of your muscle fibers are damaged and locked up, your body won’t be able to flush out all the cellular poop and dead cells. All the toxic debris in your muscles will cause inflammation and pain to the surrounding areas.

Simply stretching your muscles can do a lot to un-jam the dysfunctional compartments in your muscle fibers. Probably more important than that though, stretching lengthens the constricted fascia around your muscles that is pinching and suffocating them.

Taking yoga classes could be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. If you’re just not going to do yoga, you would probably benefit from doing some simple military stretches daily. If nothing else, make a point to stretch your limbs out like a cat when you get out of bed. Every little bit helps.



4: You need to exercise more.

Every organ system in your body is intimately connected. The healthier one of them is, the healthier they all are. The sicker one is, the sicker they all are. Exercise makes all of your organ systems healthier. The healthier your heart and circulatory system are, the better your body can send oxygen to your muscles, remove waste, repair itself and fight disease. The better your bones are, the stronger of a connection your muscles will have with your bones. If the pulleys that are wrapped all around your skeleton aren’t firmly attached, you’re going to have a wobbly pulley system, and something is going to tear eventually. If your respiratory system isn’t working well, you’re going to have a hard time getting oxygen to your thirsty muscles. If your digestive system isn’t working well, you’re not going to be able to get energy to your tired muscles. I’m not saying exercising will cure every problem in every organ system. I’m just saying, if you want to avoid pain, you should be exercising.

When you work out your muscles, it immediately stimulates blood flow in your muscles, which helps flush in things your muscles need and flush out things they don’t. It also breaks up stagnant tissue, preventing fibrous tissue build, and it stretches your fascia, which prevents it from hardening. Of course, exercise makes your muscles grow, and the stronger your muscles are, the less likely they are to hurt after doing simple physical activities.  When all of your muscles are strong, then the ones you overwork a little too much won’t have such a disastrous effect on weaker opposing muscle groups. Then your muscles will be able to hold your skeleton straighter, and you’ll never experience the chain reaction of connected muscle groups seizing up to correct each other’s bad posture.



5: You need to drink more water.

There are several trillion cells in your body, and several billion of them die every day. All the cells in your body are replaced every few months. Your cells are about 78% water, and everything they do requires water. In order to feed all your healthy cells and flush out your body, there are about 100,000 miles of tubes crammed in your body that circulate about 5 liters of blood through your body about 50 times a day. Your blood is about 92% water, and your kidneys remove about 2 liters of waste-water from your bloodstream every day in the form of urine.

Your entire body is about 60% water, which means you’re basically a walking waterfall. If you don’t drink enough water, the micro-machinery in your body won’t be able to grow to full size, function at full capacity, feed, clean or rebuild itself properly. This negatively affects every cell in your body. To put it in perspective, dehydration is worse for your body than smoking. I’m not saying that drinking water will cure all your health problems. I’m just saying, if you want to avoid pain, you should be drinking water at least every two hours, and about 2 liters of water every day.



6: You need to improve your diet.

The human body is more complicated than the Internet. It’s made up of reproducing, regenerating cells that perform millions of unique actions that require different nutrients. Bones build themselves with calcium, and muscles use calcium to contract. Most of your cells use protein, and all your cells use glucose for energy. Antioxidants keep the atomic structure of your cells stable. This list could go on for thousands of pages. The point is, eating healthily is responsible for a reason. Your body is a complex machine that requires specific types and quantities of nutrients to operate efficiently. If you don’t give your body what it needs, it won’t work correctly, and it will create pain to alert you to the problem. If you do eat healthily, every organ system in your body will work better and be more able to overcome any pain-inducing problems within its self.

Your muscles and skeleton are designed to work best at your optimal body weight. An unhealthy diet that puts on unnecessary weight will naturally strain your bones and muscles. Eating healthily will help you lose weight and improve your organ system functions better than dieting or exercising alone. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise. It just means that until you’re eating healthily, you won’t be able to achieve and maintain your ideal body weight or enjoy all the benefits of having healthy organ systems no matter what else you do. If you’re already eating healthy and you’re not losing weight, talk to your doctor about what else you can do achieve your health goals. If you choose to drink sodas and eat fast food every day, understand that it’s only a matter of time before you develop muscle pains. If you accept that, then that’s your prerogative. It’s none of my business how you choose to live your life, but I (and your doctor) really think you’d be happier if you fed your body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn’t. That’s all I have to say about that. Do with it what you will.



7: You need a massage

Massage isn’t just for rich, spoiled spouses who want to be pampered. Almost everyone in the world can benefit tremendously from massage. I would go as far as saying that it’s as important to see a massage therapist as it is to see a dentist. Massage relaxes and lengthens your overworked muscles and tones your underworked ones. It breaks up adhesions and lengthens your fascia. It stimulates blood flow, which helps nourish and clean your muscles. It also stimulates lymph flow, which increases the speed at which your body removes toxic material from your body. Just the simple act of a compassionate human touch has positive physical effects on your organ systems. Plus, it’s emotionally rewarding and stress-reducing. Most importantly, your massage therapists can identify over/underworked muscles in your body and work with you to develop a plan to help you avoid recreating the same muscle pains in the future. If your muscles are hurting, you should seriously consider seeing someone who is professionally trained and licensed to fix muscle pain.



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Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

Tweets by The Wise Sloth #10: Eating, Hydrating, Exercising, Stretching and Addiction

Cartoon image of a sloth sitting on a mountain top. He is wearing a yellow robe. His head is bowed with his eyes shut, and beams of light shine from around his head. With his left arm, he is holding one finger in the air. Above him are the words, "Tweets by The Wise Sloth."

It defeats the purpose of ingesting something if it has zero calories.

Your body is 60% water. You’re a walking waterfall. Everything your body does uses water. Drink water about every 2 hours or shrivel up and die.

The longer a food product takes to expire, the less often you should eat it.

You rarely hear people who eat right and exercise regularly, complain about chronic fatigue.

Just once I’d like to hear a politician talk about the need for grocery store reform because the system we got is creating obesity and poverty.

You are what you eat. If you eat processed food, you will become cancerous.

There are millions of people who have never eaten anything that didn’t come out of a bag or a box. #notmyutopia

In case you didn’t learn this in elementary school, the secret to long life is keeping all your organ systems healthy all the time.

Nowadays, every time I drink milk I wonder what percentage of the bouquet of flavors I’ve come to know and love is the taste of udder pus.

You are what you eat. In possibly unrelated news, you’re probably also going to die of cancer.

The reason you have unexplainable muscle pains is because you do the same things with your body every day.

Healthy habits aren’t a burden. They’re an opportunity.

In order to stay limber you have to move limber.

Exercising makes you sweat. Sweat removes toxins from your body. Not exercising keeps toxins in your body affecting mood, energy and health.

If you’ve never Googled, “How to take care of myself,” then don’t wonder why your life sucks.

The less you stretch and use your muscles, the more they’ll hurt.

Repetitive pains in peoples’ bodies are usually caused by their repetitive lifestyle.

The cure for lethargy is activity.

Not being able to see or think straight is your body’s way of telling you that you’re killing it with poison.

Typically, you can’t be drunk and working towards self-actualization at the same time.

The less sober you are, the less focused on fulfilling the meaning of your life you are.

When you drink and smoke to celebrate life you celebrate life by killing yourself and lowering your potential to make the most out of life.

You won’t find total peace in sobriety, but you will find far less peace in addiction.

Poisoning yourself constantly is a great way to weaken your immune system.

Chronic drug use is not a recipe for chronic stress relief. It’s a recipe for chronic cell death.


If you enjoyed these Tweets, you’ll also like these:

My Tweets About Self-Help
My Tweets About Romance
My Tweets About Philosophy 
My Tweets About Religion
My Tweets About Politics
My Tweets About Economics
My Tweets About Pop Culture

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