Corruption

Vampire squids

The Economist

Rolling Stone described Goldman[Sachs]as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.

We should forgive a cliché when it becomes true.

Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in US Health Care

Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in US Health Care | Health Care Economics, Insurance, Payment | JAMA | JAMA Network

In the mosaic floor of the opulent atrium of a house excavated at Pompeii is a slogan ironic for being buried under 16 feet of volcanic ash: Salve Lucrum, it reads, “Hail, Profit.” That mosaic would be a fitting decoration today in many of health care’s atria.

The grip of financial self-interest in US health care is becoming a stranglehold, with dangerous and pervasive consequences. No sector of US health care is immune from the immoderate pursuit of profit, neither drug companies, nor insurers, nor hospitals, nor investors, nor physician practices.

Avarice is manifest in mergers leading to market concentration, which, despite pleas of “economies of scale,” almost always raise costs.

Yep. Don Berwick on fine form.

Politics and medicine

China’s Covid patients face medical debt crisis as insurers refuse coverage | Financial Times

Echoing Rudolf Virchow, frequent bedfellows. The spectrum includes the UK.

A doctor at Shanghai No 10 Hospital said staff had been instructed by the city’s health commission to limit Covid diagnoses. “We are advised to label most cases as respiratory infection,” the doctor said.

“What is certain is that the government can’t afford to treat everyone for free.”

China’s National Healthcare Security Administration said on Saturday that it would fully cover hospitalisation for Covid patients, but continued to exclude complications. Hospitals are also under pressure to reduce medical costs after the national insurance fund was strained by the costs of the sprawling zero-Covid apparatus.

In the eastern city of Hangzhou, Frank Wang, a marketing manager who bought a Covid insurance plan early last year, was refused proof of illness after he developed lung and kidney infections after testing positive for the virus.

“The hospital made it clear that Covid proof is not easy to obtain as the disease diagnosis has been politicised,” said Wang, who paid more than Rmb20,000 for treatment. “That makes patients like me a victim.”

The deserving and the undeserving sick redux; more crony capitalism.