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Dr. Sid Rohrscheib is a general surgeon in central Illinois. His career spans the period from the 1990s to present and he has witnessed the changes wrought by the financialization of medicine. We have corresponded for a while about the problems in health care and he kindly consented to come on the podcast.

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Direct Download: KunstlerCast 404 — The ruinous Financialization of Medicine

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

7 Responses to “KunstlerCast 404 — A General Surgeon Talks about the Ruinous Financialization of Medicine”

  1. snagglepuss June 17, 2024 at 11:37 pm #

    Great interview. So many doctors leaving general practice to go into business for cosmetic injections, the vanity business. Could tell this Doc is no fan of Nurse Practitioners and we are introducing more of them in my province. My Doc just retired, so now I have to try and find a new one. Fifteen years ago my GP, an internal specialist, and then a surgeon saved my life. Caught the problem through bloodwork. Doctors are my heroes.
    And everything he said about the newbies in medicine is true in every other line of work. ‘Two Dimensional’ was too kind.

  2. tom clark June 18, 2024 at 9:27 am #

    I agree, excellent interview. I lived in central Illinois (Land of Lincoln) for 5 years so I know his “beat area” well. What this doc describes is a microcosm of what is happening across the country, unfortunately for us, the patients.

  3. JackStraw June 18, 2024 at 11:46 am #

    I went to the doctor 2 years ago for extremely slow healing canker sores. The doctor just threw some mouthwash at me after a brief search online. Last year, I finally went back after recurring issues of the same type. He did some blood tests, and they were immediately posted on the website. After a little research, it looked pretty clear that I had leukemia. I had to harass my doctor to go over the results and get a referral for me to a cancer specialist. It took almost 3 months to finally get that referral, and the cancer specialist had me inpatient in a week to begin a grueling treatment program.

    Between Covid and my personal experiences with docs, I have little to no faith in them anymore. We are living in the age of incompetency.

  4. Dr. Coyote June 19, 2024 at 9:00 pm #

    Good interview, thanks. It’s particularly valuable to get the inside view of how these things are evolving, if for no other reason than to have a better idea of how to navigate the medical racket.

  5. Easyenergy June 24, 2024 at 8:40 am #

    Dr. Sid is describing the symptoms of a sick health care system but not the disease. The “health care system” is terrible here in Canada (cheaper to kill the sick), U.K. (google Aoife Johnston), and elsewhere. Modern health systems require an EROI (look it up if you don’t know what that means) of 12:1 or higher. We’re below that and have been for a while. That’s why the system is failing. Waves of migrants and deadly COVID shots have hastened a decline that was already in progress. This falling EROI will continue to erode all central systems including education, just in time deliveries, etc. Do what you can to prepare for this eventuality including localizing and getting out of the ‘system’ wherever and whenever you can.

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  6. Bill of Rights July 1, 2024 at 9:34 am #

    Dr. Sid sees growth in the “cash-only” doctor’s office….so long as the government doesn’t try to kill it.

    There has already been growth in the “health-share” (quasi insurance) organizations. Here the patient shops for the best price and quality doctor around, pays cash, and waits a few weeks for the other members to send re-imbursement checks to the patient.

    I have had 2 surgeries paid for under the Samaritan Ministries Health Share group. Premiums less than half Blue Cross, $400 deductible vs $2,500 for Blue Cross. No paperwork, just keep receipts. Worldwide coverage, no confusing networks.

    The government is trying to kill this arrangement of course, mainly by not letting you deduct the premiums. The “cash-only” docs and the “health-share” groups can easily replace the insurance companies.

  7. Socrates-Detroit July 11, 2024 at 10:44 am #

    What an excellent and informative podcast!

    Thank you JHK for bringing Dr. Rohrscheib, and Dr. Rohrscheib for taking the time to do this.

    The only thing I missed (I could not hear it clearly) was JHK comment at 44:00, “munchasm (?) by proxy syndrome.”

    I didn’t get that. Otherwise, this was an excellent podcast, and I am going to forward it to many people. I hope they listen.

    Here is another perspective: Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, my parents retired overseas. For various reasons, they retired in Greece.

    Unfortunately, as with most retired people, they required hospitalization. I was fortunate to be able to take unpaid leave using the Family Leave Act and go to Greece several times in the last years of their lives to support them.

    I had a chance to interact with the Greek doctors and nurses, in two different PRIVATE Greek hospitals, over the course of three serious hospitalizations in 2018-2020.

    I also had limited (my mother was the interface with doctors) interaction with a “leading” metro Detroit hospital, and doctors, in 2011, when my father was hospitalized for a week, during their last visit to the US.

    Based on what I saw and experienced, I concluded that the odds are very high (in my case) that I will get better quality CARE, and markedly more HUMANE care in a private Greek hospital. I’d rather be sick in private Greek hospital*

    Dr. Rohrscheib’s comments have reinforced my perception that if I get sick, I’m better off in a Greek private hospital.

    (FYI, Greece has a nationalized, “free” public health system. However, private medicine is legal. You either pay the provider, or you buy insurance.

    I have no experience with the public hospitals there, which is what most people use. They are “free”, but my perception is they were under-resourced before 2010. Since then, the financial crisis that devastated Greece (austerity is what happens when you cannot print money to pay your debts) has really broken the back of the public health system. Critics from the left contend the government is deliberately doing this to force people to use the “for pay” private system)