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WAREHOUSING THE HOSPICE – REPORT FROM FLORIDA

January 8, 2014

WAREHOUSING THE HOSPICE – REPORT FROM FLORIDA

Years ago Detroit and other venues blessed (or cursed) with large assembly factories adopted a cost-saving measure of “just in time” delivery of component parts to be assembled. This ended the need and expense of maintaining large warehouses and labor involved in inventorying. The only risk was that a particular component would not be delivered by a supplier on time, which would shut the assembly line down until delivered.

We have a similar problem here in this vast retirement warehouse we call Florida, but the “component” parts arrive willy-nilly and are not centralized into central workshops for assembly upon arrival. These “components” are people, people who have come to overeat, accommodate seasonal visitors from the North, view gators, walk the beach – and die.

We have people here who live too long, depending upon the criteria used to make such a harsh assessment, the actors involved in individual situations and the political state of euthanasia bills before the Florida state legislature.  We have “retirement communities” and “assisted living” facilities galore to relieve the old and infirm of their resources, often to the consternation of heirs and devisees of such old and infirm people, who were looking forward to a larger share of the trove to be distributed upon the death of the testator/testatrix.

One can charitably conclude that such potential beneficiaries are all for redistribution of the wealth, but  to themselves – not to those who intervene and milk the old folks out of substantial assets during the last years of their lives in overpriced “assisted living facilities” and other such businesses, perhaps including the very end days and months of hospice care. Such businesses typically advertise tender care; prices charged for such tender care are apocryphal. The price shocker comes later – in the office – amidst much pretense of cultural conformity, i.e., “what is cost to good old mom or dad?”

The dilemma for many such prospective heirs and devisees is that they must appear to be in favor of the lengthened lives of their predecessors as a cultural proposition even when they may secretly wish the old man or woman would go their way so that they (the survivors) will not be too old and infirm themselves to enjoy the trove left by their relatives. (Some of the “warehoused” here may have no relatives, but whoever awaits receipt of their assets, whether old friends or some charitable organization, it is reasonable to suppose that such prospective recipients, but for cultural constraints, wish that the now worthless testator/testatrix would go their way.)

Warehousing of humanity is a big business here in Florida, and I have observed that hospitals, HMOs and other such facilities as above set forth seem to have a more abiding interest in the financing of health care than in health care itself. “Health care,” after all is a business. Everyone has to have an angle or something to sell in a business; “health care” is their angle. Whether the product is worth it is an unknown since they as the experts are (cozily enough) in charge of self-assessments. As lay people, the rest of us are presumably unqualified to relate such results to costs incurred. We leave such findings to the foxes in the henhouse.  Reports to date are that everything is fine and that everyone is doing well under the present system (other than those who have permanently departed the scene).

The ACA and other financing mechanisms by government are regarded as per se bad here since government socialists wish to interfere with present arrangements (read huge salaries and bonuses to HMO executives, money that could have been used for real patient care). Government intervention is not the American way. Costs should be determined by “the market,” because Adam Smith said so a few centuries ago. However, don’t you socialists forget to keep sending money to the sunny state of Florida. We’ll let you know to whom and for what and how it will be distributed. Just keep the spigots open and the “doc fixes” flowing, and, of course, as professionals, we have no need for regulation since we are reliably self-regulating. Our members never try to game Medicare or any other system where public funding is involved. (End of fairy tale).

Unlike the lack of on-site inventorying going on in what is left of our manufacturing base in this country, Florida continues to fill to overflowing with component parts in its warehouse, both retirees and those of the vulture culture who accompany them. All ancillary personnel are represented as well, from those “worried” about the health of testators and testatrixes to those who prey on sick moneybags.

Come on down and join in the fun. GERALD  E

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