Transcript: Thom Hartmann talks about the moneychangers in health care, 21 September 2009

Thom: Ok, here’s the bottom line. Let me just lay this out as simply as I can. It is not rocket science. It is something that Americans have been living with, and surviving, tolerating, for a long time now, in the United States, and in large part because they didn’t realize. Most Americans don’t realize how it’s done in the rest of the world. Only three percent of Americans have passports. Only about one percent of Americans travel internationally, and most Americans just… And our news is just incredibly Amero-centric, it doesn’t show what’s going on in the rest of the world. But here’s the bottom line.

You’ve got three parties involved in this. There’s you and me, patients, people who can get sick, and if we live long enough, and even if we don’t, we will, right? I mean, something’s going to take us down some day. The old cliché about the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. Well, death is one of them, and death is usually preceded by some pretty crumby stuff. I mean, every now and then, somebody has the good luck of just falling asleep, you know, in their bed, or dying in their sleep in their bed at two o’clock in the morning. And probably marginally less horrific, although certainly nothing that I’d wish on anybody or on myself, you know, that just falls over from a heart attack, and that's the end of that. But most people go through something that is longer and more painful and more difficult and before they get there, they deal with the chronic diseases of arthritis and diabetes and things like this.

All that stuff costs money. So there’s you and me, the patients. The people who need health service, and those of us who are parents, our children. Or in some cases, those of us who have parents, our parents, our elderly parents. Mine are both dead now, but you know, certainly they needed health care when they were alive. So there’s the patients on the one side.

Then on the other side, there’s the doctors and the hospitals, and the pharmaceutical companies, and the x-ray machine companies. The people whose job it is to make us well when we become sick.

Now, there’s two other parties that are almost never talked about in America. We’re having a big discussion about one of them. The other one, we’re going to discuss in our third hour, with Dr. Andrew Weil, and that quadiary, would that be the word? Primary, secondary, tertiary, quadiary, I don't know [quaternary - ed.]. That fourth one is the group that is keeping us healthy. And I would argue that’s things like chiropractors and massage therapists, and naturopaths, and acupuncturists, and dieticians, and frankly, even industry regulators

, government regulators who are saying, wait a minute, you know, if you’re going to have high fructose corn syrup in that food, you’re going to pay enough of a tax that it’s not going to be worth it, so, you can use plain old sugar instead, because we now know that high fructose corn syrup actually causes the body to crave more food.

And I’ve been saying on this programme for seven years, that you can track with about a two year lag time, you can absolutely track the appearance of high fructose corn syrup in our diet, back in what was it, the seventies or the eighties. The high point of the transition, was when Coke changed their formula so that they could include high fructose corn syrup. If you want actual sugar in Coke, you got to buy it from Mexico. And all of this goes back to government subsidies, by the way. The government subsidizing the production of corn, the growing of corn, and that’s the farm lobby, and their mind-boggling power. But anyhow, you’ve got this chemical called high fructose corn syrup, and the more that we consume, if you look over the last thirty years, as consumption of high fructose corn syrup has gone up, so has obesity. Absolutely parallel to each other. And I can’t tell you the number of people over the last seven years since I’ve been talking about this on this programme who have called in and said, you know, I just started getting very anal about this, very OCD about it and I am not eating any high fructose corn syrup. I’ll even ask in a restaurant, is there high fructose corn syrup in the food you serve? If there is, I don’t eat it. And by the way, I just lost, or I've lost gradually over the course of the last year, twenty pounds, thirty pounds, fifty pounds, whatever it may be, and my body has found a new normal. Cause high fructose corn syrup establishes a different normal. So there’s that.

But the big elephant in the room that no body is talking about are the moneychangers. They’re the moneychangers. They’re the people that Jesus threw out of the temple. They’re the people historically at every religion in the world who have been a little looked down on. They’re the ones who are making money off money. You know, when Bernie Sanders was on our programme Friday, he made one of the most profound statements ever, and I think it’s just flew right over the head of most people, and you need to think about this really carefully, and start telling other people. Keep in mind, a quarter of all the profits that were made last year in the entire United States were made by people handling money.

People handling money, specifically, the banking industry, and the finance industry. They’re not creating any thing. They’re not making anything of value. They’re not building cars, they’re not making rocket ships, they’re not making new ways to treat disease. They’re making nothing. They’re just handling a quarter of all the profits in the entire American economy. And I would say, if you add in health care, it’s a whole hell of a lot bigger than that, and why anybody should be able to make money off simply being the banker. I can see a small fee. Medicare does it for three percent. But these guys are making a third. They’re making thirty percent, to take the money from you and me, and hand it to the doctor at the hospital. And by the way, in the meantime, they've come up with all these little phrases, like pre-existing condition, that didn’t even exist sixty years ago. Pre-existing condition? People would say, what the hell are you talking about. Denial of services, rescission. This is an industry that a stake should be driven through its heart. It should end.

Transcribed by Gerard Aukstiejus.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Hartmann combines a remarkable piece of historical research with a brilliant literary style to tell the grand story of corporate corruption and its consequences for society with the force and readability of a great novel."
David C. Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Agenda for A New Economy
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen