Affordable. Health. Care. Part II


affordable-care-act-generic-graphic-hearstLast week I wrote about a friend who has issues with the Affordable Care Act and vented to me in a rather adversarial way. In that post I shared my self-doubt and conflicts about whether I could handle such a political hot potato in this blog with intelligence, objectivity and balance. Afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that just writing that introduction resolved most of my discomfort. The bit that lingers is just par for the course for this sensitive and scrupulous INFJ!

So now I’ll continue with his story in his own words:

“In 2014 my United Healthcare PPO health insurance policy cost me $213.09 per month with a $2500.00 deductible.  My wife paid $250.00 per month with a $3500.00 deductible, also from United Healthcare.  We are both in our 50’s and self-employed in the service industry.  We pay 25% income tax.  There were no savings or other advantages to purchasing a joint health care policy.  Together, our effective monthly cost was $450.00 per month with $5000.00 in deductibles.

“In 2015 the Affordable Health Care Act went into effect.  My monthly premium went up to $489.39 with a $5200.00 deductible with Humana (HMO). My wife’s plan with United went up to $475.00, also with a $5200.00 deductible.  That cost us $965.00 a month with an effective $10,400.00 deductible!  The policies included maternity costs;  my wife had a hysterectomy in 2004.  They also included children’t dental care.  We have NO children.  By definition, we are a “married couple with no children” and our annual adjusted gross income is above $62,000.000 — the defining line to qualify for the government health care subsidy.  Affordable??

“In November of 2014 I had a bout with gastroenteritis. Severe dehydration sent me to the emergency room in a life-threatening condition.  After being hooked up to IV’s in the ER for two hours, the finance rep from the hospital came in to secure payment for my $5,200.00 deductible. Awesome. My wife gave him my credit card as I was out of it.  Eight hours later the doc told me I needed to be admitted to the hospital because my kidney function numbers were not good.  What they never mentioned was that this hospital was no longer in my network.  I left the following afternoon. The bills that arrived over the next four months totaled $6,000.00 in addition to the deductible. A friend in the medical industry went to bat for me by reviewing the hospital bills. We found charges for services and tests I never received, so the finance department offered a discount for full cash payment. I took it.  My brief visit to the hospital cost me $11,000.00 out of pocket.  Affordable??

“My wife and I have a simple lifestyle. We live in a condo, go out to dinner once a month.  Both our businesses barely survived the economic crash in ’08. We still haven’t recovered. When she had to relocate her business, costs were high, including three separate licenses to fulfill city, county, and state requirements. At the time of my hospital stay we had not taken a vacation in three years.  But we are thankful for what we have and are not complainers.

“In 2016 we received notice that our Humana HMO plans were going up.  Our savings are dwindling, yet we now have to pay $1,150.00 per month with $14,400.00 in deductibles. Two years ago we paid $450 per month. Affordable???

“Options.  We’ve shopped plans through three agents. We have the cheapest plan, a Bronze HMO. Alternatively, we could choose a catastrophic plan for $380.00 a month with $10,000.00 deductibles, but they cover very little and we’d have to pay a penalty for choosing a plan that is not ACA approved.  We think the penalty would be 3% of our adjusted gross income, but our CPA isn’t sure because the law is so convoluted. Our only other option would be to find new entry level jobs with benefits, but our income would be considerably less.  And this isn’t an easy thing to do for 55- and 59-year-olds. We’ve worked hard for 25 years to develop our clienteles and reputations.

“Now our health care costs are the biggest expense in our budget.  While I understand the overall goal of Obama’s plan to provide health care for everyone, this plan is a total failure.  In my mind, the insurance companies responded to the government getting into their business (less piece of the pie) by raising rates to make up for profit loss.  Also, the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act are too inclusive.  Why would we pay for maternity care or children’s dental?  In the past I was rewarded for being healthy.  I only saw doctors three times in the past ten years, and those were at a Centacare and my dermatologist.  I don’t drink, smoke, or take any medications.  I am not obese.  Now I’m treated the same as an overweight, smoking alcoholic on ten different meds. Really?? Furthermore, with such high deductibles we’re less likely to consult a doctor when sick.

“My feelings are that Obama wanted the Affordable Health Care Act to be part of his administrations legacy; because it was an ego thing he pushed it through at any cost to us. The philosophical benefits to society do not justify crucifying the middle class American. There has to be a better plan. It was easy for politicians who receive lifetime health care at taxpayers’ expense to pass this law without even reading it since it was so long.  I’m angry. We are honest and hard-working. We make our own money and are trying to be responsible small business participants.  But it really is hard to watch the President vacationing in Hawaii while asking us “to tighten our belts” for the “greater good.”  I’ve watched this country go off course for too long and I think the system is irreparably flawed, with no solution in my lifetime.”

1hexagramJeanie again: I invite you to share your story and perspective.  It will surely be interesting and enlightening, especially if anyone can suggest solutions.  Knowing how divisive political issues can be, I ask only that you use diplomacy and restraint. (As if any of my amazing regular readers needed to be reminded to behave with civility!)

Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.

Image Credits:  Google Images. Inner Truth: Lewis Lafontaine in Carl Jung Depth Psychology.

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0 Responses

  1. Yep, when the government takes over from the free enterprise system it cost SUBSTANCILY more. Talk with your doctor and ask how much more overhead they have with the government paper work that they need to pass on to you. My Doc dropped my insurance and any government program for this reason. She told me she needed to add so much overhead to complete the government paper work she could not make a profit. Simple, the more the government controls your life the more you will pay…

    1. Thanks for your input, George. That’s certainly an important issue to pursue! There are so many factors to consider….how does anyone ever make sense of them all? I suspect it will take us a generation or two to work this one out!

  2. Hi Jeanie, Ha-ha! If my ego doesn’t like politics, then my shadow must love them! Three thoughts! Firstly, although I live in the UK where we receive the most excellent free healthcare I know little about these politics. However, I did find myself appalled at the increasing costs of your friend and his wife’s healthcare plans. Those charges seems nothing less than daylight robbery to me! Affordable Health? Hell no! Love the intention though.
    Secondly, even with this great free NHS healthcare system I ensure that I take as much ‘responsibility’ for my physical and psychological health that I can manage. For me healthy eating, regular exercise and studying spirituality seem to go hand-in-hand-in-hand. I feel in doing so, I am using a basic, common-sense approach to looking after myself as a ‘whole’ person yet I realise my liability doesn’t just end there …
    Lastly, I’m a great believer that the body, like a child, tells the truth. Marion Woodman once wrote that “the body is ‘shadow’ to the mind” and that makes so much sense to me. I also appreciate Louise Hay’s approach to dis-ease and will explore my symptoms with a view to not only seeking healing and understanding but also to discover the root causes of health problems. This is where Jung and my inner work have been most vital and revelatory as I explore those archetypes within, my shadow in particular!
    Looking forward to reading all your replies on this excellent article. Btw, that was a great chat you had with Gary in your last post … just caught up reading! Blessings always, Deborah.

    1. Hi Deborah. Of course! I hadn’t thought of that but love your insight about the opposite perspectives of ego and shadow. The compensatory dynamic between the opposites was the basis of Jung’s theories. I suppose it follows that the shadows of those who love and crave politics must hate them? This is certainly food for thought. We ignore the dynamics between conscious and unconscious at our peril.
      Yes, I’m appalled at the escalating costs of my friend’s healthcare plan too. That’s what gave me the impetus to write about this. It feels terribly unjust. What will become of America’s middle class if this continues?
      And yes, again. My friend has the same attitude toward his health as you do. Perhaps one good thing about the AHCA is that it may raise the consciousness of others to take more responsibility for their health.
      I especially love your observation about our bodily symptoms being expressions of the health of our whole selves, including the psyche. Awakening to the messages of my body has been a major factor in my own development, both psychological and spiritual. What a terrible disservice so many religions have done to humanity by relegating our physical selves to an inferior status and elevating our spiritual selves! And how extraordinary that we should not see the see this, despite Christianity’s emphasis on the incarnation, the essential meaning of which is God within us, the sacredness of all physical life!
      Thank you as always for your thoughtful and insightful responses. They never fail to be relevant and useful.
      Blessings, Jeanie

  3. Sad to say there is a dismantling by stealth taking place in our health service this side of the pond. Dental care and veterinary care for our animals over here has rocketed in costs, I believe as a direct result of the increasing infiltration of insurance companies into these markets. I don’t know the answers to the complexities of your own health system , however, something which protects the poorest without them incurring exorbitant insurance costs seems to be worth aiming for.

    1. Hi Brian. Thank you for responding. I don’t know the complexities of your system either. For example, I don’t know if Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England are all part of the same health care system. But I’ve heard from an English friend of big problems in other areas too, particularly mental health. Being a retired nurse in that field, you’d know a lot more about that than most of us.
      Your point about the infiltration of insurance companies being a primary cause of rocketing costs is a very important one, indeed. Many people here say the same thing. A comment I hear often is that the good work of Medicare has been seriously compromised and corrupted by bogus insurance claims for services and procedures which were never delivered, or else were totally unnecessary. As my friend’s story attests, this appears to be a common practice throughout our health care system. Surely that needs to be a major area of investigation and fact-gathering if it isn’t already!!
      And finally, a big YES to your observation that protecting the poorest among us from neglect and exploitation must be a priority.

  4. Sadly, I’m afraid there is a lot of smoke and not much light related to our healthcare system. Here are some things I know after working for 25 years on the service side of the healthcare system:
    1. Insurance companies fight every claim tooth and nail. I worked with a neurosurgeon in the early 1990s, who had to maintain a staff of 4 in his office just to argue with health insurance companies over claims. Things have not gotten better since then.
    2. Large health insurance companies have been able to create statewide monopolies in the United States—there is no free market per se. Basically, what the big health insurers did was to divide up the country de facto, and not poach on one another’s territories. I can’t say they did this during a golf game, intentionally violating the Sherman Act, but I can say that they have done it with a nod and a wink by gaming the system. As a result, you will not find many truly competing healthcare companies in any one part of the country.
    3. 45% of our healthcare insurance is government run already, in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and military. Those parts of the system have served their constituencies quite well for a very long time now. The VA system was the first to adopt electronic medical records over 30 years ago. You can go into any VA hospital in the country and they will have access to your entire health record, regardless or where else you may have been seen. Are there problems in the VA system? Yes, it is now in the process of being upgraded, but they are decades ahead of thousands of hospitals in the USA.
    4. Congress prevented the “government option” in ObamaCare. That would have caused the big insurance companies to face at least one credible competitor—the government—in every jurisdiction. That would have helped healthcare costs considerably, but as I say, that was obstructed. I am NOT here talking about Medicare for all, which the Bernie Sanders campaign endorses and which will never pass, but rather just expanding Medicare into the mainstream healthcare market (the other 55%) as a competitor to these huge healthcare insurance trusts. This IS a capitalist solution we need, but it has been obstructed by the socialized system (de facto monopolies) the big healthcare systems have insisted upon.
    5. Healthcare insurers HAVE used Obamacare as an excuse to increase their rates. Because they have market power, and effective monopolies in every state, they can get away with charging anything they jolly well like. And they do! So saying that rate increases are a result of Obamacare is both true and false. They’re gaming the system in order to win the 2016 election and then have total control over the market.
    6. Healthcare insurers have used their market power to force most small practice doctors out of the market. I have a 20-year solo practitioner friend, who feels his license to practice medicine is worthless, because he spends all of his revenue paying staff who have to fight with the health insurance companies, and at the end of the day, he can’t afford to pay his mortgage. On top of that, every year he is threatened by Congress with a large reduction in Medicare payments, which would truly sink him. Why does Congress do that? Who do you think has lobbyists in Washington? This is just a part of how the economy has been rigged to benefit big corporations. My friend says he thinks he’ll just get a license as a plumber. Meanwhile, most people have the illusion that doctors have it made. They don’t! When they get sucked into their huge healthcare systems, they get squeezed down on their income, so they cannot earn a return on their expensive education. Who benefits? Health insurance companies, that’s who!
    7. Mental health coverage is being squeezed out of the system, and it is heavily drug oriented. The powers that be would rather have you drugged and docile than whole, educated, and understanding what they are doing to you. I spoke with a mental health professional yesterday, who can no longer afford to stay in practice after 20 years.
    So Jeanie, while I sympathize with your friends, who have been paying higher premiums, it is VERY important for all of us to understand how the drug companies and the healthcare insurance companies are managing the population to their economic benefit. The 7 points I’ve provided above are not political talking points. They are the facts as I know them.

    1. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping for, Skip! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time share your thoughts here. Your experience as one who has worked in the healthcare system for 25 years qualifies you as an expert in my mind. We should all copy it and post it on our refrigerators where we can be reminded every day of aspects of this issue that are rarely conveyed by the media or understood by the general public. That’s certainly what I’m going to do. Well, maybe not on my refrigerator……. 🙂
      You’ve done an excellent job of organizing and presenting your thoughts clearly and succinctly. I find your fifth point about the politics of this issue to be especially insightful. It has been a basic argument of mine all along, but has been dismissed as irrelevant by others. To me, it’s crucial to understand the hidden agendas running beneath the rhetoric of both parties when we vote in the next election. It could make all the difference in the direction our health care system takes in the future.
      I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge and expertise here. Thank you, my friend.

  5. My heart goes out to your friend, Jeanie, and to others who are also struggling to make ends meet while trying to take care of their health. No one should have these fears of survival. And deep thanks to Skip who did indeed provide an excellent, and welcome, overview list of many of the issues. Skip’s #6 is part of why I have fought against “licensing” for CAM practitioners — because they would eventually find themselves caught in the same quagmire as conventional doctors.
    As for access to conventional medical care (other than that which is needed in dire emergency situations), I feel grateful that I saw the writing on the wall a couple decades ago and self-trained — then took courses in — natural health care methods which go beyond eating right, getting exercise, and seeking conscious awareness. Because of this, I don’t need to rely upon the health care system (other than aforesaid emergencies), and I would encourage others to continue retrieving empowerment by taking advantage of learning alternative modalities, most of which are inexpensive especially when starting with the basics of acute care. I wish I could help others to learn more about these precious methods that don’t rely upon the Affordable Care Act, or being covered by insurance, and I have, in the past, taken the “activist” approach of offering classes on natural wellness.
    All that said, I fully realize that everyone’s situation is different and I would certainly vote for continuing to improve national health care so that everyone receives the support they need at a reasonable cost. May it be so for the health and happiness of all people. Blessings!

    1. Hi Darla, Thank you for suggesting this very viable option to conventional health care. It’s a wonderful idea for all of us to learn more about inexpensive and effective learning alternative modalities. I don’t think I quite understood how beneficial this could be. Obviously it wouldn’t help my friend with his monthly insurance premiums, but having this information could certainly prevent unnecessary trips to doctors! I’d like to repeat your final blessing for the hope of improving national health care: May it be so for the health and happiness of all people.

    2. Darla, You are quite right that there are alternative methods, that can work very well. Over the past year Debbi, my wife, has fought a very nasty rash, which for a time we thought was Lime Disease. Debbi went to dermatology specialists, who only made it worse. She then got a referral to Johns Hopkins (according to them, the best hospital in the world). Doctors there did an extremely invasive biopsy, and in the end wrote Deb off their practice, because their tests were negative, and they could think of nothing else. Talk about “stump the stars”! Then Deb decided to just try acupuncture, and amazingly, in a few weeks they’ve caused the rash to almost disappear. There still is a little lingering redness (call it light pink now), but the rash is gone. So I’m just commenting that there are other ways, and our healthcare system is not always the fount of all wisdom.

      1. In fairness though, I should add that one of our friends did in fact have Lime Disease, which she insisted on treating homeopathically. She waited too long to get mainstream medical help, and this has caused very serious complications in her case. I don’t want to seem the Pollyanna, who says that all things homeopathic are the way, but I do want to observe that other techniques have worked in other cultures for millennia, and it is best to use a combination of approaches if needed.

  6. Like others, I too am appalled at the rising costs of medical care in the US and your friends’ extremely unfortunate situation with regard to his personal experience. I’d be angry as hell. Here in South Africa, there is a push for national health care, good in its intentions though not much faith in it being got off the ground as too many excellent teaching hospitals in our country are now so poorly run, doctors overworked, insufficient equipment and the list is long of all that is not right under inept governance inter alia …
    I agree with Deborah that the greatest responsibility lies with ourselves in taking care of our health, mind, body, heart and soul but life also happens –
    Too many medical aids here in SA offer other benefits such as less expensive movie tickets, less expensive air flights, free gyms, discounts off fancy spectacles, food and I don’t know what else – and those are the ones who’s subs keep on increasing and are capped so that MANY run out come the third quarter of the year. I think mental health care is not well covered.
    We elected to get out of full medical aid cover and for several years now have had only hospital cover and we pay in full for dental and/or other medical care and are not part of those who enjoy other benefits that have nothing zilch zero nada to do with health. Med aid insurances are creaming it.
    My husband is a medical specialist in private practice and I know well how little even top of the range medical aids cover. We have nothing to do with medical aids – patients pay up front after seeing him and claim back whatever their med aid entitles them to.
    I appreciate the previous comments – Skip’s is interesting as are the others.

    1. Thank you Susan. Such a sad, sad situation. Your comment aroused my curiosity about the status of healthcare systems throughout the world so I found this excellent source of information on Wikipedia:
      I was surprised to learn how many countries already have universal health care and learned that Switzerland and Singapore have the two must successful systems and “have achieved universal health insurance while spending a fraction of what the U.S. spends.” However, for many reasons, their systems would be difficult to implement in the U.S.
      This Forbes article says “Many American conservatives oppose universal health insurance because they see it as fundamentally antithetical to a free society. ‘If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price,’ wrote a guest editorialist in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. But according to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage. It turns out that the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.”
      So if “the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom,” what’s preventing us from being able to implement “the right kind of health reform” (whatever that might turn out to be)? Once again we come down to the fact that opposition to universal health care in America comes from to a fundamental mistrust of human nature and fear of governmental control. And I would add greed to that list.
      Enough for now. I’ll say more about this on my next post. Thanks for your most helpful comment.

  7. This story reflects what I wrote after part one of your post. These costs will continue to soar. Obama care, though noble in principal, is a disaster in reality. It likely will be reversed by the next administration no matter the party. Pragmatically, families that earn between $75,000-$125,000 will be unable to pay for the premiums or the medical provider directly given increasingly higher deductibles. The fallacy Obama sold was that younger people would bring enough money into the system to cover costs. It was a blatant lie to forecast those numbers. It is a lie Secretary Clinton and her staff are desperate to distance themselves from even though the Obama plan comes from the same playbook that was her distastrous stewardship of the health plan she attempted to craft as First Lady.
    Thanks for the post Jean. It is super that you kept your perspective and argued both sides of this issue despite being at that fundraiser. Usually the only thing people question at these events is whether they should get the steak or salmon!

    1. Hahaha. I’ll have salmon, please. 🙂
      Seriously, thank you Jay. Keeping my perspective open and objective is extremely important to me. We can’t fix what’s wrong with us without openness to the differences of others and civil dialogues on both sides. All I can say is that I sincerely hope the next administration, no matter the party, truly makes its very best effort to resolve this problem in a way that is fair and affordable for all.

  8. My husband and I now are only on Medicare. My husband’s doctor is dropping all insurance and government programs. He is only charging a flat fee per month. Now he will even come to your home. The government paper work is making life more difficult.

    1. Hi Gwyn, Thank you for sharing your doctor’s solution. It’s a very interesting one. He must still have to have insurance for himself and his practice though, right? In case one of his clients should sue him for malpractice?

      1. Oh, the doctor is keeping his insurance for his practice, but he is NOT accepting anyone’s medical insurance because of the time issues in dealing with it. It will be interesting to see how his practice does with all the changes he is making.

  9. Hello Jeanie,
    I Have have great sympathy for your friend, as I would have for anyone who has the misfortune of having poor health. As I said in a previous response I live in England and the description of your friend’s situation is largely incomprehensible. We have a National Health Service which provides free health services to anyone who needs them. So talk of policies and deductibles makes no sense.
    The points raised by your friend have made me reflect on the wonderful value of free Healthcare, but also the luck of the draw in where we are born, and the societal norms around us. I do not know the details of the political bills over there but a reflection on how free health came about is useful in separating the facts from the fictions, or if you like, looking behind the masks.
    The NHS came into being after WW2, in the midst of the carnage and suffering which Europe experienced. Prior to that people died and suffered if they didn’t have the money to pay for their healthcare,. But the Labour Party stood up and said this is intolerable, if we are fighting for liberty but our own people are dying through poverty and inequality what have we fought for. This was not a popular idea amongst those who profited from the misfortunes of others but it was born and has grown and is there 70 years later. It was only the determination and moral strength of the instigators that it enabled this wonderful service to be brought into existence. It will have saved millions of lives and made incalculable differences to the lives of generations. But it had to be created, it didn’t just happen.
    If we look a simplified comparison of the achievements of England and the USA, you have put men on the moon, we have a National Health Service, this is surely a reflection of the relative values of the 2 countries and we can draw our own conclusions from this. “The Land of the Free” “ No free healthcare.” Although this seems to make sense in the USA , many outside find it very difficult to balance. I realise that this is just my impression and that history and values shape the societies we live in and my view from the outside may be grossly ill informed.
    I must confess that your friend’s righteous indignation did bring a little smile to my face, although, influenced by your anxieties about offending people, I immediately felt pangs of guilt. “  I don’t drink, smoke, or take any medications.  I am not obese.  Now I’m treated the same as an overweight, smoking alcoholic on ten different meds. Really?? “. No this is not funny but it seems like the statement of exasperation many people feel when they have done their best and worked within the rules of the system, only to discover that they have been conned all along or that the rules have suddenly changed. Although I do not know the details of the bill I had assumed that thin, non drinking , non smoking people would also be included and perhaps also children and older people, and that some of them may also be doing their best to live a good and responsible life against the odds. The experience of helplessness in the face of injustice is an awful thing to go through, and to have done your very best only to discover that it was not enough or that someone wants even more from you is a desperate feeling. Sadly it is a common experience for many people who deserve better.
    The con in relation to the Healthcare Industry is that it is not about “ Health or Care” it is about “ Industry”. It exists to make a profit out of the misfortunes of others, and it will not readily let go of this money cow.
    I sincerely hope that your friend and his family are well and cared for and that the many others in his situation eventually benefit from a system which responds to need not the ability to pay.
    The expression used in relation to the NHS is “ From the cradle to the grave” is this not a wonderful aspiration. The complete journey we all make, from our first breath through to our last. We owe an incalculable debt to our predecessors who fought to make this possible for future generations.
    Best Wishes

    1. Hi Gary, Thank you for sharing the origins of your health care system. Perhaps the fact that Americans did not experience the horrors suffered after WWII made us more complacent and blinded us to the existence of impoverishment in our country. While the majority of Americans are decent, caring people, certainly there is a powerful minority that still profits “from the misfortunes of others.” I imagine this is true of most countries. Whatever the reasons, we have much to learn and much to do about our very flawed Healthcare system. Jeanie

      1. Hello again Jeanie.
        I know this is slightly out of context in relation to the issue, but this discussion has led to me thinking about a wider application of Jungian ideas and perspectives as applied to an understanding of contemporary society and ideologies. I wondered whether you are aware of anyone who is publishing on this subject, or if you have any pointers or references which you could suggest. While there seem to be many people looking at the spiritual aspects , i have not encountered anyone who has addresses issue of politics and economics.
        Best Wishes

  10. Hi Gary, Have I got the guy for you! Skip Conover is a former marine and international businessman who created and runs a site titled Archetype in Action. I’ve copied his latest tweet below. It shares his latest blog post. His site contains numerous articles from lots of people, including me, that usually emphasize Jungian psychology as applied to current ideologies and societal situations like politics and economics. He knows a lot, has written a couple of books, and speaks his mind. I think you’ll like him. Check him out.
    The Meaning of Life… #meaning #life @evakrider @jeanraffa @ElaineMansfiel7 @Rabbifuchs6 @KenKovacs @SpiritGandhi
    04:49 PM – 23 Jan 16

    1. Hi Gary, I’m delighted that others of like mind have come to see that Dr. Jung’s work has many applications outside of professional therapy. Jeanie’s work and mine (along with many others) is about bringing humanity into consciousness of its next phase of development. We will either evolve psychically, or we will ultimately perish. At the end of his life in 1961, Dr. Jung was rather pessimistic about the future of humanity. He had lived in a bubble surrounded by two horrific world wars, and the “Cold War” was just revving up in earnest. The Cuban Missile Crisis had not yet happened. He knew that we cannot order our world into consciousness; it must be the result of human development. That is happening more quickly these days, thanks to the Internet (years rather than centuries), but that speed is also causing tremendous upheaval, particularly in the Middle East these days (but also in the United States and everywhere else). As I’ve worked with Dr. Jung’s thinking, I have come to realize that the process is more like sculpting than painting. The Truth is already in the stone of each one of us (the “philosopher’s stone”), but we must help to bring it out–not only from within others, but also from within ourselves. Jeanie’s work has shown her things about herself, which she has brought back from “the underworld” of her unconscious to share with the rest of us. This is the work of Hermes (Mercury), the messenger of the gods, and this blog is the work of Hephaestus (Vulcan), who forged things into something new. My work is no different. I doubt that either of us thinks we have found all the answers, although Jeanie’s book _Healing the Sacred Divide_ is one giant leap in that direction (as are her other books). After 5 years and over 3,500 essays (most by others), the website Jeanie kindly referenced above, has provided many hammer strikes on the chisel of the sculpture of the human psyche, but it would be wrong to suggest that we have exposed even a toe nail of the final result. The is a famous sculpture in Washington, DC called “The Awakening,” which shows a gigantic face and and hand struggling to emerge from the Earth. We can say that Dr. Jung’s life’s work was that first hand trying to emerge, but it is for all of us to realize that there is life there (as in “Pygmalion”), and clear away the rest of the detritus. That must be done in each of our hearts–it cannot be accomplished as a group activity, except to the extent that we writers and other artists can point back to that life in each one of us individually–as Dr. Jung suggested. If you or anyone else reading this has something to offer along these lines, please do write to me so that your work can be added to what is already present on our website–as you will note we get a lot of attention globally. This piece, “How Does God Want Americans to Vote in 2016?” is an example of what I am talking about (informed by Dr. Jung’s work, and in that case by one of his disciples, Esther Haring, who wrote _Psychic Energy_ (highly recommendable):

  11. Errata: Typing on the fly, I often make stupid mistakes, which I regret. The author of _Psychic Energy_ is Esther Harding. There are a couple of other typos, but this one is significant if you want to find her work on Amazon.

      1. Yes, Jeanie. You must read Harding’s book. It IS an incredible synthesis of Dr. Jung’s work, with a foreword by Dr. Jung himself. I’m only 1/2 way through, but my mind is boggled by her erudition.

  12. Sorry, what I meant is that I’ve already read it and having done so, it’s near the top of my recommended must-reads for others! I was, and still am, boggled by her erudition too. Of special interest to me were her insights about how difficult it has been for humanity to move beyond the lethargic state of simply living by its instincts, and how our inventions of agriculture and animal husbandry (so that we could stockpile enough food to get us through long winters) was a major accomplishment in the evolution of our consciousness. Just think how hard it still is for some people to restrain themselves enough to plan and save for the future instead of maxxing out their credit cards and squandering everything today!

    1. Yes, and for Gary, we are seeing how that is playing out in our Economics and Election 2016 campaign right now. The 1% has arranged our society so that all value flows to the top, without understanding that an impoverished population will no longer be able to buy their products within a few years–witness the closings of hundreds of Walmart stores recently. If everyone is paid minimum wage below the poverty level, who can afford to shop? This is precisely what Drs. Jung & Harding were talking about–at least in part.

    2. I’m just reading a new paper by Nozomi Hayase, which goes to these points (and will be on our website within the hour). Nozomi says, “Psychopaths walk among us, quietly blending into society. They could be corporate CEOs who exploit their workers, politicians who lie to get elected or Don Juan-like womanizers who inspire love to play with others hearts. Roughly 1-2 % of individuals in overall society are estimated to have been affected by this pervasive personality disorder (Neumann & Hare, 2008), yet some suggest these numbers are conservative and that many go unnoticed (Kantor, 2006).

      1. Wow! Another reason to do what we can to raise self-awareness and psychological literacy in collective consciousness. When we can see our own subtle attempts to manipulate people to our advantage, it’s much easier to spot that agenda in others.

        1. Here’s the link to Nozomi’s piece. Really frightening! How many Presidential candidates can we think of, who have these traits? Deb says, “Anyone who wants to be President is by definition crazy, so they should be required to prove they’re not a psychopath before they begin their campaign.” Sorry, this got too far afield from your original topic.

  13. Here is another chilling sentence from the piece: “They outlined the four main messages that psychopaths convey to their targets to create an instant connection, which they call the “psychopathic bond”. These are: 1) “I like who you are”; 2) “I am just like you”; 3) “Your secrets are safe with me”; 4) “I am the perfect friend, lover, partner for you” (pp. 74-78).” The fiancee of one of my closest friends was the first victim of Ted Bundy, so this strikes particularly close to home.

  14. Sorry Jeanie, to (once again) be commenting so late after your original post, but I wanted to comment and provide links in case future readers (or yourself) find them helpful.
    The first link to a 2016 Naked Capitalism post by Lambert Strether provides a thoughtful analysis and background on why the public option isn’t quite what it seems and instead makes the case for single-payer, Expanded and Improved Medicare For All (H.R. 676):
    Another great resource for single-payer information and analysis is the website, Physicians For a National Health Plan (PNHP):
    Thanks for posting your friend’s experience. Unfortunately there are many like it and some much worse, including stories from those of us who remain uninsured, underinsured or unable to access affordable health care even with insurance.

  15. Thought I’d add this from the PNHP website describing single-payer:
    “Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private. Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.”

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