“Cash for diabetic test strips”

That’s what the bright yellow signs say stuck up illegally on telephone poles in the North Philadelphia neighborhoods around Temple University. “Cash for diabetic test strips” followed by a telephone number. What’s up with that?

Try googling “cash for test strips” on the internet and see how many websites pop up. Then google “free test strips”, and it becomes pretty clear what’s going on.

People are getting free test strips paid for by Medicare or Medicaid or their health insurance, and then turning around and selling the test strips for cash. A lot of people are doing it. It’s happening on a huge scale. It’s brazen theft on a huge scale.

No wonder America’s per capita health care costs are the highest in the world, though far from the highest in quality of results. No wonder Medicare and Medicaid are going broke trying to pay for every medical need of their clients. And no wonder every attempt to provide affordable health care in America through private providers is doomed to failure.

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The only way I can think of to eliminate the market for contraband test strips and stolen medical supplies of all kinds would be to institute a single national health service on the model of Canada or the United Kingdom. Eliminating the market for contraband should eliminate the theft. Anything short of that, trying to provide health care through multiple private providers, seems like trying to push water uphill.

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