T Nation

Lifestyles of the Rich? (part 1)

Do people like Bill Gates have health insurance?

I’m curious, if Bill crashed his Lear jet and was taken to the hospital, would the admitting nurse ask, “Does he have insurance?” Heck, this guy could pay for the basic research and have both legs, an arm, and ear and eye replaced with bionic equivalents (and get 6:1 zoom on the eye too!) out of petty cash. So would they bill him? Do rich people file claims or do they write a check?

Hold on…let me call Bill and ask him…it’ll be just a minute…

hee hee

Not health insurance. There is a distinct association between wealth and health status; the more money you have, the healthier you are. As such, Gates is less likely to need to use health insurance than “normal” people, so it is of little value to him. It would be cheaper for him to pay out of pocket than to shell out a flat rate every month (this rate would go to paying more for other people’s health care, as he wouldn’t be relying on health services as much!). Besides, chances are that the insurance companies would just jack up the price because he’s Bill Gates and he can afford to have a room in his house that is solely devoted to a trampoline for his kids.

You’re taking this too seriously. This was supposed to be right up there with the “Do cats blink?” post. So much for humor…

Actually, it was just a way for me to blow a little sunshine up my own butt, as I had a Health Service Delivery Systems exam only twenty minutes before that post. My bad.

yes, they do blink…i’ve been watching mine.

I managed to stare down the can eventually, if anyone is interested :wink:

I’ll reply with a real world example. I know a family that is wealthy beyopnd what most people can comprehend. They’re all independent busines owners. Any way, a little over a year ago, the dad had to go into the hospital. Now these people are about as wealthy as Bill Gates, but it’s all in cash flow, not stock. They were able to pay his 4-month hospital stay and rehab with basically no impact financially to themselves (must be nice). They do have life insurance policies, but not health insurance (their cash flow covers anything that could possibly happen). With the case os a Bill Gates, he has a finite wealth because it’s all in stock. If he doesn’t have health insurance, he’s a fool.

Q: Are cryonics patients dead?

Cryonics begins after legal death is declared. But legal death and real death are not the same thing. Legal death merely means that a qualified medical authority has decided that restoring (or attempting to restore) blood circulation is no longer appropriate. Real death then occurs as cells irreversibly deteriorate in the minutes and hours that follow. Real death is only complete when so much cellular information has been lost that a patient is beyond reach of ANY technology. For this reason, we assume that cryonics patients are NOT dead, but in a coma that will eventually be reversible. There are types of surgery today in which the heart is stopped and metabolism is brought to a virtual halt by deep cooling for up to an hour, and then successfully reversed. Cryonics is an extension of this concept to total metabolic arrest (biostatic coma), and reliance on future technology for repair. If future technology can recover today’s cryonics patients, then they are just as alive as human embryos that can already be recovered from a cryopreserved state.

Q: What, then, is death?

Death, by definition, is the irreversible loss of life. We know from modern medicine that simple absence of metabolism is not a sufficient condition for death. The medical criteria that determine death change with time as technology progresses. If technology exists to physically restore and wake a patient, they were never dead in the first place. The argument that cryonics patients cannot be revived because cryonics patients are dead is A CIRCULAR ARGUMENT. Ultimately, death occurs when so much information in the brain is lost that even future nanomedicine could not restore a patient with memories and identity intact. It is not currently known with certainty whether cryonics patients are past this point or not, although powerful arguments exist that in the best of circumstances they are not. Death in future medicine may not be a question of whether a patient can be awakened, but rather a question of how much amnesia they exhibit after they are awakened.