Americans Had To Borrow 88 BILLION Dollars To Cover Their Medical Bills Last Year

I know that the headline sounds outrageous, but it is actually true.  According to a brand new report that was just released, Americans had to borrow 88 billion dollars to cover their medical bills last year.  That is a truly astounding number, and it shows just how dramatically our current health care system has failed.  And even though the vast majority of Americans are covered by “health insurance”, millions of us are deathly afraid to go to the hospital because of what it might cost.  Today, two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills, and most of the people going bankrupt actually had health insurance.  Overall, more than half a million American families are financially ruined by medical bills each year, and meanwhile our “representatives” in Washington are doing absolutely nothing to fix the problem.

Surveys have shown that up to two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, and an unexpected medical bill can be absolutely devastating for those that are just barely scraping by.

Without much of a financial cushion to fall back on, many families must borrow money when confronted with a large medical expense, and the scale at which this is happening is absolutely stunning

Health care costs in the United States are generally measured as the highest in the world. Last year, many Americans could not afford their health care costs and so borrowed $88 billion to pay for that portion they could not afford.

According to a new West Health and Gallup poll, in a new report titled “The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis,” the $88 billion was borrowed in the year before the survey, which was done from January 14 to February 20. The poll was conducted via a random group of 3,537 adults over 18 living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

How in the world is this possible?

After all, more than 90 percent of all Americans have some form of health coverage.  So why did Americans need to borrow 88 billion dollars to cover their unpaid medical bills last year alone?

Well, first of all it is important to remember that health insurance deductibles have gotten obscenely huge.  The following numbers come from a CNN article about Obamacare

The law sets a ceiling on how much consumers have to spend on health care. In 2019, it’s $7,900 for a single person and double that for a family. Some bronze plans peg their deductibles to those levels.

The average deductible for a 2019 bronze policy — which have higher deductibles, but lower premiums than other tiers of Obamacare plans — is nearly $5,900, while the average maximum of out-of-pocket limit is just under $7,000, according to Health Pocket, an online health insurance shopping tool. Family bronze plans have an average deductible of just under $12,200 and an average out-of-pocket maximum of nearly $14,000.

Secondly, even if you have surpassed your deductible, there is still no guarantee that your health insurance company will cover your medical bills.  If you do not jump through every single little hoop they want you to jump through, in many instances they will leave you high and dry.  When I was running for Congress I had personal conversations with so many people that had been screwed over by the health insurance companies.  The more claims they deny, the more money they make, and they have become masters at finding even the smallest loophole that will enable them to wiggle off the hook.

Of course there are some health insurance companies out there that are doing a good job, but the bad apples give the entire industry a very bad name.

We have a system that is deeply broken, and it greatly frustrates me that both political parties seem so uninterested in getting a solution through Congress.

Here are some more numbers that show the current state of the U.S. health care system…

3.7 trillion dollars was spent on health care in the United States in 2018.  That breaks down to $10,739 per person.

-If our health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

76 percent of Americans believe that they pay too much for the quality of health care that they receive.

-Out of the 36 counties in the OECD, the U.S. ranks 31st in infant mortality.

-Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States today.

-Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately 30 billion dollars a year to market their drugs to all of us.

Nearly half of all U.S. doctors are considering leaving the field of medicine, and health insurance companies are the primary reason.

-The median charge for visiting an emergency room in the United States is well over a thousand dollars.

When I was growing up, my mother took me and my siblings to the doctor constantly.  But I don’t know anyone that does that today, because it would be ridiculously expensive in most cases.

And one recent survey actually found that 41 percent of all Americans decided against an emergency room visit last year “due to cost”

Another major personal financial concern among Americans is that 45% worry that a “major health care event” would leave them bankrupt, the West Health-Gallup survey found. Additionally, in the past year, 41% said they did not visit an emergency room due to cost.

Fifteen million Americans “deferred” purchasing prescription drugs in the past year because of costs as well. Finally, 76% believe the problem will become worse because health care costs will rise more over the next two years.

Fixing our horribly broken health care system needs to be a top national priority, but earlier today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it abundantly clear that nothing will be done about Obamacare in the Senate until the 2020 election.  And of course the Democrats are not going to make any major moves on health care until the 2020 election either.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with what we have got for the moment.

Our health care crisis is a national nightmare that never seems to end, and it gets worse with each passing year.

So for now, just hope that nobody in your family becomes seriously ill, because if that happens there is a good chance you might go bankrupt.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

A New Study Discovers Two-Thirds Of All Bankruptcies In The United States Are Primarily Caused By Medical Bills

Our health insurance system is theoretically supposed to prevent Americans from going bankrupt when they are hit by huge medical bills.  But in case after case, that is simply not happening.  Even though more Americans are “covered by health insurance” than ever before, a new study has found that “about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses”, and most of those families actually had health insurance.  These days, most health insurance policies closely resemble Swiss cheese because they are so full of loopholes, and health insurance companies have become masters at finding ways to wiggle off the hook.  So every year hundreds of thousands of American families find themselves facing huge medical bills that they did not expect to be paying, and as a result medical expenses are the primary factor in 66.5 percent of all personal bankruptcy filings in the United States…

For many Americans, putting one’s health first can mean putting one’s financial status at risk. A study of bankruptcy filings in the United States showed that 66.5% were due, at least in part, to medical expenses.

The study, led by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, indicates that about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses. It’s the first research of its kind to link medical expenses and bankruptcy since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.

But wasn’t Obamacare supposed to make things better?

Yes, that was what we were promised, but the authors of the study discovered that the percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical bills actually went up by 2 percent after Obamacare went into effect…

The current study found no evidence that the ACA reduced the proportion of bankruptcies driven by medical problems: 65.5% of debtors cited a medical contributor to their bankruptcy in the period prior to the ACA’s implementation as compared to 67.5% in the three years after the law came into effect. The responses also did not differ depending on whether the respondent resided in a state that had accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers noted that bankruptcy is most common among middle-class Americans, who have faced increasing copayments and deductibles in recent years despite the ACA. The poor, who were most helped by the ACA, less frequently seek formal bankruptcy relief because they have few assets (such as a home) to protect and face particular difficulty in securing the legal help needed to navigate formal bankruptcy proceedings.

Even though more Americans are “in the system” than ever before, clearly what we are doing is simply not working.

As I detailed in my article entitled “$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams”, our health care industry has become all about grabbing as much money as humanly possible.  We are being taken advantage of when we are at our most vulnerable, and the level of greed that we see in the system is absolutely sickening.

As Dr. David Himmelstein has astutely observed, most Americans are “just one serious illness away from bankruptcy”…

Dr. David Himmelstein, the lead author of the study, a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School commented: “Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, copayments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss – just when families need it most.”

You may think that your health insurance policy is somehow different.

You may actually believe that your health insurance company will be there for you when you need them the most.

And they might be.  But the truth is that hundreds of thousands of American families have discovered that most health insurance companies will turn on you the moment it becomes advantageous for them to do so.

It turns out that most doctors dislike the health insurance companies too.  Just check out these numbers

Are health insurance policies creating nightmares for physicians and hazards for their patients? A new study finds that nearly nine in ten doctors believe barriers set by insurance plans have led to worsened conditions for patients in need of care.

Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.

If health insurance companies acted with compassion and always fulfilled the promises that they made, then the rest of us wouldn’t be so hard on them.

But of course the health insurance companies look like saints when compared to the ultra-greedy pharmaceutical companies.  When one pharmaceutical company recently hiked the annual price of a low-cost drug to $375,000, it just about caused Senator Bernie Sanders to cough up a lung

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a blistering letter to a pharmaceutical company on Monday, demanding answers about its decision to charge $375,000 for a formerly low-cost drug and calling it corporate greed at its worst.

“Catalyst’s decision to set the annual list price at $375,000 is not only a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers, but is also an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication,” the independent senator from Vermont wrote. “Simply put, it is corporate greed.

“I am profoundly concerned that Catalyst’s actions will cause patients to suffer or die.”

Fixing our deeply, deeply broken health care system has got to be a top national priority, but at this point neither party has a plan that will turn things around.

So we are stuck with what we have currently got, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Medicare For All? Shock Poll Discovers That 70 Percent Of Americans Want Single-Payer Healthcare To Happen

Should the U.S. government provide medical care for everybody?  A shocking new poll that was just released found that 70 percent of all Americans actually want this to happen.  Of course if they also asked people if they wanted their taxes to double in order to pay for such a system, the percentage of favorable responses would have probably been a lot lower.  But still, this poll result shows that Americans are willing to embrace socialism to a degree that would have been absolutely unthinkable a decade or two ago.  Of course “Medicare for all” is not going to happen as long as Donald Trump resides in the White House, but if future polls keep returning similar results it is only a matter of time before a Democratic administration will implement such a policy.  And as we have seen with Obamacare, once a new social program is in place it can be nearly impossible to get rid of it.

We all knew that a high percentage of Democrats were in favor of “Medicare for all”, but what really shocked me was that this poll found that 52 percent of Republicans are now in favor of it….

A vast majority — 70 percent — of Americans in a new poll supports “Medicare for all,” also known as a single-payer health-care system.

The Reuters–Ipsos survey found 85 percent of Democrats said they support the policy along with 52 percent of Republicans.

Wow.

At one time I was pretty certain what a “Republican” was, but things have changed so dramatically that I am not really sure anymore.

Of course nobody likes paying the sky high health insurance premiums that have been forced on us thanks to Obamacare, and so I definitely understand the hunger for change.

But fully socialized medicine would greatly accelerate our trip down the road toward national bankruptcy.  According to one recent study, a “Medicare for all” system would result in a rise in federal spending of more than 30 trillion dollars over a 10 year period…

Medicare for all has been in the headlines after a study by the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University found it would lead to a $32.6 trillion increase in federal spending over a 10-year period.

The study’s author, Charles Blahous, wrote in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that even doubling taxes would not cover the bill for a single-payer health-care system.

I don’t know about you, but I sure do not want my taxes doubled so that the left can implement a government-controlled healthcare system.

But what we have today is certainly not working.  That is why many of us are deeply, deeply frustrated with the Republicans in Congress.  They had a golden opportunity to repeal Obamacare during this two-year period that they have been in control, and they have completely fumbled the ball.  It is a political failure of the highest order, and millions upon millions of American families are deeply suffering as a result.

Just recently, Bloomberg profiled one of those families…

When their son Sky was born four years ago, Lindsie and Chris Bergevin were hit with a big surprise: $7,000 in bills for the birth that their health plan didn’t cover. Sky was two when the couple jettisoned their medical insurance, which helped them eventually pay off the debt.

Now that they’re ready to have a second child, they’re not going back to their old coverage, with its premiums of more than $350 a month. Instead, they’ve patched together an alternative through a religious group and a primary-care doctor whom they can visit anytime for a monthly fee.

The health insurance system that we have today is a complete and utter failure.  Families are paying ridiculously high premiums for deeply flawed policies with extremely high deductibles, and a lot of people are saying enough is enough.

For example, it is being estimated that more than one million Americans have now joined “health sharing ministries”…

The number of people joining so-called health-care sharing ministries—religion-based cost-sharing plans—rose 74 percent from 2014 to 2016, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data. An alliance for the groups said that more than 1 million people now participate in such programs. Similarly, primary-care clinics like the one Julie Gunther started in 2014 have grown to almost 900 from just a handful in the early 2000s, according to the Direct Primary Care Coalition, a trade group for the clinics.

There are free market solutions out there that actually work.  In addition to health sharing ministries, direct primary care and association buying groups are other free market models that have shown that they have tremendous potential.

Unfortunately, that is not where society is trending.

Even though Republicans are in control of Washington for the moment, the federal government just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  Earlier today, I was astounded to learn that 52 percent of all U.S. children live in a household that receives benefits from the U.S. government each month…

In 2016, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, there were approximately 73,586,000 people under 18 in the United States, and 38,365,000 of them — or 52.1 percent — resided in households in which one or more persons received benefits from a means-tested government program.

These included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Medicaid, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.

All throughout American history, social programs have steadily expanded, and until things completely collapse they will probably continue to expand.

In addition to wanting free government healthcare, it turns out that most Americans also want free college education

The new Reuters poll also showed that a majority of Americans supports free college tuition. Forty-one percent of Republicans said they supported the policy, pollsters found, compared with 79 percent of Democrats.

“Free stuff” always sounds great until you figure out that someone has to pay for it.

And in our case, we have already stolen more than 21 trillion dollars from future generations to pay the bills.  How in the world are we going to be able to afford everything else that the socialists want to do?

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog.  About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

$83,046 For A 3 Hour Hospital Visit – Why Are Hospital Bills So Outrageous?

The fastest way to go broke in America is to go to the hospital.  These days it seems like almost everyone has an outrageous hospital bill story to share.  It is getting to the point where most people are deathly afraid to go to the hospital.  All the financial progress that you have made in recent years can literally be wiped out in just a matter of hours.  For example, you are about to read about an Arizona woman that was recently charged $83,046 for a 3 hour hospital visit.  How in the world is anyone supposed to pay a bill like that?  I have a really hard time understanding why a visit to the doctor should ever be more than a couple hundred bucks or why a hospital stay should ever be more than a couple thousand dollars.  Outrageous hospital bills are a real pet peeve of mine and I have not even been to the hospital in ages.  What makes all of this even more infuriating is that Medicare, Medicaid and the big insurance companies are often charged less than 10 percent of what the rest of us are billed for the same procedures.  There is a reason why 41 percent of all working age Americans are struggling with medical debt right now.  It is because our health care system has become a giant money making scam.  Millions of desperate Americans go into hospitals each year assuming that they will be treated fairly, but in the end they get stuck with incredibly outrageous bills and in many cases cruel debt collection techniques are employed against them if they don’t pay.

So why do we have to pay so much for medical care?  Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care.  Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

And considering the fact that over the next 20 years the number of Americans 65 years of age or older is projected to double that number is going to go even higher.

On a per capita basis we spend about twice as much on health care as anyone else in the world.

In fact, if the U.S. health care system was a nation it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

America spent 2.47 trillion dollars on health care in 2009, and it is now being projected that we will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

Our system is completely and totally broken, and Obamacare is going to make things far worse.  We need to throw the entire system out and start over.

A perfect example of why this is true is what happened when 52-year-old Marcie Edmonds went in to a hospital in Arizona recently to get treated for a scorpion sting….

With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

What makes this even more shocking is that hospitals in Mexico only charge $100 per dose of Anascorp.

These days many hospitals will do whatever they can get away with on hospital bills.

One NBC News reporter was absolutely stunned at the bill that she received after she went in for neck surgery for degenerative disc disease recently….

Once I got my itemized bill, the grand total was a little over $66,013.40!   That was for a one night stay and a four level vertebrae fusion surgery.  The charges included $22 for one sleeping pill, $427 for one dissecting tool, and $32,000 for four titanium plates and ten screws.

I brought it to Todd Hill, a fee based patient advocate who helps people decipher their medical bills. “The screws in your procedure were billed at $605 a piece for a total of $6050 dollars. We’ve seen those in our past research for $25 or $30,” he said. “In this case, the markup is tremendous,” he added.

Considering the fact that 77 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, a single hospital bill like this can be a financial death blow.

If you have time, read this tragic story where one man was charged $11,000 and all he had was a case of bad indigestion.  Nothing was even wrong with him and now his family is going to have to declare bankruptcy.

Often medical bills are so complex and so confusing that nobody can really understand them.  A lot of the times this is probably done on purpose to keep people from understanding how badly they are being overcharged.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

Hospital care tends to be the most confounding, and experts say the charges you see on your bill are usually completely unrelated to the cost of providing the services (at hospitals, these list prices are called the “charge master file”). “The charges have no rhyme or reason at all,” Gerard Anderson, director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Why is 30 minutes in the operating room $2,000 and not $1,500? There is absolutely no basis for setting that charge. It is not based upon the cost, and it’s not based upon the market forces, other than the whim of the C.F.O. of the hospital.”

And those charges don’t really have any connection to what a hospital or medical provider will accept for payment, either. “If you line up five patients in their beds and they all have gall bladders removed and they get the same exact medication and services, if they have insurance or if they don’t have insurance, the hospital will get five different reimbursements, and none of it is based on cost,” said Holly Wallack, a medical billing advocate in Miami Beach. “The insurers negotiate a different rate, and if you are uninsured, underinsured or out of network, you are asked to pay full fare.”

It has been estimated that hospitals in the United States overcharge their patients by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

Medical bills are the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.  As I mentioned earlier, approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans are struggling with medical debt.

And health insurance is not as much protection as you might think.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, of all bankruptcies caused by medical debt, approximately 75 percent of the time the people actually did have health insurance.

And if you can’t pay your bills, many hospitals will come after you ruthlessly.

In fact, collection agencies sought to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans during 2010 alone.

If you don’t cough up the cash they are demanding you can even end up in prison.  The following example comes from CBS News….

How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn’t pay a medical bill — one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn’t owe. “She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn’t have to pay it,” The Associated Press reports. “But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs.”

Although the U.S. abolished debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don’t pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans.

But why do these bills have to be so high?  It is not like many doctors are getting rich these days.  In fact, many of them are going broke.

So what is the deal?

Well, as a recent article by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts explained, there are a whole lot of people pulling profit out of the system other than just doctors these days….

There are two main reasons that US medicine is so expensive. One is that profits are piled upon profits. In addition to wages and salaries for doctors, nurses, and medical personnel, the American health care system has to provide profits for private hospitals, diagnostic centers, insurance companies, and for the accountants, attorneys and management consultants made necessary by the enormous litigation and regulatory compliance cost. American medicine is the most regulated in the world and the most criminalized.

And another big factor is that the rest of us have to make up the difference for the patients that are not profitable.

It has gotten to the point where some doctors in certain kinds of practices barely make any profit on Medicare and Medicaid patients.  In fact, in many cases doctors actually lose money treating them.

An article posted on medicalcostadvocate.com has some outrageous examples of the difference between what you and I are billed and what Medicare pays out for the exact same procedures….

A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation for which Medicare pays $584. And a New Jersey patient was charged $72,000 for a spinal fusion procedure that Medicare covers for $1,629.

So not only do we pay very high taxes to support Medicaid and Medicare, we also have to pay higher medical bills in order to make up the difference for the money that doctors and hospitals are not seeing from those patients.

Unfortunately, Medicaid and Medicare are expected to grow dramatically in the years ahead.

For example, it is now being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to Medicaid.

And enrollment in Medicare is projected to grow from 50.7 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.

How in the world can our current system possibly handle this?

And please don’t tell me that Obamacare is the answer.

The truth is that Obamacare is going to take everything that is wrong with our health care system and make it even worse.

For a good summary on this, please see this article.

In the years ahead it is going to get even harder for those that are not dependent on the government for health care….

-Approximately 10 percent of all employers plan to drop health insurance coverage entirely because of Obamacare.

-According to one recent poll, 83 percent of all doctors in the United States have considered quitting the profession because of Obamacare, and we were already projected to have a severe doctor shortage in the years ahead even before Obamacare came along.

We are heading into the greatest health care crisis the United States has ever seen, and none of our leaders seem to have any answers.

In a recent article entitled “11 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is Heading Straight Down The Toilet“, I detailed a lot more reasons why our health care system is a national disgrace.  If you can handle some more ranting I encourage you to go check that article out.

I am just absolutely disgusted with the condition of our health care system.  It is dominated by government bureaucrats, pharmaceutical corporations and the big health insurance companies.  It is a giant money making scam that seeks to drain as much money from the rest of us as possible.

So do you have a hospital bill horror story to share?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below….

80 Percent Of Americans Say That They Are Not Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  If not, then you are just like most other Americans.  According to a CBS News/New York Times poll that was released a few days ago, 80 percent of Americans say that their financial situation is not “better today” than it was four years ago.  But if you turn on the television and listen to what the “pundits” are saying, you would be tempted to think that we were in the midst of a robust economic recovery.  You would be tempted to think that the U.S. economy is in great shape and that we are heading for a really bright future.  But the fact that the stock market is soaring does not mean much to most Americans.  In fact, most Americans couldn’t care less that the Dow is well above 13,000 and that the NASDAQ is above 3,000.  What most Americans care about is having a job and being able to provide for their families.  If you haven’t paid the mortgage in three months or if you don’t have enough money to take your daughter to go see the doctor it really is not going to matter to you how well the boys and girls over on Wall Street are doing.  Right now most American families are doing worse than they were doing four years ago, and no amount of media hype is going to change that fact.

Yes, the stock market is doing really well for the moment, but the truth is that more than 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.

Good for them.  It looks like the trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve poured into the big Wall Street banks is really paying off nicely for the financial community.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the country is deeply suffering.

It was recently reported that 1.5 million American families live on less than two dollars a day (before counting government benefits).

That is horrifying.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in “extreme poverty” is now sitting at an all-time high.

All across this country poverty is exploding.  Food banks are experiencing more demand than ever before and those offering free healthcare are absolutely swamped.

And every single measure of government dependence has gone way up since Barack Obama entered the White House.

For example, since Barack Obama became president the number of Americans on food stamps has gone up by 45 percent.

Just think about that.

At this point the federal government is helping to feed an all-time record 46.5 million Americans every month.

Oh yeah, times are good.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

That is much higher than it has been historically.

For example, back in 1983 less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

The big problem is that there are simply not enough jobs for everyone.

Listening to the media, you would be tempted to think that the U.S. economy is now pumping out huge numbers of good jobs.

But that is simply not the case.

Right now there are 5.6 million fewer jobs than there were when the last recession began back in late 2007.

So where are the millions of jobs you promised us Obama?

The federal government is trying to convince us that the unemployment rate is going down, but that is not really true.

The key is to look at the percentage of working age Americans that actually have jobs.  During the last recession that percentage fell dramatically as you can see from the chart below.  After every other recession since World War II the employment to population ratio has always bounced back.  But it has not happened this time.  Instead, the employment to population ratio has remained between 58 and 59 percent since the end of 2009….

We have not had a jobs recovery.  Hopefully we will have one before the next recession hits, but we are running out of time for that.

Tonight there are millions upon millions of hard working Americans that are staring at their television screens and wondering why they can’t find good jobs.  The pretty people on television are telling them that the employment situation is getting much better but they can’t find work no matter how hard they try.  It is a cruel joke on them.

When Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million.  Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

Thanks for the improvement Obama.

Meanwhile, the average duration of unemployment continues to hover near a record high.  Just look at the chart posted below.  Does this look like a “jobs recovery” to you?….

But of course Obama and those that support him want to make things sound like they are getting better.  They want people to run out and vote for him again in November.

If things are going well for you right now, be thankful, and also remember the millions upon millions of Americans out there that are deeply hurting in this economy.

If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States at this point into one nation, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the entire world.  It would be a nation larger than Greece or Portugal.

That is a lot of people.

Obama promised us that the Wall Street bailouts would make everything better.  He promised us that if we poured gigantic mountains of money into Wall Street that it would end up helping “Main Street”.

Well, the last time I looked Goldman Sachs was doing just fine.

So where is the help for Main Street?

In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

How much wealthier do they have to get before they start creating more jobs for the rest of us?

Obama (like most of our politicians) is a complete fraud when it comes to the economy.  He is all saddle and no horse.  He talks a good game but he doesn’t have any game.

As Wall Street has recovered, the rest of the country has actually been in decline.  Median household income in the United States is down 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.  Millions of American families are reaching the breaking point and millions of other families have already reached it.

Incomes have been declining but the cost of living has not.

For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.

Has your paycheck increased by 23 percent?

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 90 percent since Barack Obama became president.

Has your paycheck increased by 90 percent?

Millions of American families have lost their homes while Obama has been president and millions more will soon lose their homes.  At this point there are more than 6 million mortgages in the United States that are overdue.

It is a horrible, horrible feeling to know that you can’t pay your mortgage and that you will soon lose your home and your family will be put out on the street.

None of us would ever want to end up in that situation.

And the housing market sure has not shown any signs of recovery under Barack Obama.

In January, U.S. home prices were the lowest that they have been in more than a decade.

Weren’t home prices and home sales supposed to be turning around by now?

Under Barack Obama, new home sales in the United States set a brand new all-time record low in 2009, they set a brand new all-time record low again in 2010, and they set a brand new all-time record low once again during 2011.

That trend is not going in the right direction.

Of course Barack Obama is not solely responsible for the performance of the U.S. economy.  Congress should share part of the blame as well, and the Federal Reserve is more responsible for our economic performance than anyone else is.

But one area where Barack Obama has had a huge impact is in the area of government spending.

While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. national debt has risen from 10.6 trillion to 15.5 trillion.

Thanks Obama.

During the first three years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did between 1776 and 1995.

So is Obama planning a change of course?

Of course not.

At this point, our national debt is increasing by about 150 million dollars every single hour.

So should we be thanking Obama for stealing 150 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every hour?

Should we be thanking Obama for ruining our future?

I think not.

But you know what?

According to the CBS News/New York Times poll mentioned above, about half of America would actually vote for Obama if the next presidential election was held today.

That alone is a clear sign that this country is in a massive amount of trouble.

The truth is that the leaders we elect are an accurate reflection of who we are as a country.

And when you look at the collection of misfits in Washington D.C. right now, that does not say a lot about the character of this nation.

So where does America go from here?

That is up to you America.

The Coming Doctor Shortage

The United States is going to experience an absolutely devastating doctor shortage in the coming years.  Even now it can be difficult to see a doctor in many areas, and if you are fortunate enough to see one you will probably pay through the nose.  Medical bills have gotten absolutely insane in this country.  Many Americans have gone to the hospital for a few hours, perhaps got to see a doctor for half an hour, and ended up being billed thousands of dollars.  Unfortunately, it is not the doctors that are getting rich from these nightmarish medical bills.  Rather, “the system” is set up so that “the middle men” are the ones raking in most of the cash.  In fact, thousands upon thousands of doctors are being chased out of the profession because being a doctor just isn’t worth the trouble anymore.  According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we were already going to be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years even before Obamacare was passed. Obamacare is just going to make the doctor shortage even worse.  In fact, one poll found that 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to get out of the profession over the next 3 years.  Of course not all of those disgruntled doctors will end up leaving the profession, but even if 10 percent of them quit it is going to create a medical crisis of unprecedented magnitude in this country.

Look, it is no secret that I am not a big fan of the health care industry in the United States.  But if I get into a car accident or someone shoots me then I very much want someone to take me to the hospital and I don’t want to wait a couple of hours to see a doctor.

Unfortunately, the way that the health care industry is set up today is absolutely suffocating for doctors.  The government is trying to tell them how to treat patients, lawyers are constantly looking to sue them and most of the money ends up going to health insurance companies, big pharma and huge health care corporations.

In the old days, all you needed was a bed, a patient, a doctor and maybe a nurse.

After all, how much does it really cost for a doctor to look you over, ask you a few questions and patch you up?

Unfortunately, a whole host of bad guys have gotten between the doctor and the patient these days.  They have all carved out a little bit of “territory” and they all have to be paid.

The health care industry used to be about helping people.

Today it is all about greed, and the system is coming apart.

As the economy collapses, an increasing number of Americans are being forced to rely on programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

For example, back in 1965 only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

This is putting our doctors in a very difficult position.  According to The New York Post, treating Medicare and Medicaid patients is a huge financial strain on U.S. doctors…

Estimates suggest that on average physicians are reimbursed at roughly 78% of costs under Medicare, and just 70% of costs under Medicaid. Physicians must either make up for this shortfall by shifting costs to those patients with insurance — meaning those of us with insurance pay more — or treat patients at a loss.

You understand what all that means, right?

Medical bills have to be jacked up on all the rest of us to make up for the Medicare and Medicaid patients.

But that is just one example of how the system is failing.

Today, it is quite common for medical school students to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt as they go through school.  Then it takes a number of years of really hard work before they become established and at a point where they can start making good money.  Meanwhile, lawyers are constantly circling them like vultures.  Malpractice insurance premiums are absolutely insane at this point and one really bad lawsuit can ruin a career that took decades to build.

In addition, now thanks to Obamacare and other ridiculous regulations that have been passed in recent years, the government has a tremendous amount of control over how medicine is practiced in the United States.  Doctors no longer have the complete freedom to treat their patients as they see fit.

Sadly, a significant percentage of U.S. doctors have had enough and now want to get out.

According to a Merritt Hawkins survey of 2,379 doctors for the Physicians Foundation that was conducted in August of last year, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to “retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care” at some point over the next three years.

When Obamacare was originally being debated perhaps we should have taken some time to ask our doctors what they thought about it first.

Now we could end up with a massive doctor shortage as our doctors vote with their feet.

Right now there are approximately 960,000 doctors in the United States.

What do you think our medical system will look like if even 100,000 of them bail out of the profession?

According to the same survey noted above, 74 percent of U.S. doctors plan to make “one or more significant changes in their practices in the next one to three years, a time when many provisions of health reform will be phased in.”

One big trend that we are seeing right now is the refusal to see certain kinds of patients.  Under our current system, some patients are much more “profitable” than others.  Many doctors have decided that they simply cannot afford to see many of the “unprofitable” patients any longer.

Our health care system is messed up beyond all recognition.  In America, we pay much more for health care than anyone else in the world and what we get in return is a system that is literally falling to pieces.

It would have been nice if we would have gotten some real health care reform, but instead what we got was Obamacare – one of the worst pieces of legislation that has ever been passed in all of modern American history.

An IBD/TIPP poll taken back in August 2009 found that 4 out of every 9 American doctors said that they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passed Obamacare.

Well, it passed anyway.

Now the doctor shortage is about to get a whole lot worse.

Survey after survey shows similar results.

According to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all practicing physicians in the United States indicated that they may leave the medical profession because of the new health care law.

Are you starting to become alarmed yet?

We have a system that is broken and large numbers of doctors are now saying that they simply want to give up.

Sadly, Obamacare is also causing the cancellation of a lot of new hospitals.

According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, the new health care law has already forced the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to open soon.

Not that I am just getting on Obama and the Democrats.  Bush and the Republicans were a complete disaster when it came to health care as well.  Thanks to both political parties we have a health care system that is a joke.

Today, approximately 40% of all U.S. doctors are age 55 or older.  All of those old doctors are thinking about retirement.  They are too old to be putting up with all of this garbage.

It is an open secret that our health care industry has become a giant money making scam and that it is not favorable for either doctors or patients.

According to one doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

So how much of that $13,000 do you think the doctor gets?

Not a whole lot.

There certainly are some wealthy doctors out there, but the truth is that “the system” gets most of the money.

I am sure almost everyone reading this has a medical bill horror story to tell.

In America today, if you have an illness that requires intensive care for an extended period of time, it can be really easy to rack up medical bills that total over 1 million dollars.

In fact, most Americans are scared to even spend a single night in the hospital these days.

It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.  In fact, one trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

Basically, hospitals charge whatever they think they can get away with.  Unlike most transactions, you don’t get to see a “price list” first when you go into the hospital.  You just ask them to take care of you and you trust them to bill you fairly later.

Why should it cost a half million dollars for a simple operation?

It’s not that complicated – the doctor cuts you open, carves something out and then sews you back up.

So why should it cost so much?

Am I missing something?

Sadly, it is those that don’t know how things work that get the worst of it.

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

You should always, always have health insurance if you can afford it.  If you do not have a health insurance company fighting the hospital then it can be really hard to have your medical bills knocked down to a reasonable level.

In any event, as doctors start leaving the profession in droves it may become difficult to find quality medical care at all.

Perhaps even more of us will start going out of the country for medical care.  According to numbers released by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

So what do all of you think about the state of the health care industry in the United States?  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!