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.

Climate Collapse: Wind Chill Temperatures Will Hit -60 In The Midwest This Week As Global Weather Patterns Shift

The experts are telling us that the Midwest could experience the coldest weather that it has ever seen this week.  Wind chill temperatures of -40 and -50 degrees will be common throughout the region, and it is being projected that some spots will actually get hit by wind chill temperatures of up to -60 degrees.  A shift in the polar vortex is being blamed for this life-threatening weather, and we are being told to expect the coldest temperatures to arrive on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  But all-time records are already being set.  For example, according to Accuweather the temperature in the city of International Falls, Minnesota hit 45 below zero on Monday morning…

The coldest weather in years will put millions of people and animals throughout the midwestern United States at risk for hypothermia and frostbite to occur in minutes during the final days of January.

The deep freeze continued across the Upper Midwest on Sunday with temperatures plummeting well below zero in the morning. The low of 45 below zero F in International Falls, Minnesota, shattered the day’s record of 36 below zero F from 1966.

Please keep in mind that was not a wind chill temperature.

That was the actual temperature outside.

As the week progresses, bitterly cold temperatures will be accompanied by heavy snow and strong winds across the Midwest.  The polar jet stream has weakened, and as a result the polar vortex will “dip into parts of North America”

The wintry onslaught will be driven by the Northern Hemisphere’s polar vortex, the pocket of cold air sitting atop the North Pole. When temperatures rise in the Arctic, the polar jet stream — the torrent of westerly winds that hold the polar vortex in place — can weaken and dip into parts of North America.

“Occasionally this ring of winds deforms or even splits, which allows the cold air to spill southward over mid latitudes — this is exactly what’s happening now,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior research scientist with Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, in an email. “It just so happens that the lobe of cold air is located over central North America, with Chicago in the crosshairs.”

This is an extremely dangerous situation, and we will probably read about some people that underestimate the danger and end up dead.

According to weather.com, the air will be so cold that it “could lead to frostbite on exposed skin in a matter of minutes”…

This bitter cold will be accompanied by strong winds at times Tuesday through Thursday, leading to life-threatening wind chills in the Midwest that could lead to frostbite on exposed skin in a matter of minutes. A large swath of the Midwest will have wind chills in the 30s, 40s and 50s below zero by Wednesday. A few spots in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota may see wind chills in the 60s below zero.

Unless you absolutely must go out for some reason, if you live in the Midwest you should stay inside until temperatures begin to warm up again.

This weather is so unusual that even President Trump is tweeting about it

In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!

Now that even the president of the United States is acknowledging that this winter could be “the coldest ever recorded”, I want to remind everyone that we were warned about this months in advance…

“Climate Chaos: Following Record Heat This Summer, Experts Are Predicting There Will Be A Nightmarishly Cold Winter”

“November Snow In Texas? Experts Warn Decreased Solar Activity Will Shatter All Global Climate Models”

“The Coldest And Snowiest November Ever? Here Is Why America’s Freakish Weather Is Only Going To Get Worse…”

“A Mini Ice Age? NASA Scientist Warns That Diminished Solar Activity Could Mean The Coldest Winter In Modern Times”

“-75 Wind Chill On Thanksgiving??? Why This Could Be The Coldest Winter In America EVER…”

I wrote article after article warning that this would happen, and now it is happening.

At this hour, schools and businesses are closed throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin as blizzard-like conditions sweep through both states.  And Chicago is bracing for what will likely be the coldest day ever in the history of the city

After seeing a high around 34 on Monday at O’Hare International Airport, temperatures will drop to near zero before the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service. By Tuesday night, temperatures are expected to take another plunge, to 23 below zero, flirting with Chicago’s coldest temperature ever: minus 27 on Jan. 20, 1985.

Temperatures are forecast to inch up to a daytime high of about minus 14 on Wednesday — the first subzero high temperature in five years and the coldest winter high ever recorded in Chicago — before dipping, again, to about minus 21 overnight. The coldest daytime high in Chicago was minus 11 on Christmas Eve 1983.

Our planet is changing, our climate is collapsing, and this is going to put an increasing amount of strain on social order.

And we are already starting to see evidence of this.  In fact, Chicago police are telling us that in recent days people have been getting robbed of their expensive winter coats at gunpoint

Chicago police are reporting gunpoint robberies targeting people wearing pricey Canada Goose jackets as temperatures plunge in the city.

Over the past two weeks, police say there’s been a spate of the thefts in which people wearing the luxury coats have been targeted and forced to give up the jackets. The coats can cost upward of $1,000 and are often seen on celebrities.

Six people had their Canada Goose coats stolen last week and two more were targeted Wednesday.

Unfortunately, this is only just the beginning.

Global seismic activity is rising, weather patterns are becoming more extreme, and a worldwide environmental collapse is already well underway.  If you have any doubts that this worldwide environmental collapse is happening, just read this excellent article by Chris Martenson.

We have been making the wrong decisions for decades, and now the consequences of those decisions are starting to catch up with us.  The clock is ticking, but most Americans are still completely and utterly clueless about what is coming.

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 all over the nation.  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.

$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams

If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.  At this point only the United States, China, Japan and Germany have a GDP that is larger than the 3.5 trillion dollar U.S. health care market.  If that sounds obscene to you, that is because it is obscene.  We should want people to be attracted to the health care industry because they truly want to help people that are suffering, but instead the primary reason why people are drawn to the health care industry these days is because of the giant mountains of money that are being made.  Like so many other things in our society, the health care industry is all about the pursuit of the almighty dollar, and that is just wrong.

In order to keep this giant money machine rolling, the health care industry has to do an enormous amount of marketing.  If you can believe it, a study that was just published found that at least 30 billion dollars a year is spent on such marketing.

Hoping to earn its share of the $3.5 trillion health care market, the medical industry is pouring more money than ever into advertising its products — from high-priced prescriptions to do-it-yourself genetic tests and unapproved stem cell treatments.

Spending on health care marketing nearly doubled from 1997 to 2016, soaring to at least $30 billion a year, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA.

This marketing takes many different forms, but perhaps the most obnoxious are the television ads that are endlessly hawking various pharmaceutical drugs.  If you watch much television, you certainly can’t miss them.  They always show vibrant, smiling, healthy people participating in various outdoor activities on bright, sunny days, and the inference is that if you want to be like those people you should take their drugs.  And the phrase “ask your doctor” is usually near the end of every ad…

The biggest increase in medical marketing over the past 20 years was in “direct-to-consumer” advertising, including the TV commercials that exhort viewers to “ask your doctor” about a particular drug. Spending on such ads jumped from $2.1 billion in 1997 to nearly $10 billion in 2016, according to the study.

As a result of all those ads, millions of Americans rush out to their doctors to ask about drugs that they do not need for diseases that they do not have.

And on January 1st, dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturers hit Americans with another annual round of massive price increases.

But everyone will just keep taking those drugs, because that is what the doctors are telling them to do.  But what most people never find out is that the pharmaceutical industry goes to great lengths to get those doctors to do what they want.  According to NBC News, the big drug companies are constantly “showering them with free food, drinks and speaking fees, as well as paying for them to travel to conferences”.

It is a legal form of bribery, and it works.

When you go to most doctors, they will only have two solutions to whatever problem you have – drugs or surgery.

And since nobody really likes to get cut open, and since drugs are usually the far less expensive choice, they are usually the preferred option.

Of course if doctors get off the path and start trying to get cute by proposing alternative solutions, they can get in big trouble really fast

Today’s medical doctors are not allowed to give nutritional advice, or the American Medical Association will come shut them down, and even if they were, they don’t know the right things to say, because they weren’t educated that way in medical college. So instead, M.D.s just sling experimental, addictive drugs at symptoms of deeper rooted sicknesses, along with immune-system-destroying antibiotics and carcinogenic vaccines.

That’s why any medicine that wrecks your health is easy to come by, just like junk food in vending machines. The money isn’t made off the “vending” products, the money is made off the sick fools who are repeat offenders and keep going back to the well for more poison – it’s called chronic sick care or symptom management. Fact: Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in America, even when “taken as directed.”

Switching gears, let’s talk about hospitals for a moment.

When you go to the hospital, it is often during a great time of need.  If you are gravely ill or if an accident has happened and you think you might die, you aren’t thinking about how much your medical care is going to cost.  At that moment you just want help, and that is a perfect opportunity for predators to take advantage of you.

Just consider the example of 24-year-old Nina Dang.  She broke her arm while riding her bicycle in San Francisco, and so she went to the emergency room.

The hospital that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated so much money to definitely fixed her arm, but later they broke her bank account when they hit her with a $24,000 bill

A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance. She was semi-lucid for that ride, awake but unable to answer basic questions about where she lived. Paramedics took her to the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors X-rayed her arm and took a CT scan of her brain and spine. She left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and with a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist.

A few months later, Dang got a bill for $24,074.50. Premera Blue Cross, her health insurer, would only cover $3,830.79 of that — an amount that it thought was fair for the services provided. That left Dang with $20,243.71 to pay, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.

Most Americans assume that if they have “good health insurance” that they are covered if something major happens.

But as Dang found out, you can still be hit with crippling hospital bills even if you have insurance.

Today, medical debt is the number one reason why Americans declare bankruptcy.  Because of the way our system is set up, most families are just one major illness away from financial ruin.

And this kind of thing is not just happening in California.  The median charge for a visit to the emergency room nationally is well over a thousand dollars, and you can be billed up to 30 dollars for a single pill of aspirin during a hospital stay.

Our health care system is deeply broken, and it has been designed to squeeze as much money out of all of us as it possibly can.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with this system for now.  The health care industry is certainly not going to reform itself, and the gridlock in Washington is going to make a political solution impossible for the foreseeable future.

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.

National Health Crisis! U.S. Rates of Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Soar To The Highest Levels Ever

America is facing a health nightmare unlike anything that we have ever experienced before.  According to the CDC, rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have all skyrocketed to the highest levels on record, and top health professionals are urging coordinated national action to battle this unprecedented crisis.  Even before these latest numbers, the United States had “the highest STD rates in the industrialized world”, and it is becoming exceedingly clear that things are rapidly getting worse.  So exactly what does this say about us as a society?  Sexually-transmitted diseases are spreading like wildfire, and those on the front lines are not optimistic that we will be able to turn this health crisis around any time soon.

On Tuesday, the CDC held a press conference during which they released the latest depressing numbers

Rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have climbed for the fourth consecutive year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday at the National STD Prevention Conference in Washington.

Last year, nearly 2.3 million US cases of these sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed, according to preliminary data.

That’s the highest number ever reported nationwide, breaking the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases, according to the CDC.

If these diseases were just growing gradually, that would be bad enough, but according to the CDC we have truly seen “explosive” growth over the past four years

Chlamydia, a bacterial infection, remained the most common sexually transmitted disease, with more than 1.7 million reported cases. But health officials are concerned that gonorrhea cases increased a startling 67 percent between 2013 and 2017, and syphilis climbed even faster — 76 percent over those four years.

What we have been doing to fight this epidemic is clearly not working.

And according to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, we are rapidly approaching a “breaking point”

“We are sliding backward,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement. “It is evident the systems that identify, treat, and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.

During her remarks to the press, Dr. Gail Bolan sounded even more ominous

“We have seen steep and sustained increases over the last five years,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC. “Usually there are ebbs and flows, but this sustained increase is very concerning. We haven’t seen anything like this for two decades.”

Because syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are not fatal, sometimes people don’t take them seriously.

But the truth is that they can have absolutely devastating health effects

Chlamydia and gonorrhea, if untreated, can leave a woman infertile. Syphilis can spread from mother to fetus, and cause the baby to have birth defects or to be stillborn.

Harvey noted that a thousand babies a year are diagnosed with congenital syphilis, despite mandatory syphilis testing when a woman is first found to be pregnant (the disease can spread to women during pregnancy).

And remember, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are just three sexually-transmitted diseases.  There are many, many others, and when you add the statistics from all of them together the numbers are absolutely staggering.

In fact, according to the New York Times approximately 110 million Americans have a sexually-transmitted disease right now.

Let that sink in.

110 million Americans.

That is more than one out of every three Americans.  And when you narrow it down to young Americans in their sexual prime, that number is much closer to one out of two.

In the wake of the CDC announcement on Tuesday, the mainstream media is blaming the usual suspects

Experts say many factors have contributed to the rapid rise, though the biggest one may be less frequent condom use. It’s less clear whether dating apps, like Tinder, have contributed in some way to the spread of STDs, though some researchers think they have.

And much is also being made of the fact that there have been cutbacks in funding for agencies that fight sexually-transmitted diseases…

Another factor driving the skyrocketing numbers of STD cases may be a decline in funding for state and local agencies working on prevention, said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in many areas primarily due to the eroding public health infrastructure,” he said. “The lack of funding at the state and local level to really invest in prevention work is not just about medications, it’s about disease investigators who meet with the individual who is infected and talk about their behavior and do contact tracing to try to prevent the future spread.”

One of the biggest concerns that health professionals currently have is that some of these sexually-transmitted diseases are becoming highly resistant to antibiotics.

As these new strains continue to develop, we will have no way of fighting them, and that is why some health professionals are warning about the potential for a “mega-outbreak” that would spiral totally out of control.

One candidate for that “mega-outbreak” is a strain of gonorrhea that is already being dubbed “super-gonorrhea”

Gonorrhea – or rather ‘super-gonorrhea’ – is a top contender to be that outbreak.

Some strains of the bacteria are already untreatable with the standard antibiotic, oral azithromycin.

In 2013, those resistant strains accounted for just one percent of samples tested by the CDC.

In 2017, more than four percent of tested gonorrhea samples were resistant.

It has become very clear that our society is being overwhelmed by the consequences of our own reckless behavior.

If we keep doing the same things, we will keep getting the same results, but unfortunately it is not likely that people will be changing their behavior any time soon.

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.

$28,166: What It Costs To Provide Health Care For An American Family Of Four For One Year

One of the primary reasons why the middle class in America is disappearing so rapidly is because of skyrocketing health care costs.  Families all over the country are being absolutely crushed by extremely high health insurance premiums, ridiculously high deductibles and very large out-of-pocket expenses that were not anticipated.  In fact, medical bills are the number one reason why individuals go bankrupt in the United States today.  Once upon a time, the medical profession was all about helping people, but today it has become a heartless money-making operation that is dominated by health insurance corporations and pharmaceutical companies.  If we do not make major changes quickly, our out of control health care system will destroy the middle class in our country all by itself.

I knew that health care costs were astronomical, but I had no idea that health care costs for an average family of four for one year had hit $28,166

The total costs for a typical family of four insured by the most common health plan offered by employers will average $28,166 this year, according to the annual Milliman Medical Index.

The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

That is a crazy amount of money.  Once upon a time, you could buy an entire house in America for $28,000.  But now that will only cover health care costs for a single year.

The largest portion of that amount goes to pay for health insurance.  For those that receive health benefits at work, usually the employer pays most of that bill

Last year, the premium for the most popular health plan offered by employers — what is known as a preferred provider organization  — for family coverage was $19,481, according to the annual survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Employers paid $13,430 and employees paid $6,050 of the premium on average.

When you break down that total, it comes to more than $1,500 a month just for health insurance.

That is insane.

And of course those of us that are self-employed or that work for businesses that don’t provide health insurance have to pay for it all on our own.

Needless to say, that can be financially crippling.  And thanks to Obamacare, it is harder than ever before.  Not too long ago, I wrote about one family in Virginia that is now faced with the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for an Obamacare plan…

Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance? Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month.

This is one of the biggest reasons why the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near record lows.  People simply cannot afford the health insurance.

And every year it gets worse.  For 2018, it was being projected that the average rate increase for Obamacare plans would be 37 percent.

If our paychecks were going up 37 percent each year, that would be fine.

But of course that just isn’t happening.

This is one of our great long-term challenges as a society.  We have got to get health care costs under control if our system is going to be sustainable.

There is absolutely no reason why an appendectomy in the United States needs to be 10 times more expensive than an appendectomy in Mexico.  The quality of care in Mexico is not 10 times worse than in the United States.  In fact, it is actually pretty comparable to what we have here, and many Americans are now taking “medical vacations” to have procedures performed down there because our system is so badly broken.

Sadly, this figure of $28,166 for a family of four will be out of date by next month.

According to one expert quoted by USA Today, every single month the number goes up by another one hundred dollars…

“But every month, a family of four’s health care costs are going up $100 a month,” Weltz said.

The costs have been going up by that amount — on average — for more than a decade.

I have to admit that our health care system makes me angry.  Today, the U.S. health care system accounts for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, but back in 1960 it only accounted for about 5 percent of the overall economy.

There is no reason why we can’t start moving back toward that level.  We just need to reintroduce true competition and free market principles into our health care system.  Those that have been abusing their power need to be held accountable, and something desperately needs to be done about the health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical giants.  In one recent year, more than 100 billion dollars was spent on cancer drugs, and that is absolutely outrageous.

If you go all the way back to 1960, an average of $146 was spent on health care per person for the entire year.

So for a family of four, the total would have been about $600, but now it is over $28,000.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

On a per capita basis, we spend far, far more than anyone else in the world on health care.

If you can believe it, we actually spend nearly twice as much as most of the other industrialized nations in the world on a per capita basis.

The only way that we are going to have a thriving middle class is if we get health care costs under control, but unfortunately Congress is such a mess right now that nothing is likely to get done for the foreseeable future.

So our health care system is going to continue to deteriorate, and many Americans will continue to travel overseas when they need important procedures to be done.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Harvard Professor Warns That The Current Ebola Outbreak In Africa Could Spread To The United States

Could it be possible that we are on the verge of a major Ebola pandemic?  In 2014, the worst Ebola outbreak in history resulted in 28,637 cases and more than 11,000 deaths.  But we were very fortunate.  Even though the virus started to spread across national lines, health authorities were able to quickly identify new cases and isolate those that were infected.  But just because that outbreak ultimately fizzled out does not mean that we can let our guard down.  In 2014, a single Ebola case absolutely overwhelmed an entire hospital here in the United States, and a full blown global Ebola outbreak would definitely have the potential to kill millions of people.

So how far away are we from such a scenario?

Well, one British news source is reporting that this current outbreak is “not under control”…

THE EBOLA outbreak is “not under control” and has started to spread across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing dozens in its path, as the Health Minister urges people to be vaccinated before the virus reaches pandemic levels.

And Harvard professor Dr. Ashish Jah has publicly stated that if this outbreak spreads to the capital city of Kinshasa, it “could spread to Europe and the US”

Dr Ashish Jah said the spread of the disease to the urban city of Mbandaka last week poses serious concerns as to how far it spreads.

The World Health Organisation said today there have been 22 confirmed, probable or suspected deaths from Ebola since April 4.

But Dr Jah warned it could spread to Europe and the US if it reaches the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, which has an estimated population of 12 million.

Was it responsible for Dr. Jah to talk about this disease potentially spreading to the United States and Europe?

Is he being way too alarmist?

We shall see what happens.

What we do know is that this current outbreak of Ebola spread to a city of more than a million people earlier this month

A new case of Ebola has emerged in an urban area of Democratic Republic of the Congo, a troubling development in the country’s new outbreak of the contagious and often fatal virus. Until now, the outbreak had affected a rural area.

Dr. Oly Ilunga, Congo’s minister of health, announced Wednesday that a suspected case was confirmed in Mbandaka, a city of about 1.2 million people, and the capital of the Équateur Province.

If that case was identified and isolated in time, there may not be that much to be concerned about.  But it is important to note that one prominent WHO official is saying that we are definitely facing the potential of “an explosive increase in cases”

“This is a major development in the outbreak,” said Peter Salama, the WHO’s deputy director general of emergency preparedness and response. “We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola. The potential for an explosive increase in cases is now there.”

The key is for everyone to act in a responsible manner.  Anyone with symptoms needs to report them immediately, and those that have caught the virus need to be strictly isolated from the general population.

Unfortunately, that is not happening.  In fact, two Ebola patients were recently taken out of an isolation center on motorcycles by their relatives

Two dying Ebola patients were spirited out of a Congo hospital by their relatives on motor-bikes, then taken to a prayer meeting with 50 other people, potentially exposing them all to the deadly virus, a senior aid worker said on Thursday.

Both patients were vomiting and infectious and died hours after the prayer session in the river port city of Mbandaka, Dr. Jean-Clement Cabrol, emergency medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), said.

So now everybody at that prayer meeting could have been exposed to the virus, and in turn all of those people could have exposed it to countless others.

And it is being reported that the two patients that were taken out of the isolation facility were “in the active phase of the disease”

“The escape was organised by the families, with six motorcycles as the patients were very ill and couldn’t walk,” Cabrol told a news briefing in Geneva after returning from the affected region.

“They were taken to a prayer room with 50 people to pray. They were found at two in the morning, one of them dead and one was dying. So that’s 50-60 contacts right there. The patients were in the active phase of the disease, vomiting.”

The good news is that global health officials appear to be right on top of this crisis, and they are constantly monitoring for any new cases.

So hopefully this outbreak will end very soon.

But we would be very foolish not to take this outbreak seriously.  Ebola is the kind of virus that they make science fiction movies about.  In a typical outbreak, 40 to 50 percent of the people that get the virus won’t make it, and it truly is a horrible way to die.

So far the mainstream media in the United States has largely ignored this crisis, and most people don’t seem too concerned about a repeat (or worse) of 2014.

Hopefully they are right and there is no cause for alarm.  But without a doubt, many of us will be keeping a watchful eye on these developments…

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Every RINO Needs To Go

It looks like the effort to repeal Obamacare is completely dead, and that says a lot about the current state of the Republican Party.  For decades, RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) have been using labels such as “Republican”, “conservative”, “pro-gun” and “pro-life” to get elected, but then once they get into office they govern like Democrats.  There was so much hope when Donald Trump won the election last November, but thanks to the RINOs in Congress not much has actually been accomplished so far.  In fact, this is being called “the most unproductive Congress in 164 years”.  The following is an excerpt from an article published by The Week

Just six months ago, it looked like the Republican Party was about to go on a legislative blitzkrieg, shredding law after law passed by the Obama administration. ObamaCare would be vaporized and replaced with a nickel rattling inside an empty Mountain Dew can. Dodd-Frank was sure to be tossed aside for a transparent giveaway to Wall Street. And Republicans would pass their regressive tax reform, their perplexing border-adjustment tax, and so much more. The GOP hadn’t held total power in American politics since 2006, and the party had become much more conservative in the interim.

Most of us were anticipating that so much would get done over the past 6 months, but instead we have seen nothing but gridlock.

The most recent example of this has been the Obamacare debacle.  After failing to push through “Obamacare 2.0”, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided that he would switch gears and try to get a clean Obamacare repeal bill through the Senate, but unfortunately that effort has already failed

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s sudden move to try to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan appeared doomed Tuesday as at least three moderate Republicans rejected the idea.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they will not support a motion to proceed to the bill, which would repeal Obamacare in two years. Without their support, McConnell cannot get the 50 votes he needs to pass a repeal bill.

Collins, Capito and Murkowski are perfect examples of what I am talking about when I use the term “RINOs”.  They are essentially Democrats, but they have been able to successfully use the Republican label to get elected.

Unless we are able to start kicking the RINOs out of Congress, most of Trump’s agenda is going to go nowhere.

Obviously Trump is not happy about what has transpired in the Senate, and now his plan is to basically sit back and let Obamacare fail

Now his plan is to “let Obamacare fail; it will be a lot easier,” he said. “And I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail.”

“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it,” the president said. “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

But will the Democrats come to the Republicans ready to compromise as Obamacare comes apart at the seams?

I seriously doubt it.

I think that they are convinced that they can successfully point the blame at the Republicans as our health care system continues to deteriorate.

Personally, I believe that the more the federal government gets involved in health care the worse it is going to get.

Unfortunately, once you establish a program that gives out free goodies to people it is hard to take that back.  For RINOs such as Collins, Capito and Murkowski, one of the biggest obstacles to repealing Obamacare is that it would roll back the Medicaid program to pre-Obamacare levels.

Today, more than 74 million Americans are on Medicaid and CHIP, and more than  58 million Americans are on Medicare.  That means that more than 130 million Americans are enrolled in these government programs at this point.

That is nearly half the country.

Of course many Democrats would like to go all the way and put everyone in such programs, but then we would have a completely socialized health care system.

The big problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.  Everybody likes free stuff, but somebody has to pay for all of that free stuff somewhere along the line.

And if people are forced to expend time and effort in order to get their free stuff, interest in the free stuff drops substantially.  In Alabama, food stamp enrollment plunged dramatically once work requirements were re-instituted…

Alabama began 2017 by requiring able-bodied adults without children in 13 counties to either find a job or participate in work training as a condition for continuing to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

According to AL.com, the number of those recipients declined from 5,538 to 831 between Jan. 1 and the beginning of May – an 85 percent drop.

Similar changes were implemented in select counties in Georgia and by the end of the first three months, the number of adults receiving benefits in three participating counties dropped 58 percent, according to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

In my brand new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I open up about why I want to run for Congress.  For way too long we have had a federal government that has just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.  We need to swing the pendulum way back in the other direction, and we need to educate people on the benefits of having a very limited central government.

If you take the shackles off, the free market system works incredibly well.  And once upon a time, the United States actually had a free market health care system and it was the best on the entire planet.

We can get there again, but first we need to get rid of the RINOs in Congress and replace them with people that deeply believe in true conservative values.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.