This Memorial Day, Barack Obama and members of Congress will honor our veterans by wearing ribbons and laying wreaths, but what they should really do is apologize to the entire nation for treating them like human trash for the past five years. You see, the truth is that this VA scandal is nothing new. The problems at the VA hospitals have been documented over and over again for years. When Barack Obama was a U.S. senator, he served on the Veterans Affairs Committee. So as he entered the White House, he was supposed to be an expert in this area. And back in 2008, he pledged to “make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible“. But of course that never happened. And now Obama is claiming that he only learned of the “secret waiting lists” at VA hospitals by “watching television“, and his staff says that he is “madder than hell” about it. So now that he has been publicly shamed, will Obama actually do something about it? Because our military veterans deserve far better care than what they have been getting.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but members of al-Qaeda detained at Guantanamo Bay actually receive far better medical treatment than our military veterans do. Just consider what former Pentagon spokesperson J.D. Gordon had to say about the matter…
Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call. Got a cold, a fever, a toothache, a tumor, chest or back pain, mental health issues, PTSD? No problem, come right on in. Military doctors are waiting to see you.
The VA and Gitmo eligible patient-to-health care provider ratios speak volumes.
While the Gitmo ratio is 1.5 to 1, for America’s 9 million veterans receiving VA health care and 267,930 VA employees, the ratio is 35 to 1.
Because there are not nearly enough doctors for our veterans, many of them end up waiting for months just to get an appointment with one. It was CNN that blew the lid off this story when they reported that at least 40 military vets had died while waiting for appointments in the Phoenix area…
At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.
The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.
For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care. But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.
CNN was reporting on this for months, but Obama only learned about this just recently?
Considering that he is the chief executive of the entire system, how in the world is that possible?
And of course this has not just been happening in Phoenix. The following is an excerpt from a news story about a vet that died in Houston while waiting for the VA system to take care of him…
George Barraza love two things in this life: playing the electric guitar with all his heart and this country.
During the Vietnam War, Barraza proudly served in the U.S. Army.
But on April 16, Barraza, a father of three girls, a chef and an American veteran, died waiting for an appointment at the VA Medical Center in Houston.
At the time of his death, Barraza was battling heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. But his problems became much worse in September when he went to the Michael Debakey VA Medical Center in terrible pain and unable to move his hands at all.
“They said, ‘Oh, that looks like it hurts, let me give you some pain medication and send you on home,'” said Barraza’s daughter, Georgia Barraza who complains the VA staff did not treat her father’s problem that day by admitting him and caring for him, but instead gave him pain medication and an appointment to come back.
You can read the rest of this incredibly sad story right here.
And here is an example from Seattle…
Donald Douglass had a small spot on his forehead when he went to the Seattle Veterans Affairs hospital in 2011.
A biopsy confirmed it was cancerous. But it was four months before the hospital scheduled an appointment for him to have it removed — and by then, it had spread, wrapping around a facial nerve and eventually getting into his blood.
The delay proved fatal, his lawyer said — and it mirrors concerns being raised about the VA system nationally.
In fact, veteran deaths like this have been documented all over the nation. After sacrificing so much, our vets are being horribly neglected.
It is a national disgrace.
And of course the problems go far beyond waiting times. For example, down in Miami illegal drug dealing is rampant at VA facilities…
When asked why he would risk his job and speak publicly, Detective Thomas Fiore considered the question carefully before answering.
“People are dying,” he finally said, “and there are so many things that are going on there that people need to know about.”
Fiore, a criminal investigator for the VA police department in South Florida, contacted CBS4 News hoping to shed light on what he considers a culture of cover-ups and bureaucratic neglect. Among his charges: Drug dealing on the hospital grounds is a daily occurrence.
“Anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin, I’ve come across them all,” he explained.
And what one whistleblower at a VA hospital in North Carolina says is going on is beyond repulsive…
The whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, works at a large 250 acre VA hospital in North Carolina. He presented his credentials to us which checked out. The VA employee lifted the lid on a number of shocking details during an interview with Sgt. Joe Biggs.
“Recently there’s been a very rapid race to move records, boxes, change labels, whatever it may be, they’re putting them in rooms that nobody would look in….and there’s multiple times that I have seen in the past week or so them moving boxes….so apparently they’re hiding their tracks somewhere,” stated the VA employee, adding that the activity preceded an inspection of the facility, suggesting it was part of an effort to conceal evidence in the aftermath of the secret waiting list scandal.
Even more chilling was a warning sent out to VA employees at the facility which, according to the whistleblower, was meant to get across the message, “Do you see what happens to the people that try to get things straight around here, they’re not here anymore,” a tone the whistleblower described as “pretty telling.”
The employee also revealed the shocking attitude of one supervisor at the hospital towards older veterans, who asserted that older vets “should be taken outside and shot in the head because they’re worthless.” The individual still works at the hospital and was not disciplined for his comments.
What is happening to this nation?
How can we treat our military veterans like this?
The respect for veterans has gotten so low in this country that sometimes it takes more than a year to bury their dead bodies…
The bodies of 28 veterans at the L.A. County Morgue were finally moved Friday for burial to the Riverside National Cemetery.
CBS2/KCAL9 pressed the L.A. County Coroner’s Office Thursday to find out why the bodies had not yet received a proper burial after a source indicated there may have been as many as 60 veterans at the morgue for the past year and a half.
The morgue says the bodies were unclaimed and they don’t know how long the veterans were there.
The law states veterans are supposed to receive a proper burial.
Barack Obama is acting like all of this is a huge surprise to him.
Even though he worked on these issues as a U.S. Senator, and even though he has been the top executive in charge of the system for five years, he claims complete ignorance about what has been going on.
I find this very hard to believe.
The truth is that the news media has been reporting about these kinds of abuses for ages.
And personally, I have been writing about these things for years. Here are some examples…
2013: “There Already Is A Government Health Care System In America And It Is The Medical Version Of Hell”
2013: “25 Signs That Military Veterans Are Being Treated Like Absolute Trash Under The Obama Administration”
2012: “Why Does The U.S. Government Treat Military Veterans Like Human Garbage?”
2010: “Memorial Day Shocker: How The U.S. Government Really Handles Veterans Benefits – Deny, Deny, Deny Until They Die”
So how is it possible that so many people could have been talking about these things for so many years and yet Obama knew nothing?
The truth is that Obama does not want to take any responsibility for this scandal or any other scandal.
He wants to continue to be a teflon politician that nothing ever sticks to.
But now he has absolutely no excuse for not taking action.
Military veterans are dying right now, and they need medical attention.
Hopefully Obama will step up to the plate and do the right thing.
But I wouldn’t count on it.
Did you know that the Obama administration is negotiating a super secret “trade agreement” that is so sensitive that he isn’t even allowing members of Congress to see it? The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific” and “NAFTA on steroids”, but the truth is that it is so much more than just a trade agreement. This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade. Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. It will also merge the United States far more deeply into the emerging one world economic system. Initially, twelve nations will be a party to this treaty including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Together, those nations represent approximately 40 percent of global GDP. It is hoped that additional nations such as the Philippines, Thailand and Colombia will join the treaty later on.
There are some very good reasons why Obama does not want the American people to know anything about what is in this treaty. This agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on the American people, it will ban all “Buy American” laws, it will give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it will force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
It contains a whole host of things that Obama would be unable to get through Congress on his own. But he is hoping to spring this on Congress at the last minute and get them to agree to this “free trade agreement” before they realize all of the things that are contained in it.
The secrecy surrounding these treaty negotiations have really been unprecedented. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Kurt Nimmo…
“Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy,” Wikileaks notes in a statement on the release of the TPP draft. “Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.”
And Obama reportedly is seeking “trade promotion authority” which would give him the ability to sign this treaty before Congress even votes on it…
Normally free -trade agreements must be authorized by a majority of the House and Senate, usually in lengthy proceedings.
However, the White House is seeking what is known as “trade promotion authority” which would fast track approval of the TPP by requiring Congress to vote on the likely lengthy trade agreement within 90 days and without any amendments.
The authority also allows Obama to sign the agreement before Congress even has a chance to vote on it, with lawmakers getting only a quick post-facto vote.
This is so insidious that it is hard to find the words to describe it.
In essence, Obama is trying to make a giant end run around Congress on dozens of different issues that are addressed by this treaty.
Fortunately, there are at least some members of Congress that are waking up to this. Earlier this week, a small group of Republicans and a small group of Democrats both sent Obama a letter condemning this “free trade” agreement…
Separate groups of House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday condemned the Obama administration’s proposed sweeping free trade agreement with 11 Pacific nations, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Strongly worded letters to President Barack Obama Tuesday were signed by hardline tea partiers, true-blue progressives, and moderate, corporate-friendly lawmakers in both parties, indicating political trouble for a trade deal the administration had hoped to seal by year end.
This is one of the most important political issues facing our nation here at the end of 2013, and yet you hear next to nothing about this treaty on the mainstream news. If this treaty is approved, the United States will be permanently bound by the provisions of this treaty and will never be able to change them unless all of the other countries agree…
Countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules—in effect, a corporate coup d’état. The proposed pact would limit even how governments can spend their tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences that invest in the US economy would be banned, and “sweat-free,” human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts could be challenged. If the TPP comes to fruition, its retrograde rules could be altered only if all countries agreed, regardless of domestic election outcomes or changes in public opinion. And unlike much domestic legislation, the TPP would have no expiration date.
Are you starting to understand just how dangerous this treaty is?
Let me give you just one example of how this treaty could directly affect you.
Do you remember SOPA?
There was a huge public backlash when the very strict Internet copyright provisions of SOPA were revealed to the public, and the American people loudly expressed their displeasure to members of Congress.
But now the provisions of SOPA are back. Most of them have reportedly been very quietly inserted into this treaty. If this treaty is enacted, those provisions will become law and the American people will not be able to do a thing about it.
And according to an article in the New York Times, there are all sorts of other disturbing things that have been slipped into this treaty…
And yet another leak revealed that the deal would include even more expansive incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore than were included in Nafta — a deal that drained millions of manufacturing jobs from the American economy.
The agreement would also be a boon for Wall Street and its campaign to water down regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. Among other things, it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that helped cause the crisis in the first place.
Are you starting to grasp why the Obama administration is so determined to keep this treaty such a secret?
In addition, this “free trade” agreement will push the ongoing deindustrialization of America into overdrive. Every year, we buy hundreds of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us. Tens of thousands of American businesses have been lost as a result, and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.
If you are not familiar with our “trade deficit”, you really should be. It is one of the issues at the very heart of our economic problems. Posted below is a short 3 minute video that briefly discusses the trade deficit and why it is so important…
Slowly merging our economy with the rest of the planet has been absolutely disastrous for America. Just consider the following statistics…
-Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.
-The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
-Back in the year 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing. Now there are less than 12 million.
-There are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.
-Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
-When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
-Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year. In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
-According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
-According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
Once upon a time, our great manufacturing cities were the envy of the entire planet. In fact, at one time Detroit actually had the highest per capita income in the United States.
But now Detroit is a rotting, decaying, festering hellhole that is completely bankrupt. And there are dozens of other formerly great manufacturing cities that are heading down the exact same path.
These “free trade” agreements are neither “free” nor “fair” when you really examine them, and they are absolutely eviscerating the middle class.
Please urge your representatives in Congress to block the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If this treaty does get approved, it is going to make a lot of our problems a whole lot worse.
It is hard to find the words to adequately describe how much of a disaster Obamacare is turning out to be. The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost. It is almost as if Obamacare was specifically designed to wreck the U.S. economy. Not that what we had before Obamacare was great. In fact, I have long argued that the U.S. health care system is a complete and total train wreck. But now Obamacare is making everything that was bad about our system much, much worse. Americans are going to pay far more for health care, the quality of that care is going to go down, they are going to have to deal with far more medical red tape, and thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering getting rid of the health plans that they offer to employees altogether due to Obamacare. If the U.S. health care system was a separate nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet, and now Obamacare is going to absolutely cripple it. To say that Obamacare is an “economic catastrophe” would be a massive understatement.
Of course we were assured that it wouldn’t turn out this way. We were promised over and over that we were going to pay less for health care, get better coverage, and be able to keep our current health plans if we were pleased with them. The following is what Obama said at a rally in 2009…
“First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”
That was such a dramatic lie that even NBC News is turning on him. They discovered that Obama has known for three years that most people that rely on individual health insurance policies would not be able to keep them…
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
Pretty much everything that Obama told us when he was selling us on his plan has turned out to be a lie.
So what can we expect from Obamacare moving forward? The following are 10 signs that Obamacare is going to wreck the U.S. economy…
#1 It is being projected that millions upon millions of Americans are going to lose their current health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare. Most will be faced with the choice of either purchasing much more expensive health insurance or going uninsured. This will put even more stress on a middle class that is already disintegrating rapidly. The following is from the recent NBC News investigation mentioned above…
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
#2 The health insurance premium increases that some families are experiencing are absolutely mind boggling. According to Mike Adams of Natural News, one family in Texas just got hit with a 539% rate increase…
Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.
As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.
According to NBC News, an elderly couple in North Carolina was hit with a similar rate increase…
George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was “perfectly happy” with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The “comparable” plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.
Many Americans that were formerly in favor of Obamacare are now against it after they have seen what it is going to do to their budgets. The following is one example of this from a recent Los Angeles Times article…
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.
“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.
#3 Obamacare actually includes incentives for people to work less and make less money. The following is one example from a recent article by Sean Davis…
In California, a couple earning $64,000 a year would not qualify for health care subsidies. A bronze plan for them through Kaiser would cost them about $1,300 each month, or $15,600 a year. But if that same family earned just $2,000 less, it would qualify for over $14,000 in annual health care subsidies, dropping their premiums for that same Kaiser plan to less than $100 per month.
#4 Thankfully the employer mandate in Obamacare was delayed for a little while, but it will ultimately result in widespread job losses all over the country. In fact, we are already starting to see this happen. The following is from a recent article in the Economist…
BEFORE the recession, Richard Clark’s cleaning company in Florida had 200 employees, about half of them working full time. These days it has about 150, with 80% part-time. The downturn explains some of this. But Mr Clark also blames Barack Obama’s health reform. When it comes into effect in January 2015, Obamacare will require firms with 50 or more full-time employees to offer them affordable health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000-3,000 per worker. That is a daunting prospect for firms that do not already offer coverage. But for many, there is a way round the law.
Mr Clark says he is “very careful with the threshold”. To keep his full-time workforce below the magic number of 50, he is relying more on part-timers. He is not alone. More than one in ten firms surveyed by Mercer, a consultancy—and one in five retail and hospitality companies—say they will cut workers’ hours because of Obamacare. A hundred part-timers can flip as many burgers as 50 full-timers, and the former will soon be much cheaper.
You can find a very long list of some of the employers that have either eliminated jobs or cut hours because of Obamacare right here.
#5 Even if you are able to keep your job, there is no guarantee that your employer will continue to offer health insurance as an employee benefit. In fact, it is being reported that large numbers of employers have already decided to no longer offer health insurance to their employees because of Obamacare.
#6 According to CBS News, so far the number of people that have had their health insurance policies canceled is more than three times greater than the number of people that have signed up for new policies under Obamacare…
CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies — more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
#7 If what is going on in New York is any indication, those that are signing up for health insurance under Obamacare are going to have a really, really hard time finding a doctor…
New York doctors are treating ObamaCare like the plague, a new survey reveals.
A poll conducted by the New York State Medical Society finds that 44 percent of MDs said they are not participating in the nation’s new health-care plan.
Another 33 percent say they’re still not sure whether to become ObamaCare providers.
Only 23 percent of the 409 physicians queried said they’re taking patients who signed up through health exchanges.
#8 Obamacare is turning out to be a gold mine for hackers and identity thieves. The personal information of millions of Americans could potentially end up being compromised. According to CNN, Healthcare.gov was found to be teeming with security holes…
The Obamacare website has more than annoying bugs. A cybersecurity expert found a way to hack into users’ accounts.
Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.
And according to the New York Post, Healthcare.gov has been designed so badly from a security standpoint that it might have to be “rebuilt from scratch”…
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said ObamaCare’s website, already a tangled mess, might need to be rebuilt from scratch to to protect against cyber-thieves because he fears it’s not a safe place right now for health-care consumers to deposit their personal information.
“I know that they’ve called in another private entity to try to help with the security of it. The problem is, they may have to redesign the entire system,” Rep. Mike Rogers said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” political talk show. “The way the system is designed, it is not secure.”
#9 As I noted in a previous article, approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills. Because millions of Americans are now losing their health insurance policies and millions of others will choose to pay the fine rather than sign up for Obamacare, more Americans than ever will find themselves overwhelmed with medical bills when they get seriously sick. This will result in even more personal bankruptcies.
#10 In the end, the burden for paying for the subsidies that Obamacare offers is going to overwhelmingly fall on the taxpayers. This is going to cause our nightmarish national debt to get even worse. Peter Schiff recently explained why this is going to happen…
It is also ironic that high-deductible, catastrophic plans are precisely what young people should be buying in the first place. They are inexpensive because they provide coverage for unlikely, but expensive, events. Routine care is best paid for out-of-pocket by value conscious consumers. But Obamacare outlaws these plans, in favor of what amounts to prepaid medical treatment that shifts the cost of services to taxpayers. In such a system, patients have no incentive to contain costs. Since the biggest factor driving health care costs higher in the first place has been the over use of insurance that results from government-provided tax incentives, and the lack of cost accountability that results from a third-party payer system, Obamacare will bend the cost curve even higher. The fact that Obamacare does nothing to rein in costs while providing an open-ended insurance subsidy may be good news for hospitals and insurance companies, but it’s bad news for taxpayers, on whom this increased burden will ultimately fall.
So what do you think of Obamacare?
Has it directly affected your life yet?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, and when it comes to health care he has definitely kept his promise. Thanks to Obamacare, health care spending is up, health insurance premiums are up, the number of hours Americans are working is down and employer-based health insurance is becoming an endangered species. Of course employer-based health insurance will not disappear completely any time soon, but it has been steadily shrinking for over a decade, and Obamacare will greatly accelerate that decline. If you go back to 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. That was pretty good. Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance, and now thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering reducing the scope of the health plans they offer to employees or eliminating them altogether due to Obamacare. If you are thinking that this sounds like a potential nightmare for millions of Americans families, you would be exactly right.
There have already been widespread reports of companies dropping health insurance, but nobody knows for sure how widespread the carnage will be. According to Businessweek, the surveys that have been done up to this point have come up with widely varying results…
A Deloitte study last year suggested 10 percent of employers would stop offering group health plans. A widely criticized McKinsey report from 2011 put the number as high as one-third. The Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections suggest 8 million fewer people will be covered by employer plans five years from now under the ACA than without it. Many of them will get policies through health insurance exchanges instead.
But what everyone does agree on is that employer-based health coverage will continue to diminish.
And we are already watching this happen right in front of our eyes. Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the largest security guard firm in the United States is dropping health coverage for 55,000 employees…
The nation’s largest provider of security guards plans to discontinue its lowest-cost health plans and steer roughly 55,000 workers to new government-sponsored insurance exchanges for coverage next year, in the latest sign of the fraying ties between employment and health care.
The U.S. arm of Sweden’s Securitas AB is among more than 1,200 employers that offer the kind of bare-bones health plans that must be phased out beginning Jan. 1 under the health-care law. Nearly four million people are enrolled in these so-called mini-med plans, which cap benefits to participants, sometimes at as little as $3,000 a year.
“The mini-meds go away and we’re not replacing them,” said Jim McNulty, a spokesman for Securitas’s U.S. operation. “Their option is to go to the exchanges.”
Other big employers, including Darden Restaurants Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Trader Joe’s Co., say they will stop offering health insurance to part-time workers, and will direct those employees to the state exchanges. Darden, Home Depot and Trader Joe’s previously offered mini-meds to their part timers.
Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I wrote about how they are eliminating health coverage for part-time workers the other day. Instead of providing health insurance for their part-time workers, Trader Joe’s will be writing them a check and pushing them on to the Obamacare exchanges…
Trader Joe’s, the grocer once lauded for providing health care coverage to its part-time workers, is about to push those employees off its plan.
According to a memo obtained by the Huffington Post, the company will stop covering employees who work less than 30 hours per week.
The change is set for the start of 2014. Instead of insurance, workers instead will get a check for $500 in January.
“Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe’s, we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act (ACA)], many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you,” said Trader Joe CEO Dan Bane in the memo.
And this is a huge reason why the shift from full-time work to part-time work in America has accelerated this year. Obamacare creates an incentive for companies to have more part-time workers and less full-time workers. In fact, almost all of the jobs that have been “created” by the U.S. economy in 2013 have been part-time jobs.
But it is incredibly difficult to try to support a family on a part-time job. Sadly, the quality of our jobs continues to decline rapidly and only 47 percent of all adults have a full-time job in America today. This is only going to continue to get even worse under Obamacare.
As a result of these trends, more Americans are going to be forced to go out and buy health insurance “on the individual market”. When they do, they are likely to be in for a really nasty surprise…
Andy and Amy Mangione of Louisville, Ky. and their two boys are just the kind of people who should be helped by ObamaCare. But they recently got a nasty surprise in the mail.
“When I saw the letter when I came home from work,” Andy said, describing the large red wording on the envelope from his insurance carrier, “(it said) ‘your action required, benefit changes, act now.’ Of course I opened it immediately.”
It had stunning news. Insurance for the Mangiones and their two boys,which they bought on the individual market, was going to almost triple in 2014 — from $333 a month to $965.
The insurance carrier made it clear the increase was in order to be compliant with the new health care law.
Are you ready to have your health insurance premiums potentially double or triple?
In other cases, families are discovering that health insurance companies are simply cancelling their health insurance plans…
Across the country, insurers are sending out ObamaCare-induced health plan death notices to untold tens of thousands of other customers in the individual market. Twitter users are posting their ObamaCare cancellation notices and accompanying rate increases:
Linda Deright posted her letter from Regency of Washington state: “63 percent jump, old policy of 15 yrs. cancelled.” Karen J. Dugan wrote: “Received same notice from Blue Shield CA for our small business. Driving into exchange and no info since online site is down.” Chris Birk wrote: “Got notice from BCBS that my current health plan is not ACA compliant. New plan 2x as costly for worse coverage.” Small-business owner Villi Wilson posted his letter from HMSA Blue Cross Blue Shield canceling his individual plan and added: “I thought Obama said if I like my health care plan I can keep my health care plan.”
In fact, this even happened to one member of Congress. U.S. Representative Cory Gardner had purchased health insurance on his own because he wanted to experience what his constituents were going through, and he recently got a letter informing him that his old plan had been “discontinued”…
“After my current plan is discontinued,” he wrote last week, “the closest comparable plan through our current provider will cost over 100 percent more, going from roughly $650 a month to $1,480 per month.” He now carries his ObamaCare cancellation notice with him as hardcore proof of the Democrats’ ultimate deception.
Is this what Obama was talking about when he promised that we could keep our old health insurance plans if we were happy with them?
In the end, millions upon millions of us are going to get pushed on to the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.
We were promised that there would be lots of competition and that prices would be reasonable.
Unfortunately, in some areas of the country it turns out that the “exchanges” are turning out to be “monopolies” where consumers will only have one company to choose from…
“Although seven insurance companies currently operate in North Carolina, under the new Obamacare exchanges, those options will dwindle down to one in the majority of counties,” Ellmers said Thursday following the disclosure of figures by federal health officials showing that more than 60 percent of North Carolina counties will have only one insurance provider option under Obamacare: Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“The whole point of an online marketplace was to provide options, so North Carolinians could go online, compare prices, and choose plans from different companies. That is how competition is supposed to work!,” Ellmers said.
Beginning October 1 under Obamacare, Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the only health insurance provider serving the entire state of North Carolina in the new Obamacare exchanges, serving all 100 of the state’s counties. Its competitor Coventry Health Care, which is owned by Aetna, will only reach 39 counties.
That leaves 61 counties, or 61 percent of all the state’s counties, in a Blue Cross Blue Shield-only zone.
Not only that, but a lot of these exchanges are not even going to be ready to function properly on October 1st. For example, according to the Washington Post, the D.C. “health marketplace” is a complete and total mess at this point…
Just days away from launch, the District of Columbia’s health marketplace is announcing a pretty significant delay.
While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to the their premium prices until mid-November. The delay comes after the District marketplace discovered “a high error rate” in calculating the tax credits that low- and middle-income people will use to purchase insurance on the marketplace.
The insurance marketplaces, if working as plan, are supposed to spit out an estimate for a tax credit after a shopper enters in some basic information about where she lives and how much she earns. In the District, that won’t happen next month. Instead, the eligibility determination will be made “off-line by experts” by early November.
So who is going to benefit from this new system?
Well, it turns out that the health insurance companies will greatly benefit. Health insurance companies helped write Obamacare, and their stock prices have absolutely soared since Obamacare was signed into law. If you doubt this, just check out the amazing charts in this article.
Not that they were hurting under the old system either. They have been raking in gigantic mountains of cash for years while trying to provide as little health care as possible. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam“.
For the rest of us, Obamacare is going to be even worse than the old system. A 2013 Health Care Survey that polled 200 top health care professionals discovered the following about what they believe Obamacare will bring…
— 53 percent, “Quality of health insurance policies will suffer.”
— 51 percent, “Quality of care will go down.”
— 49 percent, “The law is overly complicated.”
— 42 percent, “Insurance exchanges will be poorly managed.”
— 37 percent, “The law still allows insurance companies to be the middleman.”
— 32 percent, “Too complex for businesses.”
— 19 percent, “Americans will die earlier.”
So Americans are going to pay more, get worse care, have more paperwork and a more complicated system, and they are likely to die younger too?
Wow, that sounds like a great deal.
Where do we sign up?
The U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die. In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations. The pharmaceutical corporations spend billions of dollars to convince all of us to become dependent on their legal drugs, the health insurance companies make billions of dollars by providing as little health care as possible, and they both spend millions of dollars to make sure that our politicians in Washington D.C. keep the gravy train rolling. Meanwhile, large numbers of doctors are going broke and patients are not getting the care that they need. At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster. Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse. In America today, a single trip to the emergency room can easily cost you $100,000, and if you happen to get cancer you could end up with medical bills in excess of a million dollars. Even if you do have health insurance, there are usually limits on your coverage, and the truth is that just a single major illness is often enough to push most American families into bankruptcy. At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash. Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.
The following are 50 signs that the U.S. health care system is a massive money making scam that is about to collapse…
#1 Medical bills have become so ridiculously large that virtually nobody can afford them. Just check out the following short excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article. One man in California that had been diagnosed with cancer ran up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…
By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.
#2 This year the American people will spend approximately 2.8 trillion dollars on health care, and it is being projected that Americans will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.
#3 The United States spends more on health care than Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.
#4 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.
#5 Back in 1960, an average of $147 was spent per person on health care in the United States. By 2009, that number had skyrocketed to $8,086.
#6 Why does it cost so much to stay in a hospital today? It just does not make sense. Just check out these numbers…
In 1942, Christ Hospital, NJ charged $7 per day for a maternity room. Today it’s $1,360.
#7 Approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills.
#8 One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
#9 The U.S. health care industry has spent more than 5 billion dollars on lobbying our politicians in Washington D.C. since 1998.
#10 According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of at least 13,000 doctors. Unfortunately, that shortage is expected to grow to 130,000 doctors over the next 10 years.
#11 The state of Florida is already dealing with a very serious shortage of doctors…
Brace yourself for longer lines at the doctor’s office.
Whether you’re employed and insured, elderly and on Medicare, or poor and covered by Medicaid, the Florida Medical Association says there’s a growing shortage of doctors — especially specialists — available to provide you with medical care.
And if the Florida Legislature goes along with Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation to offer Medicaid coverage to an additional 1 million Floridians — part of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect next January — the FMA says that shortage will only get worse.
#12 At this point, approximately 40 percent of all doctors in the United States are 55 years of age or older.
#13 In America today, many hospital executives make absolutely ridiculous amounts of money…
In December, when the New York Times ran a story about how a deficit deal might threaten hospital payments, Steven Safyer, chief executive of Montefiore Medical Center, a large nonprofit hospital system in the Bronx, complained, “There is no such thing as a cut to a provider that isn’t a cut to a beneficiary … This is not crying wolf.”
Actually, Safyer seems to be crying wolf to the tune of about $196.8 million, according to the hospital’s latest publicly available tax return. That was his hospital’s operating profit, according to its 2010 return. With $2.586 billion in revenue — of which 99.4% came from patient bills and 0.6% from fundraising events and other charitable contributions — Safyer’s business is more than six times as large as that of the Bronx’s most famous enterprise, the New York Yankees. Surely, without cutting services to beneficiaries, Safyer could cut what have to be some of the Bronx’s better non-Yankee salaries: his own, which was $4,065,000, or those of his chief financial officer ($3,243,000), his executive vice president ($2,220,000) or the head of his dental department ($1,798,000).
#14 Health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs in the United States each year. In Finland, health insurance administration expenses account for just 2 percent of all health care costs each year.
#15 If you can believe it, the U.S. ambulance industry makes more money each year than the movie industry does.
#16 All over America, people are reporting huge health insurance premium increases thanks to Obamacare. The following example is from a recent article by Robert Wenzel…
A California small businessman tells me that he switched healthcare insurance carriers in 2012. The monthly premium for him and his wife was about $400, but when he received his first bill in January of this year it was for $1,200. He hasn’t been to a doctor in years, his wife has only gone for minor care.
Apparently there is some clause in the Affordable Healthcare Act that results in health insurance firms using a new method to calculate premiums. Those who have health insurance plans that have been in effect since at least 2010 are grandfathered under the old calculation method, but insurance carriers are using a new formula for new plans.
#17 Blue Shield of California has announced that it wants to raise health insurance premiums by up to 20 percent this year in an effort to keep up with rising health costs.
#18 Aetna’s CEO says that health insurance premiums for many Americans will double when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.
#19 Close to 10 percent of all U.S. employers plan to drop health coverage completely when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.
#20 According to a survey conducted by the Doctor Patient Medical Association, 83 percent of all doctors in the United States have considered leaving the profession because of Obamacare.
#21 Approximately 16,000 new IRS agents will be hired to help oversee the implementation of Obamacare, and the Obama administration has given the IRS 500 million extra dollars “outside the normal appropriations process” to help the IRS with their new duties.
#22 During 2013, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs.
#23 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.
#24 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.
#25 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to the CDC. Not only that, the CDC also says that approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis.
#26 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.
#27 In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs. Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.
#28 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.
#29 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits during 2008.
#30 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.
#31 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.
#32 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to bring in nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.
#33 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation. The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the entire year.
#34 It turns out that the financial assistance that Barack Obama promised would be provided for those with “pre-existing conditions” under Obamacare is already being shut down because of a lack of funding…
Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low.
Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based “high-risk pools” set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state.
#35 In America today, you are 64 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than you are by a gun.
#36 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.
#37 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.
#38 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.
#39 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.
#40 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.
#41 According to a 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.
#42 It has been estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.
#43 One trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.
#44 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.
#45 According to a study conducted by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.
#46 Today, there are more than 56 million Americans on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#47 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#48 Today, there are more than 50 million Americans on Medicare, and that number is projected to grow to 73.2 million in 2025.
#49 When Medicare was first established by Congress, it was estimated that it would cost the federal government $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around. Instead, it cost the federal government $110 billion in 1990, and it will cost the federal government close to $600 billion this year.
#50 Even if you do have health insurance, that is no guarantee that medical bills will not bankrupt you. Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article says happened to one unfortunate couple from Ohio that actually did have health insurance…
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.
Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.
Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance.
By the way, that hospital down in Houston made a profit of 531 million dollars in one recent year.
So what can be done about all of this?
Well, the truth is that the status quo is a complete and total disaster, and every “solution” being promoted by politicians from both major political parties would only make things worse.
In the end, the U.S. health care system needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but we all know that is not going to happen.
Instead, our politicians and the health care industry will just find additional ways to extract money from all of us, and the level of care that we all get will continue to decline.
If you don’t believe this, just check out what Paul Krugman of the New York Times had to say recently…
We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.
Others are urging us to become more like Europe.
But do we really want what they have in the UK?…
Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.
Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.
But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.
One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.
Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.
In the end, my philosophy is just to avoid the U.S. health care system as much as possible. Most doctors are just trained to do two things – prescribe drugs and cut you open. In an emergency situation where you are about to die, those may be your best options, but otherwise I would just as soon avoid the gigantic money making scam that the U.S. health care industry has become.
But just don’t take my word for it. The following is some very sound advice from Dr. Robert S. Dotson…
Avoid contact with the existing health care system as far as possible. Yes, emergencies arise that require the help of physicians, but by and large one can learn to care for one’s own minor issues. Though it is flawed, the internet has been an information leveler for the masses and permits each person to be his or her own physician to a large degree. Take advantage of it! Educate yourself about your own body and learn to fuel and maintain it as you would an expensive auto or a pet poodle. One does not need a medical degree to:
1. avoid excessive use of tobacco or alcohol or, for that matter, caffeine;
2. avoid poisons like fluoride, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and addictive drugs (legal or illicit);
3. avoid unnecessary and potentially lethal imaging studies (TSA’s radiation pornbooths, excessive mammography, repetitive CT scans – exposure to all significantly increases cancer risk);
4. avoid excessive cell phone use and exposure to other forms of EMR pollution where possible (the NSA is recording everything you say and text anyway);
5. avoid daily fast food use and abuse (remember: pink slime and silicone) ;
6. avoid untested GM foods (do you really want to become “Roundup Ready?”):
7. avoid most vaccinations and pharmaceutical agents promoted by the establishment;
8. avoid risky behaviors (and, we do not need a bunch of Nanny State bureaucrats to define and police these);
9. exercise moderately;
10. get plenty of sleep;
11. drink plenty of good quality water (buy a decent water filter to remove fluoride, chloride, and heavy metals);
12. wear protective gear at work and play where appropriate (helmets, eye-shields, knee and elbow pads, etc.):
13. seek out locally-grown, whole, organic foods and support your local food producers;
14. take appropriate nutritional supplements (multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3);
15. switch off the TV and the mainstream media it represents;
16. educate yourself while you can;
17. QUESTION AUTHORITY!
Doing these simple, common-sense things will add healthy years to a person’s life and help one avoid most medical encounters during his or her allotted time on earth.
So what do you think?
Do you believe that the U.S. health care system is a gigantic money making scam that is about to collapse?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
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….
All across America there are cities and towns that were once prosperous and beautiful that are being transformed into absolute hellholes. The scars left by the long-term economic decline of the United States are getting deeper and more gruesome. The tax base in many areas of the nation has been absolutely devastated as millions of jobs have left this country. Hundreds of cities are drowning in debt and are desperately trying to survive. Last year, city government revenues in the United States fell by another 2.3 percent. That was the fifth year in a row that we have seen a decline. Meanwhile, costs associated with health care, pensions and virtually everything else continue to explode. So what are cities doing to make ends meet? Well, one big trend that we are now witnessing is that many U.S. cities have been getting rid of huge numbers of employees. If you can believe it, 72 percent of all U.S. cities are laying workers off this year. Social services and essential infrastructure programs are also being savagely cut back in many areas of the country. The cold, hard truth is that most of our cities are flat broke and things are going to get even worse in the years ahead.
So how do you know if your own city has become a hellhole?
Well, a few potential “red flags” are posted below….
You know that your city has become a hellhole when most of the street lights get repossessed because of unpaid electric bills.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when it announces that it will no longer prosecute domestic violence cases in order to save money.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when it simply stops sending out pension checks to retired workers.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when it rips up asphalt roads and replaces them with gravel because gravel is cheaper to maintain.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when it eliminates the entire public bus system.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when nearly half of all the people living there can’t read.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when one out of every ten homes sells for under $10,000.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when you can literally buy a house for one dollar.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when you have hundreds of people living in the tunnels underneath your streets.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when three of your past five mayors have been sent to prison for corruption.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when nearly half of the public schools in the city get shut down because of a lack of money.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when you have dozens of young people rampaging in the streets that are thirsty for revenge and that are armed with bats, pipes and guns.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when it is considered to be one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the world.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when thieves defecate in the back seat after they have broken into your car and taken your things.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when prostitution and drug dealing are two of the only viable businesses that remain in the city.
You know that your city has become a hellhole when the police chief announces that the police department will no longer respond to calls about burglary and identity theft due to very deep budget cuts.
Many of the examples above may seem humorous at first glance, but the truth is that they reveal just how deeply tragic our economic decline really is.
This is one of the reasons why I write about our trade deficit over and over and over. Every single month, tens of billions of dollars more wealth goes out of the United States than enters it. Every single month, we are getting poorer as a nation. Every single month, we lose more jobs and businesses.
Any politician that tells you that he or she can solve our economic problems without fundamentally addressing our horrific trade imbalance is lying to you. That means that there are a whole lot of liars in both political parties.
If the number of good jobs continues to decline, the plight of the average American family is going to continue to get worse. Home sales will continue to hover around record lows. The American people will continue to become increasingly frustrated with the economy.
The signs of decline are all around us.
Quit listening to the politicians and just open up your eyes and look.
So do any of you have any additional signs that a city has become a hellhole to add to the list above? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….
All over America tonight, millions of elderly Americans are wondering if their money is going to run out before it is time for them to die. Those that are now past retirement age are not going to be rioting in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that large numbers of them are not deeply suffering. There are millions of elderly Americans that are leading lives of “quiet desperation” as they try to get by on meager fixed incomes. Many are surviving on Ramen noodles, oatmeal, peanut butter or whatever other cheap food they can find in the stores. There are some that are so short on cash that they will not turn on the heat in their homes until things get really desperate. As health care costs soar, millions of elderly Americans find themselves deep in debt and facing huge medical bills that they cannot possibly pay. A lot of older Americans would go back to work if they could, but jobs are scarce and very few companies seem to even want to consider hiring them. Right now caring for all of the Americans that have already retired is turning out to be an overwhelming challenge, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. On January 1st, 2011 the very first Baby Boomers turned 65. A massive tsunami of retirees is coming, and America is not ready for it.
Sadly, most retirees have not adequately prepared for retirement. For many, the recent economic downturn absolutely devastated their retirement plans. Many were counting on the equity in their homes, but the recent housing crash crushed those dreams. Others had their 401ks shredded by the stock market.
Meanwhile, corporate pension plans all across America are vastly underfunded. Many state and local government pension programs are absolute disasters. The federal government has already begun to pay out significantly more in Social Security benefits than they are taking in, and the years ahead are projected to be downright apocalyptic for the Social Security program.
So needless to say, things do not look good for the Baby Boomers that are now approaching retirement age.
The following are 21 signs that the new reality for many Baby Boomers will be to work as wage slaves until they drop dead….
#1 According to a shocking AARP survey of Baby Boomers that are still in the workforce, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”.
#2 A recent survey of American workers that included all age groups found that 54 percent of them planned to keep working when they retire and 39 percent of them plan to either work past age 70 or never retire at all.
#3 A poll conducted by CESI Debt Solutions found that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired.
#4 A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.
#5 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.
#6 Most of the bankruptcies among the elderly are caused by our deeply corrupt health care system. According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
#7 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run dry five years faster than they were projecting just last year.
#8 Starting on January 1st, 2011 the Baby Boomers began to hit retirement age. From now on, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.
#9 Over 30 percent of all U.S. investors currently in their sixties have more than 80 percent of their 401k retirement plans invested in equities. So what happens if the stock market crashes again?
#10 All over the United States predatory lenders are coldly and cruelly foreclosing on elderly homeowners. You can read what one lender is doing to a 70-year-old woman and her terminally ill husband right here.
#11 Medical bills are absolutely devastating large number of elderly Americans right now. Many are going to great lengths to try to pay their bills. An elderly woman that lives in the Salem, Oregon area that is fighting terminal bone cancer tried to raise some money for her medical bills by holding a few garage sales on the weekends. However, a neighbor ratted her out, and so now the police are shutting her garage sales down.
#12 Social Security’s disability program has already been pushed to the brink of insolvency and wave after wave of new applications continue to pour in.
#13 Approximately 3 out of every 4 Americans start claiming Social Security benefits the moment they are eligible at age 62. Most are doing this out of necessity. However, by claiming Social Security early they get locked in at a much lower amount than if they would have waited.
#14 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010. That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016. Sadly, in the years ahead these “Social Security deficits” are scheduled to become absolutely nightmarish as hordes of Baby Boomers retire.
#15 In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers. In 2010, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 3.3 U.S. workers. By 2025, it is projected that there will be approximately two U.S. workers for each retiree. How in the world can the system possibly continue to function properly with numbers like that?
#16 According to a shocking U.S. government report, soaring interest costs on the U.S. national debt plus rapidly escalating spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every single dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019. That is before a single dollar is spent on anything else.
#17 Most states have huge pension liabilities that are woefully underfunded. For example, pension consultant Girard Miller recently told California’s Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have $325 billion in combined unfunded pension liabilities. When you break that down, it comes to $22,000 for every single working adult in the state of California.
#18 Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the combined pension liability for all 50 U.S. states. What they found was that the 50 states are collectively facing $5.17 trillion in pension obligations, but they only have $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds. That is a difference of 3.2 trillion dollars. So where in the world is all of that extra money going to come from? Most of the states are already completely broke and on the verge of bankruptcy.
#19 According to one recent survey, 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything at all to retirement savings.
#20 According to another recent survey, 24 percent of all U.S. workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age at least once during the past year.
#21 Even though prices for necessities such as food and gas have been exploding, those receiving Social Security benefits have not received a cost of living increase for two years in a row. Many elderly Americans that are living on fixed incomes are being squeezed like they have never been squeezed before.
There are millions of Americans out there that have done everything “right” all of their lives, but that now find the system letting them down in their golden years.
So how badly are some people hurting? Well, a reader identified as “Anna44″ recently shared with us what some of her family members have been going through in this economy….
My B-I-L was a dealership owner/manager who worked long hours over 38 years and had to close his doors when Saturn was dissolved. When his dealership went under, 72 others lost their job. That’s 72 families who took a hit. He lost his home, everything. A few of his former employees lost their homes as well eventually. They were not lazy or WORTHLESS. It took him a year and a half to finally find something, but now he lives in a hotel unable to qualify for a house or apartment. This is an educated man who competed nationwide for top dog and got it more then once. His biggest fault? He’s almost 60, young enough to need the work, but too old to be hired.
As for my husband- 26 years AF officer, handling millions & billions on International & National levels has just entered his 7th month of unemployment. Two tours abroad- lazy he is NOT. He doesn’t qualify for unemployment, nor is he counted because he gets a retirement check. He wants and needs to work- yet there is little out there. If he doesn’t find something soon, we too will lose the home we sunk every cent into after 20 years of saving for it!
These are Americans that should be getting ready to enjoy their golden years, but that are now fighting just to survive.
Today you will find a disturbingly large number of elderly Americans flipping burgers or welcoming people to Wal-Mart. But most of them are not doing it because they are bored with retirement. Rather, most of them are working as wage slaves because that is what they have to do in order to survive.
Sadly, there are a whole lot of companies out there that do not want to hire people that are past a certain age. If you are older than 50, there are a lot of jobs that you should just basically forget about applying for.
Instead of valuing the experience and wisdom of our elders, our society openly makes fun of them and treats them as undesirables.
If you are afraid of getting old, you are not being irrational. Getting old is indeed something to fear in this society. We tend to treat elderly Americans like garbage.
Abuse of the elderly is rampant. For example, a report from a couple of years ago found that 94 percent of all nursing homes in the United States had committed violations of federal health and safety standards.
As the U.S. economy continues to crumble, the way we treat the elderly is probably going to get even worse.
Right now there is tons of bad news about the economy, and another major economic downturn would put even more pressure on federal, state and local government budgets.
The truth is that there is simply no way that we can keep all of the financial promises that we have made to elderly Americans even if the most optimistic projections for our economy play out.
If the worst happens, we are going to see a lot more elderly Americans eating out of trash cans and freezing to death in their own homes.
The United States is facing a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude. A comfortable, happy retirement is rapidly going to become a luxury that only the wealthy will enjoy.
For most of the rest of us, our golden years are going to mean a whole lot of pain and suffering.
That may not be pleasant to hear, but that is the truth.