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.

$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.

$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.

Obamacare’s Revenge: The IRS Will Not Process Your Tax Return Unless You Tell Them Whether You Have Health Insurance Or Not

Yes, this is a true story.  I was completely shocked when I learned about this too, and this just underscores the importance of repealing the individual mandate immediately.  Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order which was intended to move the IRS away from enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, but now the IRS has found a way around that executive order.  According to the official AARP website, the IRS has announced that it will not process any tax returns from individuals that are not willing to disclose whether they currently have health insurance or not…

The Internal Revenue Service won’t process individual tax returns in 2018 unless taxpayers indicate whether they have health insurance coverage or an exemption.

The move, announced last month, reverses course from this year, when the IRS said it would not require filers to indicate on 1040 tax forms whether they had health insurance. Filers were still required to have medical insurance or pay a penalty, but the IRS accepted and processed returns even if taxpayers didn’t indicate coverage status.

So what this means is that you will not get your refund until you tell the IRS if you have health insurance.

And if you don’t have health insurance and you don’t qualify for an exemption, you could be hit with a very painful financial penalty.

Of course purchasing health insurance in some parts of the country is enough of a penalty as it is.  For example, I recently wrote about a family of four in Virginia that is now facing the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for health insurance.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

And it also turns out that the IRS is going back and sending threatening letters to those that didn’t indicate if they were covered or not on previous tax returns.  Here is more from the AARP

IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said it followed a review of IRS procedures.

“The IRS has determined that ‎it is more burdensome for taxpayers to allow them to file an incomplete tax return and then have to manage follow-up letters and potentially amend their return,’’ Friedland said. “Identifying omissions and requiring taxpayers to provide health coverage information at the point of filing makes it easier for the taxpayer to successfully file a tax return and minimizes related refund delays.”

In September, the IRS started sending letters to about 130,000 taxpayers who didn’t address the health care requirement on 2014 and 2015 tax returns.

So if you left that section of your tax return blank in previous years, you should be expecting a letter in the mail very soon.

At this point, many of you that are reading this article are probably starting to get very angry.  After all, didn’t President Trump sign an executive order earlier this year that was going to end enforcement of the individual mandate?

Unfortunately, that was not the case at all.  In fact, Politico is reporting that the Trump administration “is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate”…

The Trump administration is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, despite early signals it might undermine the unpopular linchpin of the health care law.

Weeks after the close of tax season, the IRS continues to process penalties from potentially millions of taxpayers who refused to purchase health insurance last year.

That’s even though hours after taking office on Jan. 20, President Donald Trump issued a vaguely worded executive order instructing federal agencies to waive or defer parts of Obamacare that would “impose a fiscal burden” on states, individuals or health care providers.

Enough is enough.

Obamacare should have been repealed on the very first day of the Trump administration, but unfortunately the RINOs in Congress are going to keep blocking any effort to do that.  Elections really matter, and in 2018 we need to kick out the RINOs and put in new leaders that are fully committed to a 100% repeal of Obamacare.

We also need to do something about the IRS.  They have always been a rogue agency, but now they have gotten completely and totally out of control.  I am running for Congress in Idaho’s first congressional district, and I believe that we should completely shut down the IRS.

The status quo is simply not acceptable.  Obamacare is financially crippling families all across America, and we should be absolutely disgusted that Congress has not found a solution to this problem even though they have had almost an entire year to get something done.

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.

Obamacare Rage: One Family Of 4 In Virginia Is Faced With Paying $3,000 A Month For Health Insurance

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.  When I first came across this story on Zero Hedge, I have to admit that I got angry.  I was angry at the Democrats for destroying our healthcare system in the first place, and I was angry at Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare even though they have had almost a full year to do so.  Obamacare is financially destroying hard working families all over the nation, and Congress must take action immediately.

Originally, Ian Dixon was excited about Obamacare because he thought that it would mean that he could continue to provide health insurance for his family once he left his full-time job.  But now that he is facing a bill of more than $3,000 a month, all he is feeling is “rage”

Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.

But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month, his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200.

“Helpless is definitely a good word for it,” Dixon said. “Rage is also a good word for it.”

The Democrats are certainly to blame for getting us into this mess, but if the Republicans don’t take action soon they will end up with full ownership of this debacle.

Only the exceedingly wealthy could afford these astronomical health insurance rates, and they certainly aren’t the ones purchasing health insurance on the exchanges.

Let’s look at another example.  A 55-year-old woman living in Charlottesville named Shawn Marie Cossette is horrified that she will now be paying $1,859 a month for a silver plan…

Among them was Shawn Marie Cossette, 55, who runs her own event and floral design business in Charlottesville. Last year, she purchased an Anthem silver plan for $550 a month for herself. This year, under Optima, a silver plan would cost her $1,859 monthly.

“It’s a huge percentage of my income,” she said. “I really believed in the ACA. I really feel everyone deserves the right to health insurance, but who can afford those prices if you don’t qualify for subsidies?”

The truth is that nobody can afford these rates, and silver plan premiums are projected to rise nationally by an average of 37 percent for 2018.

And that is on top of all of the other huge yearly increases that we have seen so far.

According to CNN, the average 27-year-old is now going to be paying almost $5,000 a year for a silver plan…

The steep rate hike means a 27-year-old will pay nearly $5,000 a year, on average, for the benchmark silver plan, upon which premium subsides are based. That’s up from $2,600 when the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2014. This is before subsidies are factored in, however.

Premiums are skyrocketing for a second year in a row. Rates rose 24% this year in the states using healthcare.gov.

How much pain does Obamacare have to cause before Congress finally does something?

Obamacare should have been repealed day one of the Trump administration, but the RINOs in Congress won’t let that happen.  We need to kick those RINOs out, and we need to send a new generation of leaders to Washington that will get things done.

Repealing Obamacare is the first step, but it won’t solve all of our problems.  We pay far more for healthcare than anyone else does by a very wide margin, and we desperately need to get healthcare costs down.

We also need to get health insurance premiums back to reasonable levels.  One way to do this would be to legalize the association buying plans that Rand Paul has been proposing.  By allowing large groups of people (the NRA would be one example) to band together to buy health insurance, that would give average citizens much more negotiating power with the health insurance companies.

I also very much like models such as direct primary care that cut health insurance companies out of the equation entirely.

Our healthcare system is deeply, deeply broken, and we need to get back to a system that is centered primarily on doctors and patients.

Because what we have right now does not work, and the rest of the world is laughing at our ineptitude.

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.

37 Percent Rate Increase In 2018??? Obamacare Is Imploding And It Must Be Repealed Now!

Are you ready to pay 37 percent more for health insurance in 2018?  Obamacare is imploding faster than most of us imagined, and these rate increases are absolutely killing hard working middle class families all across the country.  I wrote about the steady erosion of the middle class yesterday, and health insurance is one of the main reasons why the cost of living is increasing at a much faster rate than our paychecks are.  It greatly frustrates me that we have given the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives and Obamacare still has not been repealed.  The truth is that should have happened on day one of the Trump presidency.

Monday’s news was dominated by headlines about the indictments of Paul Manafort and Robert Gates, but a new round of Obamacare rate increases is going to have much more of a direct impact on the lives of ordinary Americans.  According to CNN, premiums for silver Obamacare plans will increase by an average of 37 percent next year…

Premiums for the benchmark silver Obamacare plan will soar 37%, on average, for 2018, according to federal data released Monday.

And remember, this 37 percent increase is on top of all of the other yearly increases that we have seen so far.  Many families have already seen their health insurance premiums more than double since Obamacare became law, and now things are going to get even worse.

The silver plans are the most popular, and this is especially true among younger people.  According to that same CNN story, a 27-year-old will now be paying almost five thousand dollars a year for one of these silver plans…

The steep rate hike means a 27-year-old will pay nearly $5,000 a year, on average, for the benchmark silver plan, upon which premium subsides are based. That’s up from $2,600 when the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2014. This is before subsidies are factored in, however.

Premiums are skyrocketing for a second year in a row. Rates rose 24% this year in the states using healthcare.gov.

Do you know any 27-year-old that can afford to pay $5000 a year for health insurance?

I don’t.

And because deductibles are so high, most of them are quite afraid to go to the hospital anyway.

As Obamacare plan premiums go up, so do the subsidies.  At this point more than 80 percent of all those enrolled in Obamacare plans receive subsidies, and that means that much of the burden for paying these rate increases ultimately falls on the taxpayers.

And by taxpayers, I mean you and me.

Here in Idaho, the rate increases are going to be even higher than the national average.  In fact, it is being reported that silver plan rates will be going up by an average of about 50 percent in 2018…

Idaho Statesman reporter Audrey Dutton reports that the largest increases are proposed in the “silver” plans, which are the most popular ones on the exchange, falling mid-range in pricing and benefits between the lower-level “bronze” plans and the high-end “gold” plans. Silver plans are showing average increases of 50 percent in premiums; they range from a low of 40 percent at Blue Cross to 69 percent at SelectHealth.

Needless to say, Idaho families cannot afford these sorts of rate increases, and I am for a 100 percent repeal of Obamacare immediately.  In my new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I touch on some of the things that we need to do to start fixing our deeply broken healthcare system.  We once had the greatest system of healthcare on the entire planet, and I believe that we can get there again, but we desperately need to return to free market principles.  I am very much in favor of the kinds of association buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed, and I would like to see exciting new concepts such as direct primary care implemented much more extensively.

Doing nothing is not an option.  The longer that Obamacare is allowed to exist, the more financial damage it will do to middle class families.

Today, we learned that the U.S. savings rate has fallen to a 10 year low.  Most families cannot save much money because they are just scraping by from month to month.  The middle class is now a minority of the population, and as health insurance rates continue to rise the financial stress on American families is only going to intensify.

We also just learned that real disposable income per capita has been declining since May.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

But consumers don’t feel that. What they feel is their slice of the pie, but that pie got cut into more slices as the US population expanded. And this leaves disposable income “per capita,” which the BEA also discloses, but mercifully buried in the data.

This real disposable income per capita — a function of income, taxes, inflation, and population growth — peaked in May and has been declining ever since.

A 37 percent rate increase is going to be absolutely devastating to those that are on silver plans.  We were promised that Obamacare would make healthcare cheaper and more affordable, but instead the exact opposite has been true.

By the time the 2018 mid-term elections roll around, there are going to be tens of millions of Americans that are deeply angry about health insurance rates, and many believe that they will take that anger out on Democrats and on establishment Republicans that blocked the repeal of Obamacare.

But the Democrats are hoping for a different result.  They are hoping to retake either the House or the Senate in 2018, and if Republicans have not repealed Obamacare by then the Democrats will completely block any further attempts to do so.

The clock is ticking, and the Republicans need to get something done.  Up to this point they have completely fumbled the football, but there is still time to recover if they can get their act together.

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.

The Best Thing That Trump Has Done So Far

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives finally approved a bill that would repeal and replace significant portions of the law that created Obamacare.  But it was a very close vote.  On Donald Trump’s 105th day in the White House, 217 members of the House voted in favor of the bill, and 213 members of the House voted against the bill.  Of course “Trumpcare” is far from perfect, and it actually does very little to fix our rapidly failing healthcare system, but the reason why this is the best thing that Trump has done so far is because this bill would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  But first this bill must get through the Senate before it can become law, and that is looking extremely doubtful at this point.  In fact, The Hill is reporting that one Republican Senator has said that this bill has less than a 20 percent chance of succeeding in the Senate…

A senior GOP senator said the chances of getting 51 votes for legislation based on the House healthcare bill are less than 1 in 5.

The senator also put the chances that the House bill will meet Senate budgetary rules preventing a filibuster at less than 1 in 5, meaning portions of the legislation would have to be removed.

Lawmakers are keeping quiet about their concerns because they want to help Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose job they fear may be in jeopardy if the House fails again to approve an ObamaCare repeal bill.

Yes, I know that Trump and the Republicans in the House were greatly celebrating on Thursday, but there really isn’t anything to celebrate yet.

The Senate is probably going to come up with an entirely different version of this legislation, and it is likely to look far different from the bill that just passed the House.

If a bill of some sort can actually get through the Senate, and that is a huge “if”, then an attempt would be made to reconcile the differences between the two bills, and then the final version would be submitted to both the House and the Senate for an up or down vote.

The problem is that the Senate is not going to pass anything like the version that the House just came up with, and conservatives in the House are likely to balk at anything that the Senate comes up with.

So please don’t think that an Obamacare repeal is a done deal.

The truth is that it probably is not going to happen any time soon.

But for the moment, I am going to applaud President Trump and House Republicans for doing something right.  I have been very tough on them in recent weeks, and rightly so, but when they do something good I am certainly going to give them the praise that they are due.

The bill that the House just passed would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and that fact alone more than makes up for all of the other flaws in it.  The following comes from CNS News

The American Health Care Act—the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that the House of Representatives passed by a 217-to-213 vote this afternoon–will temporarily and significantly reduce, but not eliminate, federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through “mandatory” federal funding streams—primarily Medicaid—for exactly one calendar year after the president signs it.

But it does not prevent Planned Parenthood from getting “discretionary” funding through the Title X family planning program.

It is just for one year, which is far from ideal, but at least for 12 months Planned Parenthood would see their funding go down by hundreds of millions of dollars

The pro-life bill would eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood, from all mandatory spending programs. The measure also redirects funding to community health centers which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 and offer a wider array of health care services, but not abortion.

Of course this is one of the provisions in the bill that some Republicans in the Senate want to eliminate.

It is extremely unlikely that any bill that even defunds Planned Parenthood in part will ever get through the Senate, but Trump should make an all-out effort to get this accomplished anyway.

And if Republican leadership can somehow get a bill through the Senate and signed into law that at least significantly reduces federal funding for Planned Parenthood, I will officially take back all of the negative things that I have said about the Republicans so far this year.

This week President Trump also signed a landmark executive order that does a great deal to protect religious liberty

The order, signed during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the Internal Revenue Service to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” over the so-called Johnson amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The order also provides “regulatory relief” for organizations that object on religious grounds to a provision in Obamacare that mandates employers provide certain health services, including coverage for contraception.

All Americans, including Christians, should be free to express their political beliefs without fearing repercussions from the federal government.  The Johnson Amendment was probably always unconstitutional, and that is one of the reasons why it has never really been enforced.  Congress should go even farther and completely repeal it, and hopefully that will happen someday.

So once again I want to take this opportunity to applaud Trump for doing something right.  This is a good executive order, although it doesn’t quite go far enough.  A major war against people of faith is being waged by very powerful forces in this country, and I am thankful for a president that is at least trying to keep some of the heat off of our backs.

I tend to get criticized by both the pro-Trump and anti-Trump camps because I try to be objective.

When our politicians do things that are wrong, I am going to say that they are wrong.

And when our politicians do things that are right, I am going to say that they are right.

We lose credibility when we act as cheerleaders for politicians that are “on our side” no matter what they say or do.

In our society today, there is a desperate need for people that are willing to think critically and that are willing to cling objectively to the truth.

Because once we let go of the truth we are all in trouble…

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