Kicked In The Groin: Health Insurance Companies Are Dramatically Increasing Premiums Due To The New Health Care Law And There Is Not Much We Can Do About It

Wasn’t the new health care reform law supposed to make health care more affordable for everyone?  Well, imagine my surprise when I opened up a letter from my health insurance company recently and found out that my health insurance premiums were going up by nearly 50 percent.  I am in perfect health and I have never had a single health insurance claim with this company.  Unfortunately, after doing a little research, I discovered that I am far from alone.  All over the United States, people are being hit with double-digit percentage increases in their health insurance premiums even as the health insurance predators continue to rake in record profits.  At a time when millions of American families are barely making it from month to month, the last thing they need is to be figuratively kicked in the groin by the health insurance companies.  But that is exactly what is happening. 

Not that health insurance companies ever needed an excuse to raise rates, but in 2010 many of them are blaming changes in health care law for the dramatic rise in premiums. 

Of course it is true that there are over a dozen new taxes on the health care industry in the “health care reform” law that Barack Obama and the Democrats rammed down the throats of the American people, and everyone should have realized that those taxes would ultimately be passed on to the consumer.

But what is also true is that the health insurance companies basically wrote large sections of the health care reform law and health insurance company stocks rose when this new law was passed.

So why is this new law so good for health insurance companies?

Well, the new health care law requires all of us to purchase health insurance from them.

We are no longer going to have the choice of opting out of their system.

We are going to be forced to buy health insurance.

And since they are all raising rates, there is no escape from the pillaging.

As the new health care bill was being debated, Obama promised that the average American family would save $2,500 in yearly premiums under the new law.

If any of you still believe that claim I have got a bridge to sell you.

The Congressional Budget office says that yearly health insurance premiums are actually going to increase by about $2,300 each year as a result of the new law, but that estimate is probably far, far too low.

The truth is that rates are already shooting through the roof.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article on Fox News….

Here is the terse reason CareFirst/Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Washington gave its subscribers for raising a monthly premium from $333 to $512 on a middle aged man who is healthy, is not a smoker and is not obese: “Your new rate reflects the overall rise in health care costs and we regret having to pass these additional costs on to you.”

Could you afford to pay $512 a month for health insurance just for yourself?

Unfortunately, the truth is that this is nothing new.  Many health insurance companies have been increasing health insurance premiums by double-digit percentages year after year after year even as they continue to reel in record profits.

In particular, health insurance companies seem to love to stick it to small businesses and the self-employed.

According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.

The greed of the health insurance companies seems to know no bounds.  For example, the 39% hike that Anthem Blue Cross sent some California customers last year made headlines across the nation.  But executives defended the dramatic premium hikes as perfectly justifiable.

The reality is that health insurance is becoming so insanely expensive that millions of Americans can’t even afford it anymore.

But thanks to the new health care law they are being forced to keep shelling out their hard-earned money for it.

It is getting really hard for anyone to deny that the health care system in the United States is deeply, deeply broken.  The new health care law is not going to reduce costs.  It is only going to help the health insurance companies continue to rake in obscene profits.

But wasn’t the new health care law supposed to prevent the health insurance companies from abusing all of us?

Well, as it turns out, the new health care law does not give the federal government much regulatory power at all to prevent premium increases.

But what about the states?

Can’t they do something?

Well, yes they can, but unfortunately most state legislatures have been bought off by the health insurance industry.

Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.

That is a lot of money, and they wouldn’t be spending that kind of money if they did not expect a return for it.

“The pressure that the industry can bring to bear in state legislatures is unbelievable,” J. Robert Hunter, a former insurance commissioner in the state of Texas recently told the Los Angeles Times. “They pretty much get what they want.”

The cold, hard reality is that health insurance companies are not in business to help people and provide affordable health care.  They are in business to make money and they are very good at it.

But there are a few states that have stood up to the health insurance companies.  States that have “prior approval” laws have been able to successfully fend off some of the over-the-top rate increases that health insurance companies have been trying to ram down the throats of consumers.  For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported on what has been happening in the state of Oregon….

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon was forced to cut back a proposed 26.4% increase in one of its individual plans to 17.3%. Other carriers were ordered to scrap altogether hikes as high as 20%.

Unfortunately, a number of these states that have these “prior approval” laws are now being sued by insurance companies.

That is how these folks work – they will either try to buy off politicians or they will keep filing lawsuits until they get what they want.

Meanwhile, the top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States received nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2009.

Are you upset yet?

You should be.

And you know what?

When it finally comes time to actually use your health insurance, these predators will do anything they can to get out of paying up.

In fact, it has been documented that some of the largest health insurance companies actually pay their employees large bonuses for denying claims.  The employees who deny the most claims are the ones that get the largest bonuses.

The health care system in the United States is messed up beyond all recognition, and the new health care law has made things worse than ever.  Americans pay more than anyone else in the world for health care, and all that we get in return is a system that is deeply, deeply broken.

If you have a health insurance horror story of your own, please feel free to share it in the comments section below….

11 Signs That The U.S. Government Has Become An Overgrown Monstrosity That Almost Every American Is Dependent Upon For Economic Survival

Today, the number of Americans who are able to financially survive without any reliance on the U.S. government whatsoever is declining at a staggering rate.  Whether it is through direct handouts, entitlement programs, student loans, government bailouts, government contracts or direct employment, the truth is that now a solid majority of the American people are at least partially dependent on the federal government for their economic survival.  The sad thing is that the majority of the American people say that there is too much government in their lives when opinion polls are taken, but if you try to take the government check that they are getting away from them those same people will scream bloody murder.  But the truth is that it is getting to be really, really hard to be completely independent of the U.S. government economically.  That is because the U.S. government has their hands in almost everything.  The ideal of a “limited federal government” has long since faded away.  Very few people seem to believe in it anymore.  Instead, Americans today look to the federal government as the answer to all of our problems, as the provider of all of our needs, and as the regulator of every single detail of our lives. 

The U.S. government has become the “Big Mother” that we all scramble to for a handout when we get into trouble.

When you sit down and really analyze it, you quickly realize that there is no way that the U.S. government can be extricated from the U.S. economy now.  Instead of the free enterprise system that we once had in this country, today we have a situation where the U.S. government has become the very core of the economy.  It is the hub around which everything else in the economy revolves.

You don’t believe this?

The following are 11 signs that the U.S. government has become an overgrown monstrosity that almost every American is dependent upon for economic survival…. 

#1) The Explosion Of Government Handouts

39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps.  Millions of others are completely dependent on the extended unemployment benefits that they are receiving.  Millions of other Americans are able to survive financially because of the dozens of other welfare programs that the U.S. government subsidizes.  More Americans are receiving some form of welfare than ever before in history, and each month the numbers continue to go up.  Could there come a day when we all receive government handouts every month?

#2) The Entitlements Programs That Threaten To Destroy U.S. Government Finances

Entitlements are the single biggest U.S. government expense.  These programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social Ponzi schemes.  Tens of millions of Americans receive government assistance through these programs.  In fact, nearly 51 million Americans received $672 billion in Social Security benefits in 2009.  We all have friends or family members who receive these kinds of payments.  But cutting so many people a check year after year is slowly but surely destroying U.S. government finances.  According to an official U.S. government report, rapidly growing interest costs on the national debt together with spending on major entitlement programs will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  That is before a penny is spent on anything else.  This is clearly not a sustainable financial situation by any definition, but who wants to tell tens of millions of Americans that their checks are going to be reduced?

#3) The U.S. Government Is Now Even Paying Mortgages

Yes, you read that right.  As part of the “stimulus” package, the U.S. government is going to send money to some of the states that were hit the hardest by the real estate crisis.  So what is that money going to be used for?  Well, Florida, Michigan, California and Arizona have all announced that they plan to use $1.4 billion the Obama administration is sending their way to help the unemployed and the “underwater” pay their mortgages.

#4) Without The Student Loan Program A Huge Percentage Of College Students Would Not Get An Education

The federal student loan program (which was recently entirely nationalized) helps millions of college students pay for their education.  Without this assistance by the government, a lot less students would be going to college.  In fact, many of you that are reading this article directly benefited from the federal student loan program.

#5) The Bailout Of AIG

One of the biggest insurance companies in the world, AIG, would not be in existence today if not for direct federal government intervention.  It kind of makes you wonder what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would think about a federal government that hands big bags of cash to a giant insurance company so that it can survive.  Whether it was so they could pay off their debts to Goldman Sachs or whether it was so that they could keep paying out record-setting bonuses, the truth is that AIG would not have made it without the federal government stepping in.

#6) The “Too Big To Fail” Banks

But it wasn’t just AIG that got bailed out.  A number of big banks may have gone under if not for the U.S. government.  The U.S. government decided that they were “too big to fail”.  Well, what about all the small banks that are going under?  The truth is that they are “too small to bother with”.  We now live in a nation where the U.S. government is the one who decides which banks live and which banks die like dogs.  Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

#7) The Bailout Of General Motors

But not only does the federal government bail out financial institutions – it is also now in the car business.  Yes, grand old General Motors may have ended up on the scrap heap of history if not for the U.S. government stepping in.  So if you work for General Motors or if you work for any company that does business with General Motors, you can thank Uncle Sam for the fact that you still have a job.

#8) The Bailouts Of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

If the U.S. government had not bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we may not have much of a mortgage industry at this point at all.  According to Inside Mortgage Finance, government-related entities backed 96.5% of all home loans during the first quarter of 2010, which was up from 90% in 2009.  So if you borrowed money to buy a home over the past couple of years, there is a very strong likelihood that the U.S. government was involved.

#9) The U.S. Government – The Nation’s Biggest Employer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 2 million civilians work for the federal government, excluding the Postal Service.  When you add in all U.S. military personnel, that number goes much higher. 

The truth is that as the government continues to expand (become more bloated), more Americans than ever are hopping aboard the gravy train.  Today, the average federal worker now earns about twice as much as the average worker in the private sector.  So if you want to do little work, produce little of real value and enjoy super cushy benefits, maybe you should apply for a job with the federal government too.

#10) Millions Of Americans Are Employed By Firms That Rely On Government Contracts

When considering the impact of the U.S. government on the economy, you can’t forget the hundreds of companies that would go out of business if their U.S. government contracts were taken away.  There are literally millions of people who work for companies that do business with the government.  If the government disappeared it would cause economic chaos for those firms.  The truth is that a whole lot of people make a really good living plugging into the sweetest revenue source of them all – the U.S. government.

#11) The U.S. Government Takeover Of The Health Care System

The U.S. government takeover of the health care system is going to fundamentally change the economics of the health care industry.  The U.S. government will now play a major role in deciding which hospitals get built and which do not.  Approximately 17% of U.S. GDP is spent on health care, and now the U.S. government has unprecedented control over where that money goes.  Over a dozen new taxes have been established by the new health care reform law, and the U.S. government is going to pour an unprecedented amount of money into the system.  So will this result in all of us getting better health care?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

The truth is that the Founding Fathers never envisioned a federal government that completely dominated that national economy.  But that is what we have got.  As of now, only a very small percentage of Americans are still able to say that they are completely financially independent of the U.S. government. 

You see, in economic terms the U.S. government is not just the elephant in the room.  It is the elephant that sat on the room and nearly suffocated everything else out of existence.

As Americans, we live in an economy that is so intertwined with the government that it is impossible to separate the two anymore.

But the really bad news is that the U.S. government is in massive financial trouble.  According to one new report, the U.S. national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP by the year 2015.  Many economists regard that as an incredibly dangerous threshold to cross.

If U.S. government finances collapse, it will mean the collapse of the entire U.S. economy as well.  There is simply no separating the two.  And considering the fact that the U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, things don’t look promising.

America is headed for an unprecedented economic collapse, and the U.S. government is leading the way.  If you can get financially independent, now is the time to try to do that, but the reality is that we will all feel massive economic pain when this thing comes crashing down.

Has The State Of California Become The Epicenter Of The Economic Collapse Of America?

Once upon a time, California was the state that everyone wanted to move to.  The endless sunshine, the gorgeous weather, the beaches, the lure of Hollywood and a booming economy made it extremely attractive to millions of Americans who wanted to fulfill their “California dreams”.  But those days are long gone.  Now, the state of California has become an economic nightmare.  In fact, many would argue that California has now become the epicenter of the economic collapse of the United States.  Everything that once made California great is now being swamped by a tidal wave of unemployment, foreclosures, crime, budget cuts, traffic, taxes and natural disasters.  There is a reason why every year now many more people leave the state of California than move into it.  The state of California is suffering a slow economic death, and if something is not done it could end up being one of the biggest financial disasters in history.

The economic crisis of the past several years has hit California so incredibly hard that it is hard to describe.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment picture in the state continues to deteriorate, with an overall unemployment rate of 12.5 percent in January.

12.5 percent may not sound that bad, but the truth is that the situation in many of the urban areas is much worse.  There are now 8 counties in the state of California that have unemployment rates of over 20 percent.

In this economic environment, not even teachers are safe.  Just last week, the state of California handed pink slips to nearly 22,000 teachers across the state.

It is hard to even convey how bad things are in California right now.  California has always been a “boom or bust” state, but what is happening now is really unprecedented.

In fact, the number of people now unemployed in California is equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

Businesses are shutting down at an alarming rate.  For example, in the area around Sacramento, California there is one closed business for every six that are still open.

Just think about that.

One out of every seven businesses has already shut down.

And unfortunately things are going to get even worse.

But that is the last thing that people in California want to hear about now.

All of these economic problems are playing havoc with the state budget as well.  At this point the state of California is essentially dead broke.  Yet they have to keep borrowing more and more money because revenues have fallen off so sharply.  Basically what California is doing is they are piling up the biggest mountain of debt that any U.S. state has ever accumulated, and there is no hope that they will be able to do anything about it any time soon.

The following is how Ralph E. Stone of the Fog City Journal recently described the California government’s colossal financial problems….

How bad is the problem? Consider that California has a $20.7 billion deficit in the general fund budget over the next 16 months. California owes $8.8 billion in short-term loans that have to be paid off by June, and over $120 billion in outstanding bonds and interest that will be paid over decades. The state’s pension fund, CalPers, has $16.3 billion more in liabilities than assets, plus California also faces a $51.8 billion expense for the health and dental benefits of state retirees and future retirees.

So what can the state of California do?  Well, they can either raise taxes or they can cut spending.  Considering the fact that taxes are already at an incredibly oppressive level in the state, that is not a great option.  Not that they won’t try to suck more money out of the taxpayers anyway.

What California should be trying to do is to cut spending, but the very deep cuts that have been made already have not made that much progress.

Bob Herbert of the New York Times recently described California’s massive budget problems this way….

California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

But it is not just California’s government that is experiencing a financial crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

California’s overstretched health care system is also on the verge of collapse.  Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade.

Why?

The reality is that many hospitals and emergency rooms simply could not afford to stay open as they were endlessly swamped with immigrants and poor and homeless who were not able to pay for the services they were getting.

As a result of these hospital and emergency room closings, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded.  This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths.

And the number of Californians who are unable to pay for their emergency care is only increasing.

According to one new study, approximately 1 in 4 Californians under the age 65 had absolutely no health insurance last year.

But perhaps now that Barack Obama’s health care scheme has passed, maybe the cost of caring for everyone in California will be taken care of by the American taxpayers.

Thanks Obama.

The high unemployment rate and the cuts to the budget in California have also created an environment where crime and gang activity can flourish.  Not that crime and gangs were not gigantic problems before.  But now thousands upon thousands of young men who can’t or won’t find jobs have nothing better to do than sell drugs and terrorize entire neighborhoods.

In fact, there are many areas of California where you just do not go out of your home at night.

Then there are the devastating droughts, the thousands of wildfires, the endless earthquakes, and the crippling mudslides which California now experiences almost every single year.

No wonder so many people are flocking to leave the state.

But what happens in California eventually spreads to the rest of the United States.

Keep in mind that 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from the state of California.

Counted by itself, California would be the 5th largest economy in the entire world.

So to think that these problems can be isolated to California is complete fantasy.

In fact, there are some areas in the United States, such as Detroit, that are just as bad as anything that is going on in California.

So the reality is that this is a national economic cancer that is spreading rapidly.

The economic nightmare that people in California and Michigan are experiencing will be coming to your area sooner or later.

Are you ready for that?

The Best Place To Escape Thieves, Looters, And Rapists When Society Breaks Down… Click Here

The Health Care Reform Bill: Welcome To The Biggest Tax Increase In U.S. History

Will the health care reform bill that the Democrats are trying to figure out a way to ram through Congress end up being the biggest tax increase in U.S. history?  Unfortunately, a close reading of the bill leads to the inescapable conclusion that it will be.  You see, the crafters of this legislation were smart.  They realized that if they included one huge tax increase in the health care bill it would make headlines all over the country, so they chopped up the taxes into a bunch of smaller pieces in order to make them easier to swallow.  In fact, one review of the Senate version of the health care bill identified at least 19 tax increases.  When you put all of the tax increases together they add up to the biggest tax increase in the history of the United States.  Considering the fact that the U.S. economy is already on the verge of economic collapse, the last thing that the American people need is a massive tax increase.  But that is exactly what they are about to get.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these taxes….

*In Section 5000(A) of the Senate version of the bill (which can be found here), there is a requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance. Those who do not obtain health coverage will be hit with an annual tax penalty of $750.

*Barack Obama is trying to sneak a large Medicare tax increase for wealthy Americans into the final version of the health care bill.  Under Obama’s proposal, individuals who earn more than $200,000 and couples who earn over $250,000 would pay an additional 2.9% surtax on unearned income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents. Up until now, employers and employees have each contributed 1.45% of each paycheck to Medicare.  But if Obama’s proposal makes it into the final bill, wealthy Americans will see their Medicare taxes absolutely skyrocket.

*In Section 9008 of the Senate version of the health care bill,  a $2.3 billion excise tax would be imposed on the pharmaceutical industry.  This tax would not be based on income.  It would solely be based on market share.  So even if a company was losing hundreds of millions of dollars it would still have to pay.

*Section 9009 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an “annual fee” on medical device manufacturers and importers.  Once again, this $2 billion “excise tax” would be based on market share and not on income.

*Section 9010 of the Senate version of the health care bill would also impose an “annual fee” on health insurance providers.  This $6.7 billion tax would also be allocated based on market share.

So how much of these new taxes on health insurance companies, drugmakers and medical device manufacturers do you think will be passed on to consumers?

Anyone want to take a guess?

Just because a particular tax increase is not directed at you does not mean that it won’t take money out of your pocket.

Let’s look at some more (yes, there are more) of the tax increases….

*Section 9001 of the Senate version of the health care bill contains an excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans.  In other words, if you have provided your family with the very best in health coverage you get to be taxed extra.  This tax is particularly harsh.  Section 9001 imposes a 40 percent tax on the portion of insurance premiums exceeding $8,500 a year for individuals and $23,000 a year for family plans.  In order to hide the tax, it will be imposed on the health insurance companies who issue the policies.  But do you think that they will not pass that cost on to their customers?

So now the American people will be highly penalized for getting really good health care plans.

*Section 9017 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an excise tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures.  Any voluntary cosmetic procedures will now be subjected to a 5 percent tax.  All of those boob jobs are about to get a lot more expensive.

*The House version of the health care bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax increase on individuals making more than $500,000 and on couples making more than $1 million.

So if you are living the American Dream you are about to pay a lot more for it if the House version of the health care bill gets adopted.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

Currently, the top income tax rate in the United States is 35 percent.

If existing Bush tax cuts expire in 2011 as Barack Obama wants them to, the top tax rate will go back up to 39.6 percent.

But this new “health care tax” would jack things up even higher.

Another 5.4 percent would take the highest tax rate in America to 45 percent.  That is before any state, local or property taxes are even paid.

Pretty soon it won’t even be worth it to work hard in America anymore.

But that is not the end of the tax increases.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers’ analysis for America’s Health Insurance Plans found that family health insurance premiums would be approximately $4,000 a year higher if the health care reform bill is passed.

Can you afford to pay over $300 a month more for health insurance for your family?

Are you starting to get the idea?

This health care reform bill will be an absolute financial disaster for America.  But considering the fact that the Senate version of the bill is 2409 pages long, hardly anyone will ever take the time to read the whole thing.

And yes, the Democrats are likely to tweak things a little more as they try to figure out how to sneak a final version through, but there is now one thing that seems virtually certain.

This is going to be the biggest tax increase in U.S. history.

Isn’t that exciting?

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