$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.

Why Is An Appendectomy In The United States 10 Times More Expensive Than An Appendectomy In Mexico?

This is what can happen when you go to a socialized healthcare system.  A lot of people out there believe that the United States has a free market healthcare system, but that is actually not true.  The percentage of the population that receives government-subsidized healthcare is rapidly approaching 50 percent, and the healthcare industry may be the most heavily regulated sector of the entire U.S. economy.  Every year the rules, red tape and regulations seem to get even worse, and every year health insurance premiums rise much faster than the overall rate of inflation.  If we don’t start applying free market principles and start getting healthcare costs under control, our entire healthcare system could very easily implode.

I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article by former DEA agent David Hathaway.  According to Hathaway, the average cost for an appendectomy in the United States is $33,000

My son had an attack of appendicitis late Saturday night. I knew that the Obamacare inflated prices for surgery in the U.S. would be ridiculous and that the service would likely be impersonal, involve long waits, and be nerve-wracking. I have friends in the medical field so I inquired just for grins. The price for the latest routine appendectomy in my area was, my jaw dropped, $43,000. I read on-line that the average cost for an appendectomy in the U.S. is $33,000. I am not near some of the great direct-pay medical facilities in the U.S. like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but I am near Mexico. I chose that option since I have often utilized foreign medical and dental facilities in the past and find the service and prices to be outstanding.

You can buy a very nice brand new car for $33,000.

How in the world did we get to the point where costs have escalated so far out of control?  Should performing an appendectomy really be this expensive?

I can imagine that some of my readers may be thinking that the quality of care down in Mexico is much lower, but this is actually not the case at all.  Here is more from David Hathaway

My son was checked into a private room with private bath and satellite TV awaiting his surgery. The surgical staff was prepped and ready to start within an hour-and-a half of our arrival. The appendix was ruptured, so extra precautions were taken to clean and flush the abdominal cavity. Since the appendix was ruptured, the chief surgeon said that my son should stay two days to receive intravenous antibiotics to prevent the development of peritonitis.

The surgery was a success, and David’s son did stay in the hospital for two full days in order to receive the antibiotics that the doctor suggested.

But despite the extra time, the bill for the appendectomy was still less than 10 percent of what it would have been if the appendectomy had been performed in the United States…

The hospital stay was for 48 hours in a private room where my wife was allowed to spend the nights with my son sleeping on a couch in his room. This cost would have been significantly less if we hadn’t incurred emergency fees and if the appendectomy had not involved complications which required a longer stay and more medication. Despite all that, I though the total price of $2,830 dollars was very reasonable.

So why can’t we have hospitals like that on our side of the border?

This is yet another example that shows that Obamacare has got to go and that we need to get government out of the healthcare business.

We once had the greatest healthcare system in the history of the world, and we can do it again if we will just return to free market principles.  Elections really matter, and we simply cannot allow the Democrats and the establishment Republicans to take us even further down the road of socialized medicine.

They have already turned our once great healthcare system into a giant disaster zone, and we need to show them the door before they can do even more damage.

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’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.

Every RINO Needs To Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I seriously doubt it.

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

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

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

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

That is nearly half the country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Way Congress Is Handling Health Care Shows Why They Only Have A 17 Percent Approval Rating

The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival.  At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions.  You can read the full text of the bill here.  Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass.  I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.

It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016.  If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it.  Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.

According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent.  It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.

If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles.  But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…

The bill is very similar to the version of the House bill that passed last month but with some key changes. The text released Thursday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid, eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage.

One thing that is good about the Senate bill is that it would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood for 12 months, but of course this is something that would need to be made permanent as soon as possible.

A more detailed list of major changes that the Senate bill makes was posted on Zero Hedge

  • Gives subsidies illegal immigrants if they are working in the United States
  • Subsidies based on 350% Federal Poverty Level, not 400%.
  • Gets rid of business and consumer mandates with no penalty
  • Qualified plans don’t need to provide abortion coverage unless it’s to save the life of the mother
  • Each state gets 15-10 Billion for uninsurables
  • Cadillac tax is gone
  • OTC med tax is gone
  • HSA penalty tax is 10%
  • Prescription tax is gone
  • Medical device tax is gone
  • Business owners can deduct part d expense again
  • Deductible medical expenses are back to 7.5% instead of 10% AGI
  • Tanning tax is gone (ironic)
  • Net investment tax is gone
  • HSA deductibility will be adjusted every year for COLA
  • Both spouses can now make catch-up contributions to a family HSA
  • 60 day limitation to setting up an HSA account when first getting the plan for purposes of a current claim
  • No coverage for abortion clinics
  • Repeal of cost-sharing subsidy
  • MLR set by states
  • Grants for states battling opiod addiction (like mine)
  • CHIP is reauthorized
  • $5,000 app fee to create small business association health pool
  • Psychiatric coverage is limited to institutionalized individuals only, and for stays up to 30 days but not to exceed 90 days
  • The Senate draft health-care bill doesn’t currently include a provision penalizing people who don’t maintain continuous coverage

Overall, the Senate bill would be a bit of an improvement over Obamacare.

But a slight improvement over a major disaster is still a disaster.

Shortly after the bill was unveiled, four conservative senators announced that they cannot vote for the bill the way that it stands now…

However, four conservative Republican senators —Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah— said they “are not ready to vote for this bill” because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Separately, moderate GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on Medicaid patients.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a couple of RINO (Republican in name only) senators are expected to object to the bill because it would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood

The Senate bill would cut Medicaid funds from organizations that provide abortions for one year. It does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but the legislation is clearly targeting the organization, which Republican leaders have promised to defund.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have both expressed concerns about any legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murkowski said Thursday she was still reviewing the bill’s provisions.

President Trump says that the Senate bill is not a finished product and that it is open for negotiation.

But I don’t see how in the world anyone is going to be able to craft something that will be acceptable to at least 50 Republicans in the Senate.

Unfortunately, even if the Republicans pass a health care bill somehow it will not fix the giant mess that our system has become.

One step in the right direction would be to legalize the kind of national buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed

Imagine if the tens of millions of people who belong to Credit Unions, or organizations like the NRA or ACLU, could negotiate as a group for health insurance and drug prices!  Imagine the insurance executives and drug companies coming on bended knee to negotiate for the business of tens of millions of people!

I have proposed legalizing nationwide Association Health Plans.  My Senate Bill 222 does just that.  I have advised the President to act through his Secretary of Labor to review existing law and make it explicitly known that national associations can negotiate as one to bring down insurance prices.

And I would also like to see an expansion of direct primary care and other models that bypass the health insurance companies entirely.

The health insurance companies collectively make a profit of 15 billion dollars a year, and they are a big part of what is wrong with our current system.

There is so much that needs to be done to fix things, and both parties are failing the American people.

So let’s hope that we can remove a lot of these incumbents in 2018, because we definitely need some fresh thinking in Washington.

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…

How Angry Will You Be If The Republicans In Congress Do Not Repeal Obamacare?

Obamacare Report Card - FacebookTop Republicans are now publicly saying that Obamacare will never be fully repealed. In fact, many Republicans in Congress are already using the term “repair” instead of “repeal” to describe what is going to happen to Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. Without a doubt, the Republicans in Congress are eventually going to do something, but strategists in both parties are now suggesting that most of the key elements of Obamacare are going to remain once everything is all said and done. It will be put into a more “conservative” package, but it will still be Obamacare.

On Thursday, former House Speaker John Boehner made headlines all over the country when he said that a complete repeal of Obamacare is “not what’s going to happen”.  Instead, Boehner said that Republicans are going to “fix Obamacare” and that they will “put a more conservative box around it” in order to keep their constituents happy.

Of course this isn’t what we voted for. For years, Republican politicians all across the country have been promising that Obamacare would be repealed once they got control of Congress, but now Boehner is telling us that all of that was just “happy talk”

Earlier in the panel discussion, Boehner said he “started laughing” when Republicans started talking about moving lightning fast on repeal and then coming up with an alternative.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner said. “And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal—yeah, we’ll do replace, replace—I started laughing, because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”

When the Republicans finally get around to doing something, they will inevitably declare it to be a great victory, but will it actually be that much different from what we have now?

Yes, the IRS penalty for not having health insurance will probably go. But there will still be coverage for children up to the age of 26, there will still be mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, there will still be mandatory coverage for maternity expenses, there will still be some form of Medicaid expansion and there will still be subsidies for the poor.

In the end, we are still going to have a healthcare system where half the country pays for the healthcare for the other half of the country.

That isn’t fair, and it never will be.  One half of the country shouldn’t have to pay much higher rates for their own health insurance and also pay for the healthcare of everyone else in the nation as well.  Either we should go back to a free market system, or they might as well go ahead and socialize the entire thing.

The thought of sticking with what we have right now is utter insanity, but unfortunately that is what top Republicans mean when they speak of “repairing” Obamacare. The following comes from the New York Times

“When you talk about ‘repeal,’ you have just used a word that is very polarizing,” said Representative Tom MacArthur, Republican of New Jersey, who meets weekly with moderate Republicans and Democrats of equal number. “When you go to Democrats and say, ‘Help us repeal,’ that puts them in a box. If you say, ‘Would you help us repair something?’ people start listening in a whole other way.”

How in the world do you “repair” a steaming pile of garbage?

I just don’t understand.

What the Republicans need to do is very simple. As Jim Demint has suggested, the Republicans in Congress simply need to pass the same Obamacare repeal that Barack Obama vetoed not too long ago…

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina Republican senator, called on activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference to push their members of Congress to send to President Donald Trump the same legislation that dismantled the law and was vetoed by President Barack Obama with all due haste.

“We must and we can repeal Obamacare now,” DeMint said. “They should send that same bill to President Trump right now.”

So what is keeping Republicans in Congress from moving forward?

One thing is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Some liberal Republicans are promising to vote against any Obamacare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she will not vote for an ObamaCare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.

In her address to Alaska’s state legislature Wednesday, the moderate Republican offered her firmest commitment yet that she will not support defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I, for one, do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

Another thing that is giving some Republicans pause are the angry protesters that they are running into at town hall meetings…

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom McClintock of California are among Republicans who faced hostile audiences at recent town hall meetings.

This comes after the Women’s March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of protestors the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Republicans need to be paying attention and doing their best to understand the energy from the town halls,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a Washington-based publication that tracks congressional races.

Of course a lot of those “angry protesters” are from Barack Obama’s private army of more than 30,000 volunteers that are being deployed around the nation in a desperate attempt to defend Obamacare.

In the end, the truth is that the Republicans should be listening to the voters that sent them to Washington in the first place. Most of those voters expected an immediate Obamacare repeal, and now that it has not happened it is making for a very confusing tax season. The following comes from Politico

Republicans’ stalled campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is sowing confusion among those now trying to do their taxes.

Many taxpayers believe Republicans have already repealed the law, tax preparers say, and they’re surprised and upset to learn they are still subject to Obamacare’s penalty for failing to have health insurance — a charge that climbed this year to more than $2,000 per family.

Until it is repealed, Obamacare will continue to kill jobs and will continue to kill the middle class.

It was one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written, and it boggles the mind that so many Republicans in Congress are hesitant about repealing it.

Unfortunately, just as I portray in my novel, America is rapidly going crazy.

We have been given over to a reprobate mind, and our leaders can’t even seem to think straight any longer.

If Obamacare is going to be repealed, now is the time. Please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that a “fix” will not work and that we want Obamacare to be completely repealed and replaced with a free market alternative.

As Predicted, Obamacare Is Absolutely Killing The Middle Class

Obamacare Frustration - Public DomainThe critics of Obamacare have been proven right.  The Obama administration promised that health insurance premiums would go down.  Instead, they have absolutely skyrocketed.  The Obama administration promised that Obamacare would not kill jobs.  Instead, firms are hiring fewer workers because of suffocating health care costs.  As you will see below, even the Federal Reserve is admitting this.  The Obama administration also promised that the big health insurance companies would love the new Obamacare plans and would eagerly compete with one another to win customers in the new health insurance marketplaces.  Instead, many of the big health insurance companies are now dropping Obamacare plans altogether.

We witnessed the latest stunning example of this phenomenon just a few days ago.  It turns out that Aetna has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars on plans sold through the health exchanges, and now they plan to pull out of the program almost entirely

Earlier this week, Aetna, which covers about 900,000 people through the health exchanges created under Obamacare, announced that it would dramatically reduce its presence those exchanges. Instead of expanding into five new states this year, as the insurer had previously planned, the company said that it would drop out of 11 of the 15 states in which it currently sells under the law.

Aetna’s decision follows similar moves from other insurers: UnitedHealth announced in April that it would cease selling plans on most exchanges. Shortly after, Humana pulled out of two states, Virginia and Alabama. More than a dozen of the nonprofit health insurance cooperatives set up under the law—health insurance carriers created using government-back loans in order to spur competition—have failed entirely. While some insurers are entering the exchanges, even more are leaving.

Another one of “the big five”, UnitedHealth, is going to lose more than half a billion dollars on Obamacare plans.  So just a few months ago they also announced that they would be dramatically scaling back their participation in the program.

Because of the ridiculous costs, health insurance companies are either going to have to abandon the exchanges completely or they will have to raise rates substantially.

Needless to say, the people that are going to ultimately feel the pain from all of this are consumers

Customers who are now forced to obtain insurance or pay a hefty fine that grows more costly over time are being left in a difficult position. Americans are essentially stuck between a rock and hard place, either losing coverage entirely, or having to cough up money for a plan they can’t afford.

Something has to give,” said Larry Levitt, a healthcare law expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.

On the low end of the spectrum, tens of millions of poor Americans benefit from government programs that provide health care at little or no cost.

On the other end of the spectrum, the very wealthy can afford to pay the ridiculously high health insurance premiums that we are seeing under Obamacare.

So what this means is that the people that are being hurt the most by Obamacare are those that belong to the middle class.

As I mentioned above, employers are now hiring less workers because of Obamacare, and that is very bad news for the middle class.  One recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York discovered that nearly one out of every five firms is “employing fewer workers” because of this insidious law

According to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 20.9% of manufacturing firms in the state said they were employing fewer workers because of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare, while 16.8% of respondents in the service sector said the same.

And middle class Americans that have to pay for their own health insurance are being hit with much higher bills these days.  According to one recent study, it is being projected that the average Obamacare premium will go up 24 percent in 2016…

Now, courtesy of a new study by independent analyst Charles Gaba – who has crunched the numbers for insurers participating in the ACA exchanges in all 50 states – we can also calculate what the average Obamacare premium increase across the entire US will be: using proposed and approved rate increase requests, the average Obamacare premium is expected to surge by a whopping 24% this year.

Even NBC News, which is about as pro-Obama as you can get, is reporting on the crippling premium increases that are devastating the middle class…

Millions of people who pay the full cost of their health insurance will face the sting of rising premiums next year, with no financial help from government subsidies.

Renewal notices bearing the bad news will go out this fall, just as the presidential election is in the home stretch.

“I don’t know if I could swallow another 30 or 40 percent without severely cutting into other things I’m trying to do, like retirement savings or reducing debt,” said Bob Byrnes, of Blaine, Minnesota, a Twin Cities suburb. His monthly premium of $524 is already about 50 percent more than he was paying in 2015, and he has a higher deductible.

All over the nation people are getting hit like this.

Personally, my health insurance company wanted to nearly double the rate I was paying when Obamacare fully kicked in.  So I searched around and found another plan that was only about a 30 percent increase, but at least it wasn’t nearly double what I had been paying before.

But when the time came to renew that plan, they wanted to jump my premium up another 50 percent per month.

Those of us that are in the middle are being crushed by Obamacare.  We aren’t poor enough to qualify for government assistance, and we aren’t wealthy enough for these ridiculous health insurance premiums not to matter.

Just about everything that Barack Obama promised us about Obamacare has turned out to be a lie.

So where in the accountability?

This is one of the big reasons why nearly one out of every five U.S. adults lives with their parents or their grandparents these days.  Many young adults cannot afford the basics of life such as health insurance, and so they have got to find a way to cut back expenses somewhere.  If that means moving back in with Mom and Dad, that is what some of them are going to do.

I am astounded that our system of health care has become so messed up.  But this is just more evidence of how our society is falling apart in thousands of different ways, and I am not optimistic that things will be turned around any time soon.