The Beginning Of The End
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Scam Alert: Hospitals All Over America Are Wildly Inflating Medical Bills

Medical Bills - Public DomainThe next time you visit a hospital, it is your wallet that may end up hurting the most.  All over the United States, it has become common practice for hospitals to wildly inflate medical bills.  For example, it has been reported that some hospitals are charging up to 30 dollars for a single aspirin pill.  And as you will see below, some victims report being billed tens of thousands of dollars for a non-surgical hospital visit that lasts only a few hours.  When something is seriously wrong with us, most of us never stop to ask our health professionals how much it will cost to actually treat us.  In that moment, we are desperate and we just want someone to help us.  Many doctors and hospitals take full advantage of this by billing their “customers” as much as they feel they can possible get away with.  It is a legal scam that is bilking ordinary Americans out of billions of dollars every single year.

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on one case that is a perfect example of the outrageous medical billing that I am talking about…

Before his three-hour neck surgery for herniated disks in December, Peter Drier, 37, signed a pile of consent forms. A bank technology manager who had researched his insurance coverage, Mr. Drier was prepared when the bills started arriving: $56,000 from Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, $4,300 from the anesthesiologist and even $133,000 from his orthopedist, who he knew would accept a fraction of that fee.

He was blindsided, though, by a bill of about $117,000 from an “assistant surgeon,” a Queens-based neurosurgeon whom Mr. Drier did not recall meeting.

“I thought I understood the risks,” Mr. Drier, who lives in New York City, said later. “But this was just so wrong — I had no choice and no negotiating power.”

The practice known as “drive-by doctoring” has gotten completely and totally out of control.

All over America, doctors are popping into surgeries or are stopping by to talk to another doctor’s patients for a few minutes and are charging thousands of dollars for this “assistance”.

It is a morally reprehensible scam that needs to be stopped.

Another thing that needs to be stopped is the practice that many hospitals have of billing patients for emergency medications at a rate that is thousands of times over cost.

For example, just check out what happened when 52-year-old Marcie Edmonds went in to a hospital in Arizona to get treated for a scorpion sting

With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

Did that hospital actually need to charge that much?

Of course not.

Hospitals down in Mexico only charge $100 per dose of Anascorp.

And anyone that has ever been in for major surgery knows how outrageous some of these hospital bills can be.

For instance, consider the experience of an NBC News reporter that chose to have neck surgery for degenerative disc disease….

Once I got my itemized bill, the grand total was a little over $66,013.40!   That was for a one night stay and a four level vertebrae fusion surgery.  The charges included $22 for one sleeping pill, $427 for one dissecting tool, and $32,000 for four titanium plates and ten screws.

I brought it to Todd Hill, a fee based patient advocate who helps people decipher their medical bills. “The screws in your procedure were billed at $605 a piece for a total of $6050 dollars. We’ve seen those in our past research for $25 or $30,” he said. “In this case, the markup is tremendous,” he added.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans die completely broke is because medical bills can run up to astronomical heights if you happen to have a terminal illness.

For example, a while back Time Magazine reported on one cancer patient in California that had run up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

The sad truth is that the U.S. health care system has become a giant money making scam, and all of us are the victims.

Those that work in this industry should be greatly ashamed for what they are doing to us.

Just consider the following numbers…

-It has been estimated that hospitals in the United States overcharge their patients by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

-Medical bills are the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.  One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

-According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills cause more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.

-Health insurance is not nearly as much protection as you might think.  According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, of all bankruptcies caused by medical debt approximately 75 percent of the time the people actually did have health insurance.

-Hospitals are not shy about sending debt collection agencies after people with unpaid medical bills.  In fact, collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from approximately 30 million Americans every year.

-Back in 1980, less than 10 percent of U.S. GDP went to health care.  Today, about 18 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward health care.

-If the U.S. health care system was a nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

Does anyone out there have any doubt that the system is completely broken?

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  Hospitals all over America are brazenly ripping us off, and we need to stand up and say that enough is enough.

50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam

50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam That Is About To Collapse - Photo by RagesossThe U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die.  In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations.  The pharmaceutical corporations spend billions of dollars to convince all of us to become dependent on their legal drugs, the health insurance companies make billions of dollars by providing as little health care as possible, and they both spend millions of dollars to make sure that our politicians in Washington D.C. keep the gravy train rolling.  Meanwhile, large numbers of doctors are going broke and patients are not getting the care that they need.  At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster.  Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse.  In America today, a single trip to the emergency room can easily cost you $100,000, and if you happen to get cancer you could end up with medical bills in excess of a million dollars.  Even if you do have health insurance, there are usually limits on your coverage, and the truth is that just a single major illness is often enough to push most American families into bankruptcy.  At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash.  Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.

The following are 50 signs that the U.S. health care system is a massive money making scam that is about to collapse…

#1 Medical bills have become so ridiculously large that virtually nobody can afford them.  Just check out the following short excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article.  One man in California that had been diagnosed with cancer ran up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

#2 This year the American people will spend approximately 2.8 trillion dollars on health care, and it is being projected that Americans will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

#3 The United States spends more on health care than Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.

#4 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

#5 Back in 1960, an average of $147 was spent per person on health care in the United States. By 2009, that number had skyrocketed to $8,086.

#6 Why does it cost so much to stay in a hospital today?  It just does not make sense.  Just check out these numbers

In 1942, Christ Hospital, NJ charged $7 per day for a maternity room. Today it’s $1,360.

#7 Approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills.

#8 One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#9 The U.S. health care industry has spent more than 5 billion dollars on lobbying our politicians in Washington D.C. since 1998.

#10 According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is  currently experiencing a shortage of at least 13,000 doctors.  Unfortunately, that shortage is expected to grow to 130,000 doctors over the next 10 years.

#11 The state of Florida is already dealing with a very serious shortage of doctors

Brace yourself for longer lines at the doctor’s office.

Whether you’re employed and insured, elderly and on Medicare, or poor and covered by Medicaid, the Florida Medical Association says there’s a growing shortage of doctors — especially specialists — available to provide you with medical care.

And if the Florida Legislature goes along with Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation to offer Medicaid coverage to an additional 1 million Floridians — part of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect next January — the FMA says that shortage will only get worse.

#12 At this point, approximately 40 percent of all doctors in the United States are 55 years of age or older.

#13 In America today, many hospital executives make absolutely ridiculous amounts of money

In December, when the New York Times ran a story about how a deficit deal might threaten hospital payments, Steven Safyer, chief executive of Montefiore Medical Center, a large nonprofit hospital system in the Bronx, complained, “There is no such thing as a cut to a provider that isn’t a cut to a beneficiary … This is not crying wolf.”

Actually, Safyer seems to be crying wolf to the tune of about $196.8 million, according to the hospital’s latest publicly available tax return. That was his hospital’s operating profit, according to its 2010 return. With $2.586 billion in revenue — of which 99.4% came from patient bills and 0.6% from fundraising events and other charitable contributions — Safyer’s business is more than six times as large as that of the Bronx’s most famous enterprise, the New York Yankees. Surely, without cutting services to beneficiaries, Safyer could cut what have to be some of the Bronx’s better non-Yankee salaries: his own, which was $4,065,000, or those of his chief financial officer ($3,243,000), his executive vice president ($2,220,000) or the head of his dental department ($1,798,000).

#14 Health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs in the United States each year.  In Finland, health insurance administration expenses account for just 2 percent of all health care costs each year.

#15 If you can believe it, the U.S. ambulance industry makes more money each year than the movie industry does.

#16 All over America, people are reporting huge health insurance premium increases thanks to Obamacare.  The following example is from a recent article by Robert Wenzel

A California small businessman tells me that he switched healthcare insurance carriers in 2012.  The monthly premium for him and his wife was about $400, but when he received his first bill in January of this year it was for $1,200.  He hasn’t been to a doctor in years, his wife has only gone for minor care.

Apparently there is some clause in the Affordable Healthcare Act that results in health insurance firms using a new method to calculate premiums. Those who have health insurance plans that have been in effect since at least 2010 are grandfathered under the old calculation method, but insurance carriers are using a new formula for new plans.

#17 Blue Shield of California has announced that it wants to raise health insurance premiums by up to 20 percent this year in an effort to keep up with rising health costs.

#18 Aetna’s CEO says that health insurance premiums for many Americans will double when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.

#19 Close to 10 percent of all U.S. employers plan to drop health coverage completely when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.

#20 According to a survey conducted by the Doctor Patient Medical Association, 83 percent of all doctors in the United States have considered leaving the profession because of Obamacare.

#21 Approximately 16,000 new IRS agents will be hired to help oversee the implementation of Obamacare, and the Obama administration has given the IRS 500 million extra dollars “outside the normal appropriations process” to help the IRS with their new duties.

#22 During 2013, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs.

#23 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.

#24 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

#25 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to the CDC.  Not only that, the CDC also says that approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis.

#26 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#27 In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs.  Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

#28 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

#29 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits during 2008.

#30 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#31 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

#32 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to bring in nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.

#33 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation.  The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the entire year.

#34 It turns out that the financial assistance that Barack Obama promised would be provided for those with “pre-existing conditions” under Obamacare is already being shut down because of a lack of funding…

Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low.

Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based “high-risk pools” set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state.

#35 In America today, you are 64 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than you are by a gun.

#36 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.

#37 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.

#38 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.

#39 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.

#40 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#41 According to a doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

#42 It has been estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

#43 One trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

#44 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

#45 According to a study conducted by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

#46 Today, there are more than 56 million Americans on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#47 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#48 Today, there are more than 50 million Americans on Medicare, and that number is projected to grow to 73.2 million in 2025.

#49 When Medicare was first established by Congress, it was estimated that it would cost the federal government $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around.  Instead, it cost the federal government $110 billion in 1990, and it will cost the federal government close to $600 billion this year.

#50 Even if you do have health insurance, that is no guarantee that medical bills will not bankrupt you.  Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article says happened to one unfortunate couple from Ohio that actually did have health insurance…

When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance.

By the way, that hospital down in Houston made a profit of 531 million dollars in one recent year.

So what can be done about all of this?

Well, the truth is that the status quo is a complete and total disaster, and every “solution” being promoted by politicians from both major political parties would only make things worse.

In the end, the U.S. health care system needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but we all know that is not going to happen.

Instead, our politicians and the health care industry will just find additional ways to extract money from all of us, and the level of care that we all get will continue to decline.

If you don’t believe this, just check out what Paul Krugman of the New York Times had to say recently

We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.

Others are urging us to become more like Europe.

But do we really want what they have in the UK?…

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

In the end, my philosophy is just to avoid the U.S. health care system as much as possible.  Most doctors are just trained to do two things – prescribe drugs and cut you open.  In an emergency situation where you are about to die, those may be your best options, but otherwise I would just as soon avoid the gigantic money making scam that the U.S. health care industry has become.

But just don’t take my word for it.  The following is some very sound advice from Dr. Robert S. Dotson

Avoid contact with the existing health care system as far as possible. Yes, emergencies arise that require the help of physicians, but by and large one can learn to care for one’s own minor issues. Though it is flawed, the internet has been an information leveler for the masses and permits each person to be his or her own physician to a large degree. Take advantage of it! Educate yourself about your own body and learn to fuel and maintain it as you would an expensive auto or a pet poodle. One does not need a medical degree to:

1. avoid excessive use of tobacco or alcohol or, for that matter, caffeine;
2. avoid poisons like fluoride, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and addictive drugs (legal or illicit);
3. avoid unnecessary and potentially lethal imaging studies (TSA’s radiation pornbooths, excessive mammography, repetitive CT scans – exposure to all significantly increases cancer risk);
4. avoid excessive cell phone use and exposure to other forms of EMR pollution where possible (the NSA is recording everything you say and text anyway);
5. avoid daily fast food use and abuse (remember: pink slime and silicone) ;
6. avoid untested GM foods (do you really want to become “Roundup Ready?”):
7. avoid most vaccinations and pharmaceutical agents promoted by the establishment;
8. avoid risky behaviors (and, we do not need a bunch of Nanny State bureaucrats to define and police these);
9. exercise moderately;
10. get plenty of sleep;
11. drink plenty of good quality water (buy a decent water filter to remove fluoride, chloride, and heavy metals);
12. wear protective gear at work and play where appropriate (helmets, eye-shields, knee and elbow pads, etc.):
13. seek out locally-grown, whole, organic foods and support your local food producers;
14. take appropriate nutritional supplements (multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3);
15. switch off the TV and the mainstream media it represents;
16. educate yourself while you can;

And, lastly…

17. QUESTION AUTHORITY!

Doing these simple, common-sense things will add healthy years to a person’s life and help one avoid most medical encounters during his or her allotted time on earth.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that the U.S. health care system is a gigantic money making scam that is about to collapse?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Money Making Scam

21 Signs That The New Reality For Many Baby Boomers Will Be To Work As Wage Slaves Until They Drop Dead

All over America tonight, millions of elderly Americans are wondering if their money is going to run out before it is time for them to die.  Those that are now past retirement age are not going to be rioting in the streets, but that doesn’t mean that large numbers of them are not deeply suffering.  There are millions of elderly Americans that are leading lives of “quiet desperation” as they try to get by on meager fixed incomes.  Many are surviving on Ramen noodles, oatmeal, peanut butter or whatever other cheap food they can find in the stores.  There are some that are so short on cash that they will not turn on the heat in their homes until things get really desperate.  As health care costs soar, millions of elderly Americans find themselves deep in debt and facing huge medical bills that they cannot possibly pay.  A lot of older Americans would go back to work if they could, but jobs are scarce and very few companies seem to even want to consider hiring them.  Right now caring for all of the Americans that have already retired is turning out to be an overwhelming challenge, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  On January 1st, 2011 the very first Baby Boomers turned 65.  A massive tsunami of retirees is coming, and America is not ready for it.

Sadly, most retirees have not adequately prepared for retirement.  For many, the recent economic downturn absolutely devastated their retirement plans.  Many were counting on the equity in their homes, but the recent housing crash crushed those dreams.  Others had their 401ks shredded by the stock market.

Meanwhile, corporate pension plans all across America are vastly underfunded.  Many state and local government pension programs are absolute disasters.  The federal government has already begun to pay out significantly more in Social Security benefits than they are taking in, and the years ahead are projected to be downright apocalyptic for the Social Security program.

So needless to say, things do not look good for the Baby Boomers that are now approaching retirement age.

The following are 21 signs that the new reality for many Baby Boomers will be to work as wage slaves until they drop dead….

#1 According to a shocking AARP survey of Baby Boomers that are still in the workforce, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”.

#2 A recent survey of American workers that included all age groups found that 54 percent of them planned to keep working when they retire and 39 percent of them plan to either work past age 70 or never retire at all.

#3 A poll conducted by CESI Debt Solutions found that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired.

#4 A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States.  Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.

#5 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

#6 Most of the bankruptcies among the elderly are caused by our deeply corrupt health care system.  According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#7 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run dry five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#8 Starting on January 1st, 2011 the Baby Boomers began to hit retirement age.  From now on, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65.  That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

#9 Over 30 percent of all U.S. investors currently in their sixties have more than 80 percent of their 401k retirement plans invested in equities.  So what happens if the stock market crashes again?

#10 All over the United States predatory lenders are coldly and cruelly foreclosing on elderly homeowners.  You can read what one lender is doing to a 70-year-old woman and her terminally ill husband right here.

#11 Medical bills are absolutely devastating large number of elderly Americans right now.  Many are going to great lengths to try to pay their bills.  An elderly woman that lives in the Salem, Oregon area that is fighting terminal bone cancer tried to raise some money for her medical bills by holding a few garage sales on the weekends.  However, a neighbor ratted her out, and so now the police are shutting her garage sales down.

#12 Social Security’s disability program has already been pushed to the brink of insolvency and wave after wave of new applications continue to pour in.

#13 Approximately 3 out of every 4 Americans start claiming Social Security benefits the moment they are eligible at age 62.  Most are doing this out of necessity.  However, by claiming Social Security early they get locked in at a much lower amount than if they would have waited.

#14 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.  Sadly, in the years ahead these “Social Security deficits” are scheduled to become absolutely nightmarish as hordes of Baby Boomers retire.

#15 In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  In 2010, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 3.3 U.S. workers.  By 2025, it is projected that there will be approximately two U.S. workers for each retiree.  How in the world can the system possibly continue to function properly with numbers like that?

#16 According to a shocking U.S. government report, soaring interest costs on the U.S. national debt plus rapidly escalating spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare will absorb approximately 92 cents of every single dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.  That is before a single dollar is spent on anything else.

#17 Most states have huge pension liabilities that are woefully underfunded.  For example, pension consultant Girard Miller recently told California’s Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have $325 billion in combined unfunded pension liabilities.  When you break that down, it comes to $22,000 for every single working adult in the state of California.

#18 Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the combined pension liability for all 50 U.S. states.  What they found was that the 50 states are collectively facing $5.17 trillion in pension obligations, but they only have $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds.  That is a difference of 3.2 trillion dollars.  So where in the world is all of that extra money going to come from?  Most of the states are already completely broke and on the verge of bankruptcy.

#19 According to one recent survey, 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything at all to retirement savings.

#20 According to another recent survey, 24 percent of all U.S. workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age at least once during the past year.

#21 Even though prices for necessities such as food and gas have been exploding, those receiving Social Security benefits have not received a cost of living increase for two years in a row.  Many elderly Americans that are living on fixed incomes are being squeezed like they have never been squeezed before.

There are millions of Americans out there that have done everything “right” all of their lives, but that now find the system letting them down in their golden years.

So how badly are some people hurting?  Well, a reader identified as “Anna44″ recently shared with us what some of her family members have been going through in this economy….

My B-I-L was a dealership owner/manager who worked long hours over 38 years and had to close his doors when Saturn was dissolved. When his dealership went under, 72 others lost their job. That’s 72 families who took a hit. He lost his home, everything. A few of his former employees lost their homes as well eventually. They were not lazy or WORTHLESS. It took him a year and a half to finally find something, but now he lives in a hotel unable to qualify for a house or apartment. This is an educated man who competed nationwide for top dog and got it more then once. His biggest fault? He’s almost 60, young enough to need the work, but too old to be hired.

As for my husband- 26 years AF officer, handling millions & billions on International & National levels has just entered his 7th month of unemployment. Two tours abroad- lazy he is NOT. He doesn’t qualify for unemployment, nor is he counted because he gets a retirement check. He wants and needs to work- yet there is little out there. If he doesn’t find something soon, we too will lose the home we sunk every cent into after 20 years of saving for it!

These are Americans that should be getting ready to enjoy their golden years, but that are now fighting just to survive.

Today you will find a disturbingly large number of elderly Americans flipping burgers or welcoming people to Wal-Mart.  But most of them are not doing it because they are bored with retirement.  Rather, most of them are working as wage slaves because that is what they have to do in order to survive.

Sadly, there are a whole lot of companies out there that do not want to hire people that are past a certain age.  If you are older than 50, there are a lot of jobs that you should just basically forget about applying for.

Instead of valuing the experience and wisdom of our elders, our society openly makes fun of them and treats them as undesirables.

If you are afraid of getting old, you are not being irrational.  Getting old is indeed something to fear in this society.  We tend to treat elderly Americans like garbage.

Abuse of the elderly is rampant.  For example, a report from a couple of years ago found that 94 percent of all nursing homes in the United States had committed violations of federal health and safety standards.

As the U.S. economy continues to crumble, the way we treat the elderly is probably going to get even worse.

Right now there is tons of bad news about the economy, and another major economic downturn would put even more pressure on federal, state and local government budgets.

The truth is that there is simply no way that we can keep all of the financial promises that we have made to elderly Americans even if the most optimistic projections for our economy play out.

If the worst happens, we are going to see a lot more elderly Americans eating out of trash cans and freezing to death in their own homes.

The United States is facing a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude.  A comfortable, happy retirement is rapidly going to become a luxury that only the wealthy will enjoy.

For most of the rest of us, our golden years are going to mean a whole lot of pain and suffering.

That may not be pleasant to hear, but that is the truth.

The Coming Doctor Shortage

The United States is going to experience an absolutely devastating doctor shortage in the coming years.  Even now it can be difficult to see a doctor in many areas, and if you are fortunate enough to see one you will probably pay through the nose.  Medical bills have gotten absolutely insane in this country.  Many Americans have gone to the hospital for a few hours, perhaps got to see a doctor for half an hour, and ended up being billed thousands of dollars.  Unfortunately, it is not the doctors that are getting rich from these nightmarish medical bills.  Rather, “the system” is set up so that “the middle men” are the ones raking in most of the cash.  In fact, thousands upon thousands of doctors are being chased out of the profession because being a doctor just isn’t worth the trouble anymore.  According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we were already going to be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years even before Obamacare was passed. Obamacare is just going to make the doctor shortage even worse.  In fact, one poll found that 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to get out of the profession over the next 3 years.  Of course not all of those disgruntled doctors will end up leaving the profession, but even if 10 percent of them quit it is going to create a medical crisis of unprecedented magnitude in this country.

Look, it is no secret that I am not a big fan of the health care industry in the United States.  But if I get into a car accident or someone shoots me then I very much want someone to take me to the hospital and I don’t want to wait a couple of hours to see a doctor.

Unfortunately, the way that the health care industry is set up today is absolutely suffocating for doctors.  The government is trying to tell them how to treat patients, lawyers are constantly looking to sue them and most of the money ends up going to health insurance companies, big pharma and huge health care corporations.

In the old days, all you needed was a bed, a patient, a doctor and maybe a nurse.

After all, how much does it really cost for a doctor to look you over, ask you a few questions and patch you up?

Unfortunately, a whole host of bad guys have gotten between the doctor and the patient these days.  They have all carved out a little bit of “territory” and they all have to be paid.

The health care industry used to be about helping people.

Today it is all about greed, and the system is coming apart.

As the economy collapses, an increasing number of Americans are being forced to rely on programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

For example, back in 1965 only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

This is putting our doctors in a very difficult position.  According to The New York Post, treating Medicare and Medicaid patients is a huge financial strain on U.S. doctors…

Estimates suggest that on average physicians are reimbursed at roughly 78% of costs under Medicare, and just 70% of costs under Medicaid. Physicians must either make up for this shortfall by shifting costs to those patients with insurance — meaning those of us with insurance pay more — or treat patients at a loss.

You understand what all that means, right?

Medical bills have to be jacked up on all the rest of us to make up for the Medicare and Medicaid patients.

But that is just one example of how the system is failing.

Today, it is quite common for medical school students to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt as they go through school.  Then it takes a number of years of really hard work before they become established and at a point where they can start making good money.  Meanwhile, lawyers are constantly circling them like vultures.  Malpractice insurance premiums are absolutely insane at this point and one really bad lawsuit can ruin a career that took decades to build.

In addition, now thanks to Obamacare and other ridiculous regulations that have been passed in recent years, the government has a tremendous amount of control over how medicine is practiced in the United States.  Doctors no longer have the complete freedom to treat their patients as they see fit.

Sadly, a significant percentage of U.S. doctors have had enough and now want to get out.

According to a Merritt Hawkins survey of 2,379 doctors for the Physicians Foundation that was conducted in August of last year, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to “retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care” at some point over the next three years.

When Obamacare was originally being debated perhaps we should have taken some time to ask our doctors what they thought about it first.

Now we could end up with a massive doctor shortage as our doctors vote with their feet.

Right now there are approximately 960,000 doctors in the United States.

What do you think our medical system will look like if even 100,000 of them bail out of the profession?

According to the same survey noted above, 74 percent of U.S. doctors plan to make “one or more significant changes in their practices in the next one to three years, a time when many provisions of health reform will be phased in.”

One big trend that we are seeing right now is the refusal to see certain kinds of patients.  Under our current system, some patients are much more “profitable” than others.  Many doctors have decided that they simply cannot afford to see many of the “unprofitable” patients any longer.

Our health care system is messed up beyond all recognition.  In America, we pay much more for health care than anyone else in the world and what we get in return is a system that is literally falling to pieces.

It would have been nice if we would have gotten some real health care reform, but instead what we got was Obamacare – one of the worst pieces of legislation that has ever been passed in all of modern American history.

An IBD/TIPP poll taken back in August 2009 found that 4 out of every 9 American doctors said that they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passed Obamacare.

Well, it passed anyway.

Now the doctor shortage is about to get a whole lot worse.

Survey after survey shows similar results.

According to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all practicing physicians in the United States indicated that they may leave the medical profession because of the new health care law.

Are you starting to become alarmed yet?

We have a system that is broken and large numbers of doctors are now saying that they simply want to give up.

Sadly, Obamacare is also causing the cancellation of a lot of new hospitals.

According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, the new health care law has already forced the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to open soon.

Not that I am just getting on Obama and the Democrats.  Bush and the Republicans were a complete disaster when it came to health care as well.  Thanks to both political parties we have a health care system that is a joke.

Today, approximately 40% of all U.S. doctors are age 55 or older.  All of those old doctors are thinking about retirement.  They are too old to be putting up with all of this garbage.

It is an open secret that our health care industry has become a giant money making scam and that it is not favorable for either doctors or patients.

According to one doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

So how much of that $13,000 do you think the doctor gets?

Not a whole lot.

There certainly are some wealthy doctors out there, but the truth is that “the system” gets most of the money.

I am sure almost everyone reading this has a medical bill horror story to tell.

In America today, if you have an illness that requires intensive care for an extended period of time, it can be really easy to rack up medical bills that total over 1 million dollars.

In fact, most Americans are scared to even spend a single night in the hospital these days.

It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.  In fact, one trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

Basically, hospitals charge whatever they think they can get away with.  Unlike most transactions, you don’t get to see a “price list” first when you go into the hospital.  You just ask them to take care of you and you trust them to bill you fairly later.

Why should it cost a half million dollars for a simple operation?

It’s not that complicated – the doctor cuts you open, carves something out and then sews you back up.

So why should it cost so much?

Am I missing something?

Sadly, it is those that don’t know how things work that get the worst of it.

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

You should always, always have health insurance if you can afford it.  If you do not have a health insurance company fighting the hospital then it can be really hard to have your medical bills knocked down to a reasonable level.

In any event, as doctors start leaving the profession in droves it may become difficult to find quality medical care at all.

Perhaps even more of us will start going out of the country for medical care.  According to numbers released by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

So what do all of you think about the state of the health care industry in the United States?  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

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