The Beginning Of The End
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Obamacare = A Death Panel For The U.S. Economy

Obamacare LineDid you know that some Americans are being hit with health insurance rate increases of more than 500 percent?  Taking advantage of “the stupidity of the American voter”, the Democrats succeeded in ramming through one of the worst pieces of legislation that has ever come before Congress.  The full implementation of Obamacare has been repeatedly delayed, but now we are finally starting to see the true horror of this terrible law.  Thanks to Obamacare, millions of American families are losing health plans that they were very happy with, health insurance rates are skyrocketing, millions of workers are having their full-time hours cut back to part-time hours, rural hospitals all over the country are dying, and thousands of doctors are being driven out of the industry thus intensifying the greatest doctor shortage in U.S. history.  Obamacare is a slow-motion train wreck of epic proportions, and the full effect of this law is only beginning to be felt.  In the end, the economic impact of this law will likely be measured in the trillions of dollars.

One of the primary reasons why Democrats experienced so much pain during the recent elections was because millions of Americans are receiving some very disturbing letters from their health insurance providers.  At a time when U.S. incomes are stagnating, health insurance rates are rising to absolutely ridiculous levels.

As the New York Times recently reported, even the Obama administration is admitting that “substantial price increases” are on the way…

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled data showing that many Americans with health insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act could face substantial price increases next year — in some cases as much as 20 percent — unless they switch plans.

The data became available just hours before the health insurance marketplace was to open to buyers seeking insurance for 2015.

An analysis of the data by The New York Times suggests that although consumers will often be able to find new health plans with prices comparable to those they now pay, the situation varies greatly from state to state and even among counties in the same state.

Originally, Barack Obama promised that if we liked our current health plans that we could keep them.  Well, it turns out that was not true at all.  Instead, the vast majority of us will eventually have to move to new plans if we have not done so already.  This is particularly true for those that purchase health insurance individually.  The following is an excerpt from an NBC News investigation

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

This is something that actually happened to me.  I received a letter in the mail informing me that my new health insurance policy which meets the requirements of Obamacare will cost me nearly twice as much as my old one.

Needless to say, I was not too thrilled about that.

Other Americans are being hit even harder.  For instance, one family down in Texas got hammered with a 539 percent rate increase

Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.

These rate increases are coming at a time when the middle class in the U.S. is already steadily shrinking.  A lot of families that are already stretched to the breaking point are making the very painful decision to give up health insurance entirely.  At this point, there are millions of families that simply cannot afford it.

But Obama is not about to let those people off the hook.  In fact, huge tax penalties are on the way for those that do not participate in the new system…

Penalties for failing to secure a health-insurance plan will rise steeply next year, which could take a big bite out of some families’ pocketbooks.

The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” said senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.

In 2014, Obamacare’s first year, individuals are facing a penalty of $95 per person, or 1 percent of their income, depending on which is higher. If an American failed to get coverage this year, that penalty will be taken out of their tax refund in early 2015, Adams noted.

While that might be painful to some uninsured Americans who are counting on their tax refunds in early 2015, the penalty for going uninsured next year is even harsher. The financial penalty for skipping out on health coverage will more than triple to $325 per person in 2015, or 2 percent of income, depending on whichever is higher.

Children will be fined at half the adult rate, or $162.50 for those under 18 years old.

No wonder so many people are so angry with the Democrats.

And as Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber has so infamously observed, Obamacare never would have become law if the American people had been told the truth about what it would do to them.

It has been documented that Gruber has visited the White House about a dozen times since 2009, and he has been one of the leading intellectual proponents of Obamacare.  A video in which he states that “the stupidity of the American voter” was “really critical” to the passage of Obamacare has gone viral over the past week.  I have posted a copy of this video below…

What he is essentially saying is that the Democrats purposely deceived the American people because it was the only way that Obamacare was going to become law.

And this is a man that has become very wealthy advising government on healthcare matters.  According to an article in the Washington Post, he has made millions of dollars from “consulting” in recent years…

Not all of the contracts could be found on public Web sites, but here is a sampling. In some cases, Gruber worked with other consultants, so the fees were shared. These figures also might not represent the final payout, and of course these are gross figures, before expenses. But it’s safe to say that about $400,000 appears to be the standard rate for gaining access to the Gruber Microsimulation Model.

Michigan: $481,050

Minnesota: $329,000

Vermont: $400,000

Wisconsin: $400,000

Gruber has also earned more than $2 million over the last seven years for an ongoing contract with HHS to assess choices made by the elderly in Medicare’s prescription-drug plan.

If you are Gruber, life is quite good.

But for most of the rest of America, the economic pain continues.

For example, one recent study found that almost half of all Floridians cannot even afford “to pay for basic necessities”…

Nearly half of Florida households do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way that seeks to cast a light on the large group of state residents who struggle financially but do not meet the official criteria for being in poverty.

While 15 percent of Florida households are below the poverty level, another 30 percent are financially insecure — a figure that also applies to Sarasota and Manatee counties — based on a new measurement developed by the United Way.

If all those people cannot even afford the basics, how are they going to pay for Obamacare?

This law is going to financially cripple millions of American families.  It truly is a death panel for the U.S. economy.  And because Barack Obama can veto anything that the Republicans in Congress do, we are stuck with it for at least another two years (and probably longer).

So what about you?

Have your health insurance premiums gone up yet?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

How Will The Economy Improve In 2014 If Almost Everyone Has Less Money To Spend?

Piggybank - Photo by Damian O'SullivanIs the U.S. consumer tapped out?  If so, how in the world will the U.S. economy possibly improve in 2014?  Most Americans know that the U.S. economy is heavily dependent on consumer spending.  If average Americans are not out there spending money, the economy tends not to do very well.  Unfortunately, retail sales during the holiday season appear to be quite disappointing and the middle class continues to deeply struggle.  And for a whole bunch of reasons things are likely going to be even tougher in 2014.  Families are going to have less money in their pockets to spend thanks to much higher health insurance premiums under Obamacare, a wide variety of tax increases, higher interest rates on debt, and cuts in government welfare programs.  The short-lived bubble of false prosperity that we have been enjoying for the last couple of years is rapidly coming to an end, and 2014 certainly promises to be a very “interesting year”.

Obamacare Rate Shock

Most middle class families are just scraping by from month to month these days.

Unfortunately for them, millions of those families are now being hit with massive health insurance rate increases.

In a previous article, I discussed how one study found that health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.

Most middle class families simply cannot afford that.

Earlier today, I got an email from a reader that was paying $478 a month for health insurance for his family but has now received a letter informing him that his rate is going up to $1,150 a month.

Millions of families are receiving letters just like that.  And to say that these rate increases are a “surprise” to most people would be a massive understatement.  Even people that work in the financial industry are shocked at how high these premiums are turning out to be…

“The real big surprise was how much out-of-pocket would be required for our family,” said David Winebrenner, 46, a financial adviser in Lebanon, Ky., whose deductible topped $12,000 for a family of six for a silver plan he was considering. The monthly premium: $1,400.

Since Americans are going to have to pay much more for health insurance, that is going to remove a huge amount of discretionary spending from the economy, and that will not be good news for retailers.

Get Ready For Higher Taxes

When you raise taxes, you reduce the amount of money that people have in their pockets to spend.

Sadly, that is exactly what is happening.

Congress is allowing a whopping 55 tax breaks to expire at the end of this year, and when you add that to the 13 major tax increases that hit American families in 2013, it isn’t a pretty picture.

This tax season, millions of families are going to find out that they have much higher tax bills than they had anticipated.

And all of this comes at a time when incomes in America have been steadily declining.  In fact, real median household income has declined by a total of 8 percent since 2008.

If you are a worker, you might want to check out the chart that I have posted below to see where you stack up.  In America today, most workers are low income workers.  These numbers come from a recent Huffington Post article

-If you make more than $10,000, you earn more than 24.2% of Americans, or 37 million people.

-If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans.

-If you make more than $30,000, you earn more than 53.2% of Americans.

-If you make more than $50,000, you earn more than 73.4% of Americans.

-If you make more than $100,000, you earn more than 92.6% of Americans.

-You are officially in the top 1% of American wage earners if you earn more than $250,000.

-The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year.

It is important to keep in mind that those numbers are for the employment income of individuals not households.  Most households have more than one member working, so overall household incomes are significantly higher than these numbers.

Higher Interest Rates Mean Larger Debt Payments

On Tuesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries rose to 3.03 percent.  I warned that this would happen once the taper started, and this is just the beginning.  Interest rates are likely to steadily rise throughout 2014.

The reason why the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is such a critical number is because mortgage rates and thousands of other interest rates throughout our economy are heavily influenced by that number.

So big changes are on the way.  As a recent CNBC article declared, the era of low mortgage rates is officially over…

The days of the 3.5% 30-year fixed are over. Rates are already up well over a full percentage point from a year ago, and as the Federal Reserve begins its much anticipated exit from the bond-buying business, I believe rates will inevitably go higher.

Needless to say, this is going to deeply affect the real estate market.  As Mac Slavo recently noted, numbers are already starting to drop precipitously…

The National Association of Realtors reported that the month of September saw its single largest drop in signed home sales in 40 months. And that wasn’t just a one-off event. This month mortgage applications collapsed a shocking 66%, hitting a 13-year low.

And U.S. consumers can expect interest rates on all kinds of loans to start rising.  That is going to mean higher debt payments, and therefore less money for consumers to spend into the economy.

Government Benefit Cuts

Well, if the middle class is going to have less money to spend, perhaps other Americans can pick up the slack.

Or maybe not.

You certainly can’t expect the poor to stimulate the economy.  As I mentioned yesterday, it is being projected that up to 5 million unemployed Americans could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of 2014, and 47 million Americans recently had their food stamp benefits reduced.

So the poor will also have less money to spend in 2014.

The Wealthy Save The Day?

Perhaps the stock market will continue to soar in 2014 and the wealthy will spend so much that it will make up for all the rest of us.

You can believe that if you want, but the truth is that there are a whole host of signs that the days of this irrational stock market bubble are numbered.  The following is an excerpt from one of my recent articles entitled “The Stock Market Has Officially Entered Crazytown Territory“…

The median price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P 500 has reached an all-time record high, and margin debt at the New York Stock Exchange has reached a level that we have never seen before.  In other words, stocks are massively overpriced and people have been borrowing huge amounts of money to buy stocks.  These are behaviors that we also saw just before the last two stock market bubbles burst.

If the stock market bubble does burst, the wealthy will also have less money to spend into the economy in 2014.

For the moment, the stock market has been rallying.  This is typical for the month of December.  You see, the truth is that investors generally don’t want to sell stocks in December because they want to put off paying taxes on the profits.

If stocks are sold before the end of the year, the profits go on the 2013 tax return.

If stocks are sold a few days from now, the profits go on the 2014 tax return.

It is only human nature to want to delay pain for as long as possible.

Expect to see some selling in January.  Many investors are very eager to start taking profits, but they wanted to wait until the holidays were over to do so.

So what do you think is coming up in 2014?  Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

Piggybank - Photo by Damian O'Sullivan

Obamacare: The Final Nail In The Coffin For The Middle Class

CoffinIf there were any shreds of hope left that the stunning decline of the middle class could be turned around, Obamacare has absolutely destroyed them.  Over the past decade or so, the middle class in the United States has been absolutely eviscerated.  The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by 27 million since the year 2000, median household income in the U.S. has fallen for five years in a row, and the poverty numbers in this country are spiraling out of control.  And now here comes Obamacare.  As you will see below, Obamacare is causing millions of Americans to lose their current health insurance policies, it is causing health insurance premiums to explode to absolutely ridiculous levels, and it is systematically killing jobs even though the employer mandate has been delayed for a while.  All of this is creating a tremendous amount of stress for millions of middle class families that are already stretched extremely thin financially.  According to CNN, a survey that was conducted earlier this year found that 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  Most of those families simply cannot afford to pay much higher health insurance premiums for new policies that also come with much larger deductibles and significantly increased out-of-pocket costs.  Millions of those families will ultimately end up choosing to do without health insurance altogether, and that will create a whole host of new problems.  This is a disaster that is so enormous that it is really hard to put into words.  If the U.S. health care system was a separate country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire globe all by itself.  And now Obamacare is going to bring the entire U.S. health care system to its knees.

Obamacare: Since October 1st, The Number Of Americans With Health Insurance Has Fallen By Nearly 4 Million

Last week, Barack Obama decided to allow Americans to keep their current health insurance plans for one more year.

Isn’t that generous of him?  Especially considering the fact that he promised us over and over that if we liked our current health insurance policies that we would be able to keep them permanently.

The funny thing is that Obama is not actually changing the law.  So if your health insurance company allows you to stay on your current health insurance plan that does not meet the requirements of Obamacare, it is technically breaking the law.

And if you continue to stay on that current health insurance plan that does not meet the requirements of Obamacare, you are technically breaking the law.

It is just that Obama has promised not to enforce what the law says for one year.

For a president to just blatantly disregard the rule of law is a very dangerous precedent.  Do we really want the president to have the power to decide what laws are going to be enforced and what laws are not going to be enforced?

That sounds dangerously close to a dictatorship to me.

And in any event, there are many Americans that are not going to be able to keep their current policies no matter what Obama says.  For example, just two hours after Obama announced his plan last week, the state of Washington announced that they would not be allowing insurance companies to extend their old health insurance plans if they don’t comply with Obamacare under any circumstances…

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has rejected President Obama’s proposal to allow insurance companies to extend health insurance policies for people who have received notices that their policies will be cancelled at the end of the year.

Within two hours of President Obama’s news conference announcing the proposed administrative fix for Americans upset by their policy cancellations, Kreidler issued a statement rejecting the proposal.

“I understand that many people are upset by the notices they have recently received from their health plans and they may not need the new benefits [in the Affordable Care Act] today,” he said. “But I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market.”

“I do not believe his proposal is a good deal for the state of Washington,” Kreidler’s statement continued. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”

How do you think the people of the state of Washington will respond to that?

Things are getting crazy out there, and the number of people that are losing their health insurance policies is absolutely stunning.

According to the Wall Street Journal, so far 106,185 Americans have enrolled in Obamacare since October 1st.  Most of those that have successfully enrolled have done so through the state insurance exchanges.  So far, only 26,794 Americans have signed up for health insurance using the federally run exchanges on HealthCare.gov.

Meanwhile, during that same time frame, 4.02 million Americans have had their health insurance policies cancelled.

So that means that the number of Americans with health insurance has actually decreased by 3,918,205 since October 1st.

Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to result in more Americans being covered?

And according to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Obama not only knew that this would happen, he actually wrote the regulation that caused this to happen…

“I’m still learning about it. It’s 20,000 pages of regulations. The Bill was 2,000 pages and I didn’t realize this until this week, the whole idea of you losing or getting your insurance cancelled wasn’t in the original Obamacare. It was a regulation WRITTEN BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, three months later. So we had a vote, this is before I got up there. The Republicans had a vote to try to cancel that regulation so you COULDN’T BE CANCELLED, to grandfather everybody in. You know what the vote was? Straight party line. EVERY DEMOCRAT VOTED TO KEEP THE RULE THAT CANCELS YOUR INSURANCE.”

So now millions of Americans, including women battling cancer, are losing health insurance plans that they were depending upon.

Thanks Obama?

Obamacare: Skyrocketing Health Insurance Premiums

How much more are you willing to pay for health insurance than you are paying right now?

10 percent?

20 percent?

30 percent?

Well, according to one study health insurance premiums for men are going to go up by an average of 99 percent under Obamacare and health insurance premiums for women are going to go up by an average of 62 percent under Obamacare.

And of course some groups are going to see increases that are much larger than that.  For example, it is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent.

Ouch.

And there are some families out there that have already been hit with health insurance premium increases that are absolutely jaw-dropping.  In a previous article, I included the example of one family down in Texas that has been hit with a 539% rate increase…

Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.

Obamacare: Enormous Deductibles And Huge Out-Of-Pocket Expenses For All

It isn’t just health insurance premiums that are going up either.  Deductibles are going up too.  In fact, just check out what one survey of Americans living in seven different states recently discovered

Expenses for some policies can reach $6,350 for a single person and $12,700 per family, the most allowed by the health-care law, according to a survey by HealthPocket Inc. of seven states, including California and Ohio. That’s 26 percent higher than the average deductible in the seven states, and a scenario likely repeated across the country, said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at Sunnyvale, California-based HealthPocket.

That same article has a great quote from an elderly New Jersey resident.  82-year-old Larry Saphire thinks that if you have to pay a $5,000 deductible up front, “you might as well not have any insurance at all”…

“If you have to pay $5,000 upfront” when illness hits, “you might as well not have any insurance at all,” said Larry Saphire, 82, of West Orange, New Jersey, who shopped for coverage for his wife and two children, ages 16 and 21. “That’s not insurance.”

On California’s state-run exchange site, the standard low-premium “bronze” plan carries a $5,000 deductible per person, a $60 co-pay to see a doctor and a 30 percent fee, known as coinsurance, on hospital care. In Rhode Island, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s bronze plan has a $5,800 deductible while Missouri’s U.S.-run exchange offers plans by Anthem Blue Cross with the maximum-allowable $6,350 in out-of-pocket costs.

Obamacare: The Quality Of Care Is Going To Go Into The Toilet

A lot of Americans that are signing up for Obamacare are going to be in for a huge shock.  Many of the best hospitals and many of the best doctors are not covered by their plans

Meanwhile, sometime between March and June, the other shoe drops: People who bought exchange policies realize that the restricted networks insurers created to keep the premium costs low cut out the best hospitals and doctors. A newly insured child with cancer cannot get into a top pediatric hospital because her insurance has zero coverage for out-of-network emergency care. Tearful Mom goes on the evening news and says that she thought when they went on Obamacare, that meant they were safe, and why can’t I take my baby to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, Mr. President?

Can you imagine being a parent in that situation?

In response, some hospitals are already filing suit over this.  For instance, check out what is happening over in Seattle

Seattle Children’s Hospital filed suit against Washington State’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner this week, after Obamacare implementation caused the hospital to be cut from four of the six insurance plans offered by the new Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

And even if you are on Medicare that does not mean that the quality of your care is going to stay the same either.  As Reuters just reported, UnitedHealth is dumping “thousands of doctors” from their Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly because of Obamacare…

UnitedHealth Group dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company’s other healthcare business. The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.

In the United States, we already pay much more for health care than everyone else in the world, and we typically have to wait longer to see a doctor than most of the rest of the industrialized world does.

Now Obamacare is going to make all of this even worse, and the quality of the care that we receive is going to go downhill fast.

Obamacare: The Jobs Killer

A while back, Obama unilaterally made the decision to delay the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.

That was probably a good political decision, because it would have been a huge political issue in the 2014 elections.

But the truth is that we won’t have to wait until 2015 for Obamacare to start killing jobs.  In fact, according to CNBC it is already happening…

Approximately one-third of business decision-makers at companies with between 40 and 500 employees, say the health-care law has already increased their costs due to hikes in both the cost of insurance and compliance, according to a recent report from political-research firm Public Opinion Strategies. As a result, many business leaders say they are already making personnel decisions based on the Affordable Care Act.

Among franchised businesses, 27 percent report their company has replaced full-time workers with part-time workers and 31 percent have reduced worker hours. Among non-franchised businesses, 12 percent are replacing full-time workers with part-time workers or reducing hours. This is happening now, with more than a year before the mandate goes into effect; and undoubtedly, these numbers will rise as we approach next July’s “look back” period for tabulating workers’ hours.

It is kind of startling that we are already seeing employers make such big changes even though the employer mandate does not come into effect until 2015.  You can find a very long list of some of the employers that have already either eliminated jobs or cut hours because of Obamacare right here.

Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Once we get closer to the deadline things are going to get much, much worse.

At a time when the middle class desperately needs jobs, Obamacare is going to slaughter them.

And even if you are able to keep your current job, that does not mean that your health plan will remain the same.  In fact, Forbes is projecting that a staggering 51 percent of all employment-based health insurance plans will be canceled and replaced with new ones.

Overall, Forbes is projecting that an astounding 93 million Americans will eventually lose their current health insurance policies due to Obamacare.

Obamacare: Providing Huge Incentives For Many Americans To Work Less And Make Less Money

Did you know that Obamacare is going to cause millions of Americans to want to keep their incomes under certain levels?

If you make too much money under Obamacare, you will miss out on some absolutely massive health care subsidies.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

—–

The figures that you are about to see were calculated using the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator.  These numbers apply to a husband and a wife that are both 62 years old.

A non-smoking, married couple living in San Francisco, California earning $63,000 a year will have to pay $20,318 a year for a silver plan under Obamacare and $12,647 a year for a bronze plan.

At $63,000, that couple would be making too much money to be eligible for a subsidy, so that couple will have to pay the total cost of whatever plan they choose by themselves.

But if that couple only made $62,000 a year, things would dramatically change.

The plans would still cost the same, but the couple would now be eligible for an Obamacare subsidy of $14,428.

So a silver plan would end up costing them only $5,890, and they would ultimately pay nothing for a bronze plan.

In other words, by reducing their income by $1,000, that couple would save $14,428 if they got a silver plan or they would save $12,647 if they got a bronze plan.

Isn’t that bizarre?

—–

In the end, millions upon millions of middle class families will decide to go without health insurance entirely for one reason or another.

This will work great until they get into an accident or become seriously ill.

As I have discussed previously, approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills.  And most of those bankruptcies actually happen to people that are supposedly “covered” by health insurance.

Obamacare is going to make all of this so much worse.  Millions of middle class families will end up with no health insurance at all, and because so many of them are living paycheck to paycheck a single health emergency will be enough to send them hurtling down the path to financial oblivion.

If you get into an accident, a visit to the emergency room and a single night in the hospital can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in many areas of the country.

If you get a serious illness such as cancer, the medical bills can be absolutely astronomical.  For instance, there are many cancer patients that rack up medical bills well in excess of a million dollars by the time that they die.

Something desperately needs to be done about our horrible health care system.  Unfortunately, Obamacare is going to make just about everything that is bad about our current system much, much worse.

And the American people are becoming increasingly disgusted and frustrated with Obamacare.  According to Real Clear Politics, an average of recent opinion polls shows that the American people are opposed to Obamacare by an average margin of 14.2 percentage points.

So what do you think about Obamacare?

Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below, and please share this information with as many people as you possibly can.

Coffin

10 Signs That Obamacare Is Going To Wreck The U.S. Economy

Obamacare LineIt is hard to find the words to adequately describe how much of a disaster Obamacare is turning out to be.  The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost.  It is almost as if Obamacare was specifically designed to wreck the U.S. economy.  Not that what we had before Obamacare was great.  In fact, I have long argued that the U.S. health care system is a complete and total train wreck.  But now Obamacare is making everything that was bad about our system much, much worse.  Americans are going to pay far more for health care, the quality of that care is going to go down, they are going to have to deal with far more medical red tape, and thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering getting rid of the health plans that they offer to employees altogether due to Obamacare.  If the U.S. health care system was a separate nation, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet, and now Obamacare is going to absolutely cripple it.  To say that Obamacare is an “economic catastrophe” would be a massive understatement.

Of course we were assured that it wouldn’t turn out this way.  We were promised over and over that we were going to pay less for health care, get better coverage, and be able to keep our current health plans if we were pleased with them.  The following is what Obama said at a rally in 2009

“First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.”

Oh really?

That was such a dramatic lie that even NBC News is turning on him.  They discovered that Obama has known for three years that most people that rely on individual health insurance policies would not be able to keep them…

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Pretty much everything that Obama told us when he was selling us on his plan has turned out to be a lie.

So what can we expect from Obamacare moving forward?  The following are 10 signs that Obamacare is going to wreck the U.S. economy…

#1 It is being projected that millions upon millions of Americans are going to lose their current health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare.  Most will be faced with the choice of either purchasing much more expensive health insurance or going uninsured.  This will put even more stress on a middle class that is already disintegrating rapidly.  The following is from the recent NBC News investigation mentioned above…

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

#2 The health insurance premium increases that some families are experiencing are absolutely mind boggling.  According to Mike Adams of Natural News, one family in Texas just got hit with a 539% rate increase…

Obamacare is named the “Affordable Care Act,” after all, and the President promised the rates would be “as low as a phone bill.” But I just received a confirmed letter from a friend in Texas showing a 539% rate increase on an existing policy that’s been in good standing for years.

As the letter reveals (see below), the cost for this couple’s policy under Humana is increasing from $212.10 per month to $1,356.60 per month. This is for a couple in good health whose combined income is less than $70K — a middle-class family, in other words.

According to NBC News, an elderly couple in North Carolina was hit with a similar rate increase…

George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was “perfectly happy” with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The “comparable” plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.

Many Americans that were formerly in favor of Obamacare are now against it after they have seen what it is going to do to their budgets.  The following is one example of this from a recent Los Angeles Times article

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

#3 Obamacare actually includes incentives for people to work less and make less money.  The following is one example from a recent article by Sean Davis

In California, a couple earning $64,000 a year would not qualify for health care subsidies. A bronze plan for them through Kaiser would cost them about $1,300 each month, or $15,600 a year. But if that same family earned just $2,000 less, it would qualify for over $14,000 in annual health care subsidies, dropping their premiums for that same Kaiser plan to less than $100 per month.

#4 Thankfully the employer mandate in Obamacare was delayed for a little while, but it will ultimately result in widespread job losses all over the country.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.  The following is from a recent article in the Economist

BEFORE the recession, Richard Clark’s cleaning company in Florida had 200 employees, about half of them working full time. These days it has about 150, with 80% part-time. The downturn explains some of this. But Mr Clark also blames Barack Obama’s health reform. When it comes into effect in January 2015, Obamacare will require firms with 50 or more full-time employees to offer them affordable health insurance or pay a fine of $2,000-3,000 per worker. That is a daunting prospect for firms that do not already offer coverage. But for many, there is a way round the law.

Mr Clark says he is “very careful with the threshold”. To keep his full-time workforce below the magic number of 50, he is relying more on part-timers. He is not alone. More than one in ten firms surveyed by Mercer, a consultancy—and one in five retail and hospitality companies—say they will cut workers’ hours because of Obamacare. A hundred part-timers can flip as many burgers as 50 full-timers, and the former will soon be much cheaper.

You can find a very long list of some of the employers that have either eliminated jobs or cut hours because of Obamacare right here.

#5 Even if you are able to keep your job, there is no guarantee that your employer will continue to offer health insurance as an employee benefit.  In fact, it is being reported that large numbers of employers have already decided to no longer offer health insurance to their employees because of Obamacare.

#6 According to CBS News, so far the number of people that have had their health insurance policies canceled is more than three times greater than the number of people that have signed up for new policies under Obamacare…

CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies — more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

#7 If what is going on in New York is any indication, those that are signing up for health insurance under Obamacare are going to have a really, really hard time finding a doctor

New York doctors are treating ObamaCare like the plague, a new survey reveals.

A poll conducted by the New York State Medical Society finds that 44 percent of MDs said they are not participating in the nation’s new health-care plan.

Another 33 percent say they’re still not sure whether to become ObamaCare providers.

Only 23 percent of the 409 physicians queried said they’re taking patients who signed up through health exchanges.

#8 Obamacare is turning out to be a gold mine for hackers and identity thieves.  The personal information of millions of Americans could potentially end up being compromised.  According to CNN, Healthcare.gov was found to be teeming with security holes…

The Obamacare website has more than annoying bugs. A cybersecurity expert found a way to hack into users’ accounts.

Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.

And according to the New York Post, Healthcare.gov has been designed so badly from a security standpoint that it might have to be “rebuilt from scratch”…

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said ObamaCare’s website, already a tangled mess, might need to be rebuilt from scratch to to protect against cyber-thieves because he fears it’s not a safe place right now for health-care consumers to deposit their personal information.

“I know that they’ve called in another private entity to try to help with the security of it. The problem is, they may have to redesign the entire system,” Rep. Mike Rogers said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” political talk show. “The way the system is designed, it is not secure.”

#9 As I noted in a previous article, approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills.  Because millions of Americans are now losing their health insurance policies and millions of others will choose to pay the fine rather than sign up for Obamacare, more Americans than ever will find themselves overwhelmed with medical bills when they get seriously sick.  This will result in even more personal bankruptcies.

#10 In the end, the burden for paying for the subsidies that Obamacare offers is going to overwhelmingly fall on the taxpayers.  This is going to cause our nightmarish national debt to get even worse.  Peter Schiff recently explained why this is going to happen…

It is also ironic that high-deductible, catastrophic plans are precisely what young people should be buying in the first place. They are inexpensive because they provide coverage for unlikely, but expensive, events. Routine care is best paid for out-of-pocket by value conscious consumers. But Obamacare outlaws these plans, in favor of what amounts to prepaid medical treatment that shifts the cost of services to taxpayers. In such a system, patients have no incentive to contain costs. Since the biggest factor driving health care costs higher in the first place has been the over use of insurance that results from government-provided tax incentives, and the lack of cost accountability that results from a third-party payer system, Obamacare will bend the cost curve even higher. The fact that Obamacare does nothing to rein in costs while providing an open-ended insurance subsidy may be good news for hospitals and insurance companies, but it’s bad news for taxpayers, on whom this increased burden will ultimately fall.

So what do you think of Obamacare?

Has it directly affected your life yet?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Power Mad Obama Offers Two Choices: Unconditional Surrender Or Default

Obama SleepingBarack Obama is warning that if he does not get everything that he wants that he will force the U.S. government into a devastating debt default which will cripple the entire global economy.  In essence, Obama has become so power mad that he is actually willing to take the entire planet hostage in order to achieve his goals.  A lot of people are blaming the government shutdown on the Republicans, but they have already voted to fund the entire government except for Obamacare.  The U.S. Constitution requires that all spending bills originate in the House of Representatives, and the House did their duty by passing a spending bill.  If the Senate or the President do not like the bill that the House has passed, then negotiations need to take place.  That is how our system works.  And the weak-kneed Republicans have already indicated that they are willing to give up virtually all of their prior demands.  In fact, if Obama offered all of them 20 dollar gift certificates to Denny’s to end this crisis they would probably jump at that deal.  But that is not good enough for Obama.  He has made it clear that he will settle for nothing less than the complete and unconditional surrender of the Republican Party.

Why is Obama doing this?  Why is Obama willing to bring the country to the brink of financial disaster?

It isn’t hard to figure out.  Just check out what one senior Obama administration official said last week

“We are winning…. It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result,” a senior Obama Administration official told the Wall Street Journal last week.

This is all about a political victory and crushing the Republicans.  Obama doesn’t really care how long this crisis lasts because he believes that he is getting the end result that he wants.

According to Obama, the Republican Party is just supposed to roll over and give him the exact spending bill that he wants and also give him another trillion dollar increase in the debt limit.

If the Republicans do not give him that, he is willing to plunge us into financial oblivion.

The funny thing is that most Americans do not want the debt limit increased.  According to one new poll, 58 percent of all Americans do not even want the debt ceiling to be increased by a single penny.

And recent polls show that Americans are against Obamacare by an average margin of about 10 percent.

But the pathetic Republican Party is actually willing to hand Obama a trillion dollar debt ceiling increase and fully fund Obamacare if Obama will at least give them something.

Unfortunately, Obama won’t even give them the time of day.

So don’t blame the Republicans for what is happening.  The Republicans have already compromised themselves to the point of utter disgrace.  If Obama had been willing to even compromise a couple of inches this entire crisis would already be over.

And nobody should be claiming that the Republicans won’t vote to end this shutdown.  They have already voted to end it.  The following is from a recent article by Thomas Sowell

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

Once again, the Republicans have already indicated that they are willing to fund Obamacare.  They just want Obama to throw them a bone.

And Obama will not do it.

So either the Republicans are going to cave in completely (a very real possibility) or we are going to pass the “debt ceiling deadline”.

What happens then?

Well, we would have more of a “real government shutdown” than the fake shutdown that we are having right now.

Once the federal government cannot borrow any more money, it will only be able to spend what it actually has on hand.  That means that a lot more government functions will have to shut down.

Money will still be coming in to the government, but it won’t be enough to fund everything.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the federal government will still have enough money to pay interest on the debt, make Social Security payments, make Medicare payments, make Medicaid payments, provide food stamp benefits and pay the military if they cut almost everything else out.

The other day, I suggested that the federal government could potentially start defaulting on interest payments on the debt as early as November.  But that would only happen if the federal government manages their money foolishly.

If the federal government managed their money smartly and saved cash for the interest payments as they came due, they would not have to miss any.

But when was the last time the federal government ever did anything “smartly”?

For the sake of argument, however, let’s assume that the federal government can manage money wisely and can save up enough cash ahead of time for large interest payments as they come due.

If that could somehow be managed, then according to Paul Mampilly the government would never need to actually default…

The U.S. Treasury always has money coming into its accounts. So its always got some amount of cash that it can use to pay interest on bonds. That’s especially true right now because the government is partially shutdown and there’s no cash going out from its accounts.

In fact, when you look at it the U.S. Treasury should simply have no trouble making interest payments on bonds that it has issued.

And there’s no restriction on the U.S. Treasury prioritizing interest payments. Why?

The obligation to pay interest is set by the 1917 Second Liberty Bond Act and laws that commanded the Treasury to pay interest on the debt. You can look this up in section 3123 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code and section 4 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and in Supreme Court precedent (Perry v. United States). It’s all there in black and white.

So the only possible way the U.S. defaults on its debt is if Barack Obama, President of the United States, instructs his Treasury secretary Jack Lew to default on the debt.

And according to the Washington Post, Moody’s has just issued a memo that also indicates that the federal government should be able to make all interest payments even if the debt limit is not increased…

In a memo being circulated on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Moody’s Investors Service offers “answers to frequently asked questions” about the government shutdown, now in its second week, and the federal debt limit. President Obama has said that, unless Congress acts to raise the $16.7 trillion limit by next Thursday, the nation will be at risk of default.

Not so, Moody’s says in the memo dated Oct. 7.

“We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact,” the memo says. “The debt limit restricts government expenditures to the amount of its incoming revenues; it does not prohibit the government from servicing its debt. There is no direct connection between the debt limit (actually the exhaustion of the Treasury’s extraordinary measures to raise funds) and a default.”

Of course the federal government would have to stop throwing money around like a drunk gambler at a casino in Las Vegas in order for this to work.

On the very first day of the government shutdown, the feds gave $445 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Apparently Elmo is considered to be “essential personnel” by the Obama administration.

And according to CNS News, the U.S. Army has committed more than $47,000 to buy a mechanical bull during this “shutdown”…

The government shutdown may be keeping furloughed federal workers at home, but on Monday the U.S. Army contracted to buy a mechanical bull.

The $47,174 contract was awarded on Oct. 7 to Mechanical Bull Sales Inc. of State College, Penn.

So needless to say, there is some serious doubt about whether the federal government would be able to manage their money effectively in the event that the debt ceiling deadline passes.

And if the U.S. did start defaulting on debt payments, it would be absolutely disastrous for the global economy as I discussed in a previous article

“A U.S. debt default would cause stocks to crash, would cause bonds to crash, would cause interest rates to soar wildly out of control, would cause a massive credit crunch, and would cause a derivatives panic that would be absolutely unprecedented.  And that would just be for starters.”

Other nations that we depend upon to lend us money would stop lending to us and would start dumping U.S. debt instead.

Could you imagine what would happen if China started dumping a large portion of the 1.3 trillion dollars in U.S. debt that they are holding?

It would be a total nightmare.  The collapse of Lehman Brothers would pale in comparison.

And already some banks are stuffing their ATM machines with extra cash just in case the general public starts to panic.

But none of this has to happen.

If Obama decides to negotiate with the Republicans, this crisis will likely end very rapidly.

If not, and we pass the “debt ceiling deadline”, the federal government will still have enough money to make interest payments on the debt as long as they manage their money correctly.

Unfortunately, Obama seems far more interested in playing political games than he is in solving our problems.

In fact, Park Service rangers have been ordered to “make life as difficult for people as we can” during this government shutdown.  Obama has apparently decided to punish the American people in order to get leverage on the Republicans.  Just check out the following example from a new Weekly Standard article

There’s a cute little historic site just outside of the capital in McLean, Virginia, called the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. They do historical reenactments, and once upon a time the National Park Service helped run the place. But in 1980, the NPS cut the farm out of its budget. A group of private citizens set up an endowment to take care of the farm’s expenses. Ever since, the site has operated independently through a combination of private donations and volunteer workers.

The Park Service told Claude Moore Colonial Farm to shut down.

The farm’s administrators appealed this directive​—​they explained that the Park Service doesn’t actually do anything for the historic site. The folks at the NPS were unmoved. And so, last week, the National Park Service found the scratch to send officers to the park to forcibly remove both volunteer workers and visitors.

Think about that for a minute. The Park Service, which is supposed to serve the public by administering parks, is now in the business of forcing parks they don’t administer to close. As Homer Simpson famously asked, did we lose a war?

The hypocrisy that Obama has demonstrated during this “government shutdown” has been astounding.

He has barricaded open air war memorials to keep military veterans from visiting them, but he temporarily reopened the National Mall so that a huge pro-immigration rally that would benefit him politically could be held.

He has continued to fund al-Qaeda rebels in Syria that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government, but he has been withholding death benefits from families of fallen U.S. soldiers.

The conduct of the Obama administration during this shutdown has been so egregious that is hard to put into words.  Obama has chosen to purposely harm the American people in order to score political points.

But this is how our politicians view us these days.  As Monty Pelerin recently explained, most of our politicians have absolutely no problem with exploiting us for their own purposes…

The concept of political service has been replaced by that of masked exploitation. The public is no longer viewed as clients or constituents to be served. Instead they have become political prey. Politicians see the public as a collection of wallets and votes, fair game to be hunted as the means to expand power and wealth. Constituents are now the Soylent Green of the political food chain.

The political class assumes the public exists to serve them, not the other way around. Public participation beyond the lightening of wallets or the provision of votes is unwelcome. It is considered “interference” that must be deterred by the ruling class.

The political class is now a huge, voracious parasite. Like the plant in the Little Shop of Horrors, its needs have grown to the point where it threatens anything productive. Its needs now exceed the willingness for continued sacrifice on the part of the productive. The parasite threatens the very existence of the host.

The political Ponzi scheme of tax, borrow and spend has reached its limit. Either it will die when citizens turn on it or it will kill the productive, ensuring its own destruction.

It perishes in the end. Whether it takes civilization with it is the bigger question.

Is there anyone out there that still does not believe that our system is broken?

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and power mad Obama will decide to toss the Republicans a few crumbs and this crisis will be resolved.

Because if this crisis is not resolved soon, it could have consequences that are far beyond what any of us could possibly imagine.

Thanks To Obamacare, Employer-Based Health Insurance Is Becoming An Endangered Species

Obamacare 2013Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, and when it comes to health care he has definitely kept his promise.  Thanks to Obamacare, health care spending is up, health insurance premiums are up, the number of hours Americans are working is down and employer-based health insurance is becoming an endangered species.  Of course employer-based health insurance will not disappear completely any time soon, but it has been steadily shrinking for over a decade, and Obamacare will greatly accelerate that decline.  If you go back to 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  That was pretty good.  Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance, and now thousands upon thousands of U.S. employers are considering reducing the scope of the health plans they offer to employees or eliminating them altogether due to Obamacare.  If you are thinking that this sounds like a potential nightmare for millions of Americans families, you would be exactly right.

There have already been widespread reports of companies dropping health insurance, but nobody knows for sure how widespread the carnage will be.  According to Businessweek, the surveys that have been done up to this point have come up with widely varying results…

A Deloitte study last year suggested 10 percent of employers would stop offering group health plans. A widely criticized McKinsey report from 2011 put the number as high as one-third. The Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections suggest 8 million fewer people will be covered by employer plans five years from now under the ACA than without it. Many of them will get policies through health insurance exchanges instead.

But what everyone does agree on is that employer-based health coverage will continue to diminish.

And we are already watching this happen right in front of our eyes.  Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the largest security guard firm in the United States is dropping health coverage for 55,000 employees…

The nation’s largest provider of security guards plans to discontinue its lowest-cost health plans and steer roughly 55,000 workers to new government-sponsored insurance exchanges for coverage next year, in the latest sign of the fraying ties between employment and health care.

The U.S. arm of Sweden’s Securitas AB is among more than 1,200 employers that offer the kind of bare-bones health plans that must be phased out beginning Jan. 1 under the health-care law. Nearly four million people are enrolled in these so-called mini-med plans, which cap benefits to participants, sometimes at as little as $3,000 a year.

“The mini-meds go away and we’re not replacing them,” said Jim McNulty, a spokesman for Securitas’s U.S. operation. “Their option is to go to the exchanges.”

Other big employers, including Darden Restaurants Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Trader Joe’s Co., say they will stop offering health insurance to part-time workers, and will direct those employees to the state exchanges. Darden, Home Depot and Trader Joe’s previously offered mini-meds to their part timers.

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I wrote about how they are eliminating health coverage for part-time workers the other day.  Instead of providing health insurance for their part-time workers, Trader Joe’s will be writing them a check and pushing them on to the Obamacare exchanges

Trader Joe’s, the grocer once lauded for providing health care coverage to its part-time workers, is about to push those employees off its plan.

According to a memo obtained by the Huffington Post, the company will stop covering employees who work less than 30 hours per week.

The change is set for the start of 2014. Instead of insurance, workers instead will get a check for $500 in January.

“Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe’s, we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act (ACA)], many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you,” said Trader Joe CEO Dan Bane in the memo.

And this is a huge reason why the shift from full-time work to part-time work in America has accelerated this year.  Obamacare creates an incentive for companies to have more part-time workers and less full-time workers.  In fact, almost all of the jobs that have been “created” by the U.S. economy in 2013 have been part-time jobs.

But it is incredibly difficult to try to support a family on a part-time job.  Sadly, the quality of our jobs continues to decline rapidly and only 47 percent of all adults have a full-time job in America today.  This is only going to continue to get even worse under Obamacare.

As a result of these trends, more Americans are going to be forced to go out and buy health insurance “on the individual market”.  When they do, they are likely to be in for a really nasty surprise

Andy and Amy Mangione of Louisville, Ky. and their two boys are just the kind of people who should be helped by ObamaCare. But they recently got a nasty surprise in the mail.

“When I saw the letter when I came home from work,” Andy said, describing the large red wording on the envelope from his insurance carrier, “(it said) ‘your action required, benefit changes, act now.’ Of course I opened it immediately.”

It had stunning news. Insurance for the Mangiones and their two boys,which they bought on the individual market, was going to almost triple in 2014 — from $333 a month to $965.

The insurance carrier made it clear the increase was in order to be compliant with the new health care law.

Are you ready to have your health insurance premiums potentially double or triple?

In other cases, families are discovering that health insurance companies are simply cancelling their health insurance plans

Across the country, insurers are sending out ObamaCare-induced health plan death notices to untold tens of thousands of other customers in the individual market. Twitter users are posting their ObamaCare cancellation notices and accompanying rate increases:

Linda Deright posted her letter from Regency of Washington state: “63 percent jump, old policy of 15 yrs. cancelled.” Karen J. Dugan wrote: “Received same notice from Blue Shield CA for our small business. Driving into exchange and no info since online site is down.” Chris Birk wrote: “Got notice from BCBS that my current health plan is not ACA compliant. New plan 2x as costly for worse coverage.” Small-business owner Villi Wilson posted his letter from HMSA Blue Cross Blue Shield canceling his individual plan and added: “I thought Obama said if I like my health care plan I can keep my health care plan.”

In fact, this even happened to one member of Congress.  U.S. Representative Cory Gardner had purchased health insurance on his own because he wanted to experience what his constituents were going through, and he recently got a letter informing him that his old plan had been “discontinued”…

“After my current plan is discontinued,” he wrote last week, “the closest comparable plan through our current provider will cost over 100 percent more, going from roughly $650 a month to $1,480 per month.” He now carries his ObamaCare cancellation notice with him as hardcore proof of the Democrats’ ultimate deception.

Is this what Obama was talking about when he promised that we could keep our old health insurance plans if we were happy with them?

In the end, millions upon millions of us are going to get pushed on to the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.

We were promised that there would be lots of competition and that prices would be reasonable.

Unfortunately, in some areas of the country it turns out that the “exchanges” are turning out to be “monopolies” where consumers will only have one company to choose from

“Although seven insurance companies currently operate in North Carolina, under the new Obamacare exchanges, those options will dwindle down to one in the majority of counties,” Ellmers said Thursday following the disclosure of figures by federal health officials showing that more than 60 percent of North Carolina counties will have only one insurance provider option under Obamacare: Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“The whole point of an online marketplace was to provide options, so North Carolinians could go online, compare prices, and choose plans from different companies. That is how competition is supposed to work!,” Ellmers said.

Beginning October 1 under Obamacare, Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the only health insurance provider serving the entire state of North Carolina in the new Obamacare exchanges, serving all 100 of the state’s counties. Its competitor Coventry Health Care, which is owned by Aetna, will only reach 39 counties.

That leaves 61 counties, or 61 percent of all the state’s counties, in a Blue Cross Blue Shield-only zone.

Not only that, but a lot of these exchanges are not even going to be ready to function properly on October 1st.  For example, according to the Washington Post, the D.C. “health marketplace” is a complete and total mess at this point…

Just days away from launch, the District of Columbia’s health marketplace is announcing a pretty significant delay.

While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to the their premium prices until mid-November. The delay comes after the District marketplace discovered “a high error rate” in calculating the tax credits that low- and middle-income people will use to purchase insurance on the marketplace.

The insurance marketplaces, if working as plan, are supposed to spit out an estimate for a tax credit after a shopper enters in some basic information about where she lives and how much she earns. In the District, that won’t happen next month. Instead, the eligibility determination will be made “off-line by experts” by early November.

So who is going to benefit from this new system?

Well, it turns out that the health insurance companies will greatly benefit.  Health insurance companies helped write Obamacare, and their stock prices have absolutely soared since Obamacare was signed into law.  If you doubt this, just check out the amazing charts in this article.

Not that they were hurting under the old system either.  They have been raking in gigantic mountains of cash for years while trying to provide as little health care as possible.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam“.

For the rest of us, Obamacare is going to be even worse than the old system.  A 2013 Health Care Survey that polled 200 top health care professionals discovered the following about what they believe Obamacare will bring…

– 53 percent, “Quality of health insurance policies will suffer.”

— 51 percent, “Quality of care will go down.”

— 49 percent, “The law is overly complicated.”

— 42 percent, “Insurance exchanges will be poorly managed.”

— 37 percent, “The law still allows insurance companies to be the middleman.”

— 32 percent, “Too complex for businesses.”

— 19 percent, “Americans will die earlier.”

So Americans are going to pay more, get worse care, have more paperwork and a more complicated system, and they are likely to die younger too?

Wow, that sounds like a great deal.

Where do we sign up?

America: Where Hard Working, Productive Members Of Society Pay For The Health Care Of Everyone Else

ObamacareEverybody in America wants health care – but most Americans seem to want someone else to pay for it.  In the United States today, the way that our system works is that the hard working, productive members of society pay for the health care of everyone else.  At least under socialism everyone gets the same benefits.  Our system of health care is a very twisted version of socialism where millions upon millions of very hard working people are forced to pay for the health care of others, but often can’t afford to purchase decent health insurance for themselves.  Personally, I don’t have a big employer paying for my health care so I have to buy it myself, and I just got a letter from my health insurance company telling me that I have another massive rate increase coming up.  Have you gotten a similar letter?  Health insurance premiums are going up all over America, and this is just the beginning.  In fact, the CEO of Aetna says that health insurance rates for many Americans will double when the major provisions of Obamacare kick in next year.

It would be bad enough if hard working Americans just had to pay for their own health insurance.  But no, they are also expected to pay for the health care of members of Congress, employees of the IRS and other federal agencies, state and local government employees, their adult kids (because they can’t afford health insurance), the elderly, the poor, and now under Obamacare they will also be expected to subsidize the health plans of tens of millions of other Americans that are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

When you add it all up, the hard working, productive members of society are at least partially subsidizing the health care of well over half of all Americans while having to pay for their own health care at the same time.

Needless to say, it isn’t too hard to see who is getting the raw end of the deal.

Members of Congress certainly don’t want to pay for their own health care.  There was panic in the halls of Congress recently when they started realizing that due to certain provisions in Obamacare they may soon be forced to pay for their own health insurance plans.  There was widespread moaning and complaining about how they would be facing “thousands of dollars in additional premium payments” every year.

Things got so bad that Barack Obama got personally involved in the effort to find a solution.  Thankfully, members of Congress can relax because a ruling is being issued that will allow the federal government to continue to subsidize 75 percent of the cost of their health plans…

Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.

A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.

And the IRS, which has been put in charge of imposing the rules of Obamacare on all the rest of us, is freaking out about the fact that some members of Congress would like to force them to personally participate in Obamacare

The union that represents IRS employees is urging its members to write to their congressmen to help get the union out of Obamacare.

The following are some excerpts from a letter that the union that represents IRS employees sent to members of Congress…

“H.R. 1780 would put federal employees in a special class where they would be prohibited from receiving health insurance through their employer. It would treat federal employees differently from state and local government employees and most employees of large private sector companies who receive health insurance benefits through their employer. The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to provide a marketplace for the sale and purchase of health insurance for those who do not have such coverage – not to take coverage away from employees who already receive it through their employers,” the letter reads.

“I work hard and am proud of the services that I provide to your constituents every day. One of the main benefits I receive as a federal employee is the ability to purchase health insurance coverage through the FEHBP with an employer contribution towards those benefits. Please let me know your views on this legislation. I look forward to hearing back from you,” the letter concludes.

This is just shameful.  If the IRS is going to impose Obamacare on the rest of America, then it should be good enough for them too.

Just check out acting IRS chief Danny Werfel begging for employees of his agency not to have to go on Obamacare…

But we have always had to at least partially subsidize the health plans of federal, state and local government workers.

The big change under Obamacare is that we will soon be subsidizing the health plans of tens of millions of our fellow Americans.

CNN says that 26 million Americans will be eligible for health insurance subsidies, but others believe that the true number is far, far higher than that.

For example, according to CNBC, a family of three in New York that earns $78,120 a year would be eligible for a subsidy of more than five thousand dollars…

In New York, a family of three whose annual income totals $78,120, would pay $12,784 for the second-lower-priced silver plan on that state’s insurance exchange. After getting a $5,363 tax credit, the family’s net cost for the insurance would be $7,421.

So who pays for that?

You and I do through our tax dollars.

And if you can believe it, Obamacare actually provides an incentive to not work too hard, because if you make too much money you could lose your health insurance subsidy…

Working more could ultimately mean thousands of dollars less for you under a quirk in the new health-care law going into effect this fall. This could prompt some people to cut back on their hours to avoid losing money.

“Working more can actually leave you worse off,” the price-comparison site ValuePenguin.com notes in a new analysis.

“It’s sort of an absurd scenario,” said Jonathan Wu, ValuePenguin.com’s co-founder. “It’s something for people to be aware of.”

In that scenario, an individual or family whose annual income surpasses maximums set by the federal government—if only by $1—will totally lose subsidies available to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

What a perverse system.

And of course Obamacare will allow young adults to stay on the health insurance policies of their parents until they reach 26 years of age.  As I mentioned the other day, 36 percent of all young adults in the 18 to 31 age bracket are currently living with their folks.  In most of those cases, the parents have to end up footing the bill for health care because the kids simply cannot afford it.

Medicaid continues to expand as well.  Certainly helping the poor is a very good thing, but unfortunately the number of poor just continues to explode.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Right now, 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.

It is going to take a whole lot of money to support 72 million Medicaid patients.

And then of course there is Medicare.

When Medicare was first established, we were told that it would cost about $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around.

Instead, it actually cost the federal government $110 billion in 1990, and it will cost the federal government close to $600 billion this year.

But if you think this is bad, just wait until all of the Baby Boomers retire.  It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from a little bit more than 50 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.  By then, we would be spending well over a trillion dollars a year on Medicare.

As you can see, under Obamacare the vast majority of all Americans will have their health care at least partially subsidized.

And it expected that our tax dollars will somehow be enough to pay for all of this.

The truth is that we have a deeply broken system.  Costs are spiraling out of control and nobody is quite sure how to fix things.  The following statistics come from one of my previous articles entitled “50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam“…

-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.

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

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

-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.

The sad thing is that many hard working Americans in the private sector are being forced to subsidize the health care of others, but they can’t even afford decent health care for themselves.

For example, I know of one hard working couple that has a health plan that has a $1,000 deductible.  Even with that deductible, their health insurance premiums are absolutely ridiculous.  Their health care strategy is simply to avoid going to the hospital or visiting a doctor as much as possible.

And of course health insurance companies make money by providing as little health care as possible.  Many Americans have discovered that when you need them the most, some health insurance companies will try to get out of covering you any way that they possibly can.

The reality is that just because you have health insurance that does not mean that you are “covered”.

According to a study that was published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved people that actually did have health insurance.

So what is the bottom line?

The bottom line is the system stinks, and Obamacare is going to make things a whole lot worse.

Goodbye Full-Time Jobs, Hello Part-Time Jobs, R.I.P. Middle Class

GraveyardA fundamental shift is taking place in the U.S. economy.  In fact, this transition is rapidly picking up momentum and is in danger of becoming an avalanche.  The percentage of full-time jobs in our economy is steadily declining and the percentage of part-time jobs is steadily increasing.  This is not a recent phenomenon, but now there are several factors which are accelerating this trend.  One of them is Obamacare.  The truth is that Obamacare actually gives business owners incentive to cut hours and turn full-time workers into part-time workers, and according to the Wall Street Journal and other prominent publications this is already happening all over the United States.  Perhaps this is part of the reasons why the U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month.

In a recent article entitled “Restaurant Shift: Sorry, Just Part-Time“, the Wall Street Journal explained the choices that employers are faced with thanks to Obamacare…

The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent workers to offer affordable insurance to employees working 30 or more hours a week or face fines. Some companies have said the requirement could increase their costs significantly, although others have played down the potential hit.

The cost for small firms to comply with the health law will depend largely on the number of additional full-time employees that sign up for employer-sponsored coverage. Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2012 were $5,615 for single coverage and $15,745 for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That is up from $3,083 and $8,003, respectively, in 2002.

Thankfully the implementation of this aspect of Obamacare was recently delayed, but a lot of employers are saying that it won’t make a difference.  They know that it is coming at some point, and so they are already making the changes that they feel they will need to make in order to comply with the law…

Restaurant owners who have already begun shifting to part-time workers say they will continue that pattern.

“Does the delay change anything for us? Absolutely not,” Mr. Adams of Subway said, explaining that whether his health-care costs go up next year or in 2015, he will have to comply with the law. “We won’t start hiring full-time people.”

This is very sad, because we have already been witnessing a steady erosion of “breadwinner jobs” in this country.

It is very, very difficult to support a family if you just have a part-time job or a temp job.  But those are the jobs that our economy is producing these days.

In fact, if you can believe it, the second largest employer in the United States is now a temp agency.  Kelly Services is actually the second largest employer in the country after Wal-Mart.

Isn’t that crazy?

And full-time employment continues to lag far, far behind part-time employment.  The number of part-time workers in the United States recently hit a brand new all-time record high, but the number of full-time workers remains nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast“.

At this point, employees are increasingly considered to be expendable “liabilities” that can be dumped the moment that their usefulness is over.

For example, employees at one restaurant down in Florida were recently fired by text message

It’s bad enough losing your job, but more than a dozen angry employees say they were fired from a central Florida restaurant via text message.

Employees at Barducci’s Italian Bistro said they lost their jobs without notice after the restaurant suddenly closed and are still waiting for their paychecks.

This shift that we are witnessing is fundamentally changing the relationship between employers and employees in the United States.  The balance of power has moved very much toward the employers.

Most employers realize that there is intense competition for most jobs these days.  If you get tired of your job, your employer can easily go out and find a whole bunch of other people who would be thrilled to fill it.

So why has the balance of power shifted so dramatically?

Well, for one thing we have allowed millions upon millions of good paying jobs to be shipped out of the country.  Now American workers literally have to compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

This should have never happened, but voters in both major political parties kept voting for politicians that were doing this to us.

Now we all pay the price.

Another factor is the rapid advancement of technology.

These days, businesses are trying use machines, computers and robots to automate just about everything that they can.  The following example comes from a recent Business Insider article

On a windy morning in California’s Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.

The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can “thin” a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.

The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization — fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they’re sensitive to bruising.

So what happens when the big corporations that dominate our economy are able to automate everything?

What will the rest of us do?

How will the middle class survive if they don’t need us to work for them?

Over the past couple of centuries, we have witnessed several fundamental shifts in our economy.

Once upon a time, a very high percentage of Americans worked for themselves.  There were millions of farmers, ranchers, small store owners, etc.

But then the industrial revolution kicked in to high gear and big corporations started to gain more power.  Millions of Americans went to work for these big corporations, but it was okay because they paid us good wages to work in their factories and the middle class thrived.

Unfortunately, the big corporations have realized that things have changed and that they don’t really need us anymore.  They can replace us with technology or with super cheap labor overseas.

So that leaves the rest of us in quite a quandry.  Very few of us own our own businesses.  In fact, the percentage of self-employed workers in the United States is at an all-time record low.  And the number of us that are needed by the monolithic corporations that dominate our system is dropping by the day.

All of this is very bad news for the middle class.  The only thing that most of us have to offer is our labor, and the value of our labor is continually declining.

Unless something dramatic happens, the future of the middle class looks very bleak.

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