Category Archives: Medicine

How Could it Have Been Worse? by Eric Peters

Trump is not starting to make Hillary look good, but he may be making her look less bad. From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Maybe it would have been wiser to just sit the last one out. Or even to have done like Khan in Star Trek II and – for hate’s sake – voted for her.

Why not, after all?

It might have turned out better.

Obamacare wasn’t going away in any case; I think we all knew that, deep down. The idea of the feds ever voluntarily giving back power once acquired is preposterous. It is a thing only fools and children could possibly believe in, like Santa Claus.

 

Under her, we would still have Obamacare, of course. But under him, we are now to be dunned $3,000 for each year we elect not to be “covered.” This will have the effect of turning hundreds of thousands of people – possibly millions – into debt slaves or “criminals” or both. A person – young, not much money or perhaps self-employed – goes “without coverage” (but not costing anyone a cent) for say five years and now he “owes” the insurance mafia $15,000. Will the government seize his bank accounts and property and dun his paycheck to collect it on behalf of the mafia?

This is what is meant by Repeal and Replace.

Instead of the so-called Individual Mandate, which belts us with a punitive tax paid to the governmentannually for failing to purchase coverage, we are to be dunned by the insurance mafia – backed by the government – if we elect not to be covered and two to three times as much.

That is the Republicans’ idea of a “market-based health care reform.”

Big corporations using the government to rob us. We might as well all be stamping out license plates in a federal pen someplace.

To continue reading: How Could it Have Been Worse?

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The House of Representatives Endorses Obamacare, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The House of Representatives’ Obamacare replacement tinkers around the edges, but works not meaningful change, because it accepts Obamacare’s premises. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives crafted a partisan compromise bill that endorsed and reinforced the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This was done notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership, who want us to believe that this bill, if it becomes law, will effectively repeal and replace Obamacare.

Obamacare is a stool with four problematic legs. The constitutional leg is the premise that the federal government has the lawful power to regulate the delivery of health care. The legal leg is the premise that the federal government is obliged to provide health insurance to everyone in America. The economic leg commands that everyone in the U.S. purchase and maintain health insurance. And the Orwellian leg says that every physician in the U.S. shall retain all patient records digitally and that federal bureaucrats shall have access to all those records.

None of that is changed in the House-passed bill. Here is the back story.

The original Obamacare proposal had the taxpayers foot everyone’s medical bills through a series of taxes, regulations and controls. That is the so-called single-payer system that former President Barack Obama dreamed of. It would have been much like the systems in place today in Great Britain, Canada and Australia, where one waits for months to see government-employed physicians who are stingy with government-owned medications and mired in red tape and long lines over government-financed medical procedures.

Even many of the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress during Obama’s first two years in office were unable to accept that idea. In its place, they produced a 2,700-page piece of legislation, which candidate Trump vowed to dismantle — saying he favored a market-based, state-regulated system with no federal involvement, the kind we knew in the pre-Obamacare era.

To continue reading: The House of Representatives Endorses Obamacare

2018 Obamacare Premium Estimates Are Surging Again Leaving Obama’s “Legacy” On Life Support, by Tyler Durden

Pretty soon Democrats are going to be begging Trump and Republicans to put Obamacare out of its misery and join hands to come up with some sort of face-saving alternative. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut are the first three states to make their 2018 Obamacare premium estimates public and they paint a very bad picture for the future of Obama’s crowning legislative achievement.  On average, premiums for individual insurance are expected to increase 33% over 2017 with Maryland’s 4 insurers requesting a staggering 45% YoY increase.  Per Bloomberg:

Obamacare

Of course, 2018 premium hikes are only half the story because they come on top of staggering increases in 2017 as well.  Combined, residents of Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia are looking at total premium increases of 59%, 81% and 41%, respectively, over just a two-year period.  As a reminder, here is where rate increases came in, by state, for the 2017 plan year:

Obamacare

 

Of course, the panicked mainstream media is eagerly trying to pin the 2018 premium increases on the Trump administration rather than simply admitting that Obamacare was doomed from the start.  For ‘Exhibit A’ just look at this spin from Bloomberg:

Health insurers are asking for sharp increases in the cost of their Obamacare plans next year, thanks to instability in the law’s coverage markets that’s been compounded by the Trump administration.

The increases can be blamed in part on uncertainty among insurers about the strength of the law’s requirement that people carry insurance. The Trump administration has raised doubts about whether it will enforce what is considered by some insurers to be an already insufficient penalty.

“Failure to enforce the individual mandate makes it far more likely that healthier, younger individuals will drop coverage and drive up the cost for everyone,” Chet Burrell, Chief Executive Officer of CareFirst, said in a statement. The insurer is asking for an at least 50 percent increase in premiums in Maryland. Burrell said uncertainty over the mandate played a “significant role” in the insurer’s rate requests.

Yup, all Trump’s fault…just ignore the fact that Arizona’s rates jumped 145% in 2017…rates which were set in 2016 when Trump was just an unlikely Republican primary candidate.

To continue reading: 2018 Obamacare Premium Estimates Are Surging Again Leaving Obama’s “Legacy” On Life Support

 

The True Face Of ‘Health Reform’ by Karl Denninger

The big problem with medicine is its cost, and a big part of its costs stem from the fact that medicine has become a government-cosseted cartel and racket, engaging in price fixing and exclusion of competition. From Karl Denninger at theburningplatform.com:

If you want to know why fixing “health care” is so difficult you need only read this article.

From Akron to Youngstown and Canton to Cleveland, as in cities and towns across the country, workers who once walked out of factories at the end of each shift now stream out of hospitals.

While manufacturing employment has fallen nearly 40 percent in northeastern Ohio since 2000, the number of health care jobs in the region has jumped more than 30 percent over the same period. In Akron, the onetime rubber capital of the world, only one of the city’s 10 largest employers still makes tires. Three are hospitals.

If these were doctors and nurses that might be understandable.  But they’re not.

They’re nearly all paper-pushers who contribute exactly zero to actual consumer care.

The problem is that all of these people draw salaries and thus drive up the cost of medical care by ridiculous amounts.  In fact last month some 20,000 people were added to the “health care” employment rolls and nearly all of them will never provide one second of actual care to an actual person — but every one of them has and will massively drive up your health care costs.  In fact if the average “administrator” in that group makes $40,000 in the last month alone a whopping $800 million per year before their health insurance and employment tax cost was added to your medical bills and yet not one single person got one minute of additional actual care out of that expense.

Next month there will be another $800 million added on which you will be forced to pay.

The next, and at least as-large problem is found in the continual bleating of hospitals and similar that “Medicare doesn’t pay what X costs” as their justification to gouge private parties.  But this claim is false; if you look at many of the so-called “non-profits” you can find myriad examples of this being a flat-out lie, and nowhere is it easier to find than in the hospitals’ lab sections.

Direct operating costs are usually about 10% of the revenue amounts!

To continue reading: The True Face Of ‘Health Reform’

Setting the Stage for Single Payer, by Eric Peters

The Republican alternative to Obamacare will be only marginally better and will not slow the drive for nationalized health care. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Just before a tsunami wave hits, the sea withdraws – briefly– and people who don’t know better enjoy (also briefly) poking around the uncovered sea bed.

What happened yesterday with regard to the replacing – but not repealing (Republicans couldn’t bear to get the government out of the health care business) of Obamacare with a GOP generic version of the same drug but with different side effects all but guarantees a tsunami of another sort:

Nationalized health care.

The so-called “single payer” option. Which, of course, will be very much not an option. Rather than an individual mandate there will be a collective one. The entire country will be cattle-chuted into socialized medicine. We’ll all be “covered” – and taxed to death to pay for it, too. Go to the doctor anytime you like!

And everyone gets the bill.

Like the “rest of the world” – as its love-it-long-time advocates constantly mantra.

Remember this? Repeal… not “replace.”

This has to have been The Plan all along – and the Republicans deserve a steady diet of fish heads – not cooked – in perpetuity. But we’re imbeciles for believing, if we did, that they wouldn’t Lucy-holding-the-football-us again.

Firstly, they did what they always do – which is to Me Too whatever the Democrats do and thereby affirm the essential principle, which is now as set as three-day-old concrete.

Instead of getting rid of Obamacare – which they initially promised they’d do – they enshrined government’s “role” as Medical Decider. The debate going forward will not be about whether government has a “role” issuing fatwas about health care or health insurance but the form that role will take.

Republicans excel at this.

They always have “more efficient” versions of omnipresent government. Remember with whom you are dealing. Republicans are the Party of Lincoln. The guy who “restored the union” . . . at bayonet point. The Southern states were only looking to depart in peace – not to take over the North.

To continue reading: Setting the Stage for Single Payer

A Paler Shade of Gray, by James Howard Kunstler

The health care reform bill will not cure what ails health care because its proponents have no idea what ails health care. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

If you seek to know why this country is in so much trouble, check out the lead reports about the health care reform bill in today’s New York Times, WashPo, and CNN. You will find there is no intelligible discussion in any of them as to what’s actually ailing US health care. All you get is play-by-play commentary about which political tag-team is “winning,” as if this were a pro wrestling match — with an overlay of gloat that the Republicans fell oafishly out of the ring in the early rounds.

Of course, an issue even larger than the health care fiasco is this society’s tragic and astounding inability to discuss anything coherently in the public arena, and that might possibly be traced to the failures of education in our time and its effects on the current crop of editors and news producers — people who grew up hearing that reality was just a constructed “narrative” and that one narrative was as good as another.

So, you would surmise from reading the papers (or their web editions) that the health care problem was simply a matter of apportioning insurance coverage. That is what the stage magicians call misdirection. Any way you cut the dynamics of health insurance, as practiced in the USA these days, it is nothing but racketeering, literally a conspiracy between informed players to swindle uninformed “patients.” The debate in congress (and the news media) is just about who gets to be swindled.

This is almost entirely due to the hocus-pocus of pricing for services. For an excellent dissection of all this, I urge you to read Karl Denninger’s comprehensive manifesto, How To Permanently Fix Health Care For All, which he posted one month ago. You have to wonder whether anybody in congress happened to read this, because the debate has been devoid of any of the crucial points that it addresses.

To continue reading: A Paler Shade of Gray

Student Loans and Healthcare – Two Issues that Will Define American Politics Going Forward, by Michael Krieger

Krieger is undoubtedly correct that student loans and healthcare are and will continue to be defining issues. It’s no coincidence that government’s involvement in both is extensive. From Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Poverty demoralizes. A man in debt is so far a slave; and Wall-street thinks it easy for a millionaire to be a man of his word, a man of honor, but, that, in failing circumstances, no man can be relied on to keep his integrity.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth

Liberty Blitzkrieg readers know that I’ve been extremely critical of our modern U.S. economy for nearly a decade now. I’ve used harsh, but entirely appropriate language, such as rent-seeking, parasitic and criminally corrupt to describe our current financial/economic system. These are not words I use lightly.

I have absolutely no problem with wealth differences within a society, even large discrepancies are fine as long as the general population is benefits substantially from overall growth trends. This is not the case in today’s economy.

I support a real free market economy where barriers to entry are low, and in which small business and competition thrives. Unfortunately, this is not the case in today’s economy. Rather, America has largely become a neo-feudal society where a mass of debt slaves are lorded over by government protected, monopolistic, rent-seeking oligarchs and racketeers.

Societies work when people think the system is fair enough and have genuine opportunity for success and standard of living improvement. Societies work when the people who become fabulously wealthy are individuals who have created a product or service that benefits society at large. In contrast, people shouldn’t become wealthy by preying on their fellow citizens and driving them into destitution and debt bondage, but that’s precisely what is happening in many industries today. Our society rewards the worst sort of behavior, and as we observed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, protects and further empowers white collar criminals for destroying the global economy.

To continue reading: Student Loans and Healthcare – Two Issues that Will Define American Politics Going Forward