Tag Archives: Medicare

The average US couple could be facing a new tax of $180,360, by Simon Black

The potential costs of being screwed by Social Security and Medicare are substantial. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Today the federal government will release a nearly $5 TRILLION annual budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021 (which begins on October 1st of this year).

Needless to say, that’s more money than any government has ever spent in the history of the world.

And there are a few things in particular that are worth highlighting:

First– this budget proposal would create yet another trillion dollar annual deficit. And that’s simply astonishing.

Think about it: this is supposed to be the ‘everything is awesome economy’. The stock market is at a record high. Corporate profits are at record highs. Unemployment is at record lows.

If the government can’t make ends meet when the economy is this good, how many trillions will these people burn when the next economic downturn arrives?

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Doug Casey on the Crisis “Medicare for All” Will Cause

“Medicare for All” will be in even bigger disaster than the present Medicare system, which will be flat broke in ten years. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

International Man: Medical-care spending in the United States is more than double that of any other developed country. The extra spending doesn’t amount to better quality care or a healthier American population.

What’s your take on the US system as a whole?

Doug Casey: It’s full of problems. And they’re likely to get worse.

First of all, it’s highly politicized. Almost nothing can be done without government approval. It’s becoming more and more like your local DMV.

The system revolves around the FDA. In theory, it should protect the consumer, but in fact it does the opposite. The FDA should be renamed the Federal Death Authority, because it kills more people every year than the Defense Department does in a typical decade.

Why do I say that? For one thing, it takes 10 years for a new drug to be approved, and it averages not just $1 billion dollars, but now more than $2 billion for the typical drug to be approved—and only very few are ever approved. That’s because there’s only a minimal risk to the FDA in not approving them but a huge risk that they’ll be embarrassed if something goes wrong with one that is approved.

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Health Care Laws Should Be Abolished, by Doug Casey

Government is the cause, free markets are the solution for the health care “crisis.” From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

How to reform the U.S. “health care” system is a continuing topic in the news. I put that phrase in quotes because it’s a misnomer. You don’t insure your health – that can’t be done. You can only insure that the costs of medical care, if your health fails, will be covered. Saying “health care” makes people think that someone else will magically assure their health, which is impossible. Collectivists like to use the phrase as part of their continuing war on what words mean, and how people think.

Health is something you do for yourself with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle decisions. Medical care is something very different; it’s what you need for acute trauma or disease. People want good health, but all insurance can give them is hospitals, doctors, and medicines – all of which are scary.

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Media and Politicians Ignore Oncoming Financial Crisis, by Ron Paul

If you keep spending money you don’t have, sooner or later you go broke. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

The mainstream media was too busy obsessing over Russiagate to notice that, according to an annual Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees report, the Social Security trust fund will run out of money by 2035. The trustees also reported that the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund will be empty by 2027.

The trustees’ report is actually optimistic. Social Security is completely funded, and Medicare is largely funded, by payroll taxes. Therefore, their revenue fluctuates depending on the employment rate. So, when unemployment inevitably increases, payroll tax revenue will decline, hastening Medicare and Social Security’s bankruptcy.

Another dark cloud on the government’s fiscal horizon involves the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which provides federal bailouts to bankrupt pension plans. The PBGC currently has an over 50 billion dollars deficit. This deficit will almost certainly increase, as a number of large pension funds are likely to need a PBGC bailout in the next few years. Congress will likely bail out the PBGC to avoid facing the wrath of voters angry that Congress did not save their pensions.

Unfunded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare are not included in the official federal deficit. In fact, Congress raids the Social Security trust fund to increase spending and hide the deficit’s true size, while leaving the trust fund with worthless IOUs.

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The Social Security Fiscal Black Hole Has Arrived, by Andrew Moran

The fiscal doomsday so many of us have warned about for so long is at our doorstep. From Andrew Moran at libertynation.com:

The fiscal black hole surrounding Social Security and Medicare had been talked about long before mankind got its first glimpse of the interstellar phenomenon. Like the particles and electromagnetic radiation absorbed in the galactic monster’s path, the American people face an event horizon, a point of no return. Unless drastic actions are taken by good folks in the swamp, the only hope for the next generation of retirees is that scientists discover a wormhole connecting this reality with an alternative universe that practices prudence and responsibility.

Social Insecurity And Medican’t

According to the Social Security Administration’s trustee report, the cost of maintaining this entitlement program will exceed the revenue it generates next year. The last time this happened was in 1982.

Last year, SS received $1.003 trillion in income, including $885 billion from the payroll tax, $83 billion in interest, and $35 billion from taxing benefits. At the same time, it spent about $1 trillion: $988.6 billion on benefits, $6.7 billion on administration, and $4.9 billion on retirement expenses.

With the 1.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) later this year, SS expenses will exceed the money it receives. Based on current trends, SS will exhaust its reserves by 2035 and officially be insolvent. The other disappointing takeaway is that the projected bankruptcy date is one year sooner than previous estimates.

Medicare also faces a gaping budget hole. The overseers of this government benefit say it is slated for bankruptcy by 2026. This would result in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical care providers receiving only a portion of their payments.

It isn’t all bad news. Social Security’s disability program is expected to remain in the black for an extra 20 years to 2052.

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Just released: Social Security earned a pitiful 2.8% on your money last year, by Simon Black

Social Security is broke and next year expenses will exceed revenues. Medicare is broke, too. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Hot off the presses: The Board of Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare programs in the United States just released their annual report a few minutes ago.

And if you want to read all of its gory detail, check it out for yourself here.

Both of these programs are massively and terminally underfunded. And not by a little bit.

The Board of Trustees itself calculates Social Security’s long-term shortfall at a mind boggling $43+ TRILLION.

Simply put, the trust funds don’t have enough money to keep the programs going, at least under the current promises.

They admit right at the beginning of their report that, starting 2020, Social Security’s cost will exceed the money it earns in from interest and taxes.

That’s not some far out date decades into the future. That’s next year. And every year after that.

By 2034, just 15 years from now, Social Security’s primary trust fund will be fully depleted. And one of Medicare’s trust funds will run out of money in 2026.

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Don’t Tell Bernie: Medicare’s Hospital Fund Will Run Out Of Money In Seven Years, by Tyler Durden

Every problem the US faces today pales in comparison to its debt problem. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Ever now and then we get a vivid reminder that America’s biggest threat are not a handful of Facebook ads bought by the KGB, nor Iran’s already brittle regime, nor Venezuela’s hyperinflating basket case of an economy, but over $100 trillion in unfunded future liabilities. Today was one such day, because that’s when the board of trustees for Social Security and Medicare reported that Medicare’s hospital insurance fund – also known as Medicare Part A – will be depleted in 2026, while Social Security program costs would exceed total income in 2020, for the first time since 1982.

Additionally, and in line with previous forecasts, the report also projected that Social Security funds could be fully depleted by 2035, leading to a devastating hit on expected payouts to retirees and other beneficiaries (read none), unless a comprehensive overhaul of the entire program is implemented in the coming years.

As a reminder, the Medicare trust fund comprises two separate funds: The hospital insurance trust fund is financed mainly through payroll taxes on earnings and income taxes on Social Security benefits. The Supplemental Medical Insurance trust fund is financed by general tax revenue and the premiums enrollees pay.

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Half of Health Spending in the US Is Now Government Spending, by Ryan McMaken

The US medical system is at least half socialized, well on its way to full socialized medicine. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

US states continue to expand Medicaid, and it’s happening even in so-called “red states.” CNBC, for instance, reports how voters in “red states” Utah, Nebraska, and Idaho all approved ballot issues to expand Medicaid under new Obamacare provisions. Meanwhile, the voters in these states also handed control of state government to Republican governors and legislators.

At the state level at least, the expansion of government healthcare has now become pretty much a given in nearly all states outside of the South.

It continues to be a big issue in state-level elections, such as in Colorado, where the Republican candidate — who lost the election — spent much of his campaign condemning expansion of “government-run” healthcare.

But let’s face it. A great many voters, whether Republican or Democrat, want to hear the magic words “safety net” when it comes to health care. This is why even voters in Idaho, voted to — as they saw it — expand the healthcare safety net.

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Explaining the High Cost of US Health Care: No Skin in the Game, by Mike Mish Shedlock

Here’s a radical idea. Why not try the same system for health care and medical insurance that brings you a superabundance of reasonably priced groceries at any one of thousands of grocery and superstores: the free market. We’ve tried everything else and all we have is a gigantic mess. From Mike Mish Shedlock at moneymaven.io:

Costs are expensive because there is almost no skin in the game. Graft has taken over.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on healthcare: Why Americans Spend So Much on Health Care—In 12 Charts.

The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other developed nation. It will soon spend close to 20% of its GDP on health—significantly more than the percentage spent by major Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations.

What is driving costs so high? As this series of charts shows, Americans aren’t buying more health care overall than other countries. But what they are buying is increasingly expensive. Among the reasons is the troubling fact that few people in health care, from consumers to doctors to hospitals to insurers, know the true cost of what they are buying and selling.

Contributions to employer-sponsored health coverage aren’t taxed, which makes it less expensive for companies to pay workers with health benefits than wages. Generous benefits lead to higher spending, according to many economists, because employees can consume as much health care as they want without having to pay significantly more out of their own pockets.

The prices of many medicines are hidden because pharmacy-benefit managers—the companies that administer drug benefits for employers and health insurers—negotiate confidential discounts and rebates with drugmakers.

Price Growth Since 2000

Hospitals are becoming more consolidated and are using their market clout to negotiate higher prices from insurers.

Tax Benefits

Contributions to employer-sponsored health coverage aren’t taxed, which makes it less expensive for companies to pay workers with health benefits than wages. Generous benefits lead to higher spending, according to many economists, because employees can consume as much health care as they want without having to pay significantly more out of their own pockets.

The tax benefit is the country’s biggest single income-tax break, costing billions to government revenue.

To continue reading: Explaining the High Cost of US Health Care: No Skin in the Game

Opinion: The next bear market in stocks will spark a retirement crisis, by Howard Gold

A bear market in stocks would substantially reduce the Baby Boomers’ already inadequate savings. From Howard Gold at marketwatch.com:

A recession could decimate even substantial retirement portfolios, and Social Security and Medicare are facing shortfalls
AFP/Getty Images

Almost lost amid the torrent of recent news was a sobering item that will surely have far-reaching consequences.

The U.S. government announced that for the first time since 1982, it is tapping into Social Security trust funds to pay current benefits to recipients and it is dipping into Medicare’s reserves to cover the costs of that program.

The trustees also projected that the trust fund will run out of money by 2034 and that Medicare’s fund for paying costly hospital bills will be depleted by 2026.

That may ultimately force a cowardly Congress to cut benefits, raise taxes, increase the eligibility age, or some combination of the three. For the 52% of Americans who rely on Social Security for more than half their retirement income and the 25% of retirees who get more than 90% of their income from the program, that would be a disaster.

Read: Fixing Social Security starts with us, the voters

But the 10,000 baby boomers who will turn 65 every single day from now until 2029 face an even broader retirement crisis that could cause big social and political fallout.

Over the next few years, we will almost surely confront a bear market and recession that could decimate even substantial retirement portfolios, not to mention financially dicey state and local pension plans and the federal government itself. And those governments will have few tools to fight it. Consider:

• We are in the 10th year of an economic recovery and bull market in stocks. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.86%   has more than quadrupled from its March 2009 bottom, for a compound annual growth rate of 17.5% during that time. Since the S&P 500 has averaged a 10% annual gain over the past 89 years, at some point there has to be a reversion to the mean.