Posts Tagged ‘Health Insurance’

75 Ways That The Government And The Financial Elite Will Be Sucking Even More Of The Life Blood Out Of The American People In 2011

75 Ways That The Government And The Financial Elite Will Be Sucking Even More Of The Life Blood Out Of The American People In 2011

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse

The American people are experiencing financial death by a thousand cuts and most of them don’t even realize it.  The U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite are draining us financially in dozens upon dozens of different ways, and yet we have become so programmed to accept it that it just seems normal to us.  2011 is rapidly approaching, and a whole slate of federal taxes is scheduled to go up, state taxes are being increased from coast to coast, local governments are finding new and creative ways to stick it to us and the financial elite are becoming more predatory than ever. 

Meanwhile, the incomes of many average Americans are actually going down.  According to the Census Bureau’s annual survey of income and poverty in the United States, of the 52 largest metro areas in the nation, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income during 2009.  Tens of millions of Americans are flat broke and they are getting pissed off.  According to a new poll conducted by CNBC, 92 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is either "fair" or "poor".  The American people desperately want someone to fix the economy, but instead our "leaders" are trying to come up with new and creative ways to drain even more money out of us.

In no particular order, the following are 75 ways that the U.S. government, state governments, local governments and the financial elite will be sucking even more of the life blood out of the American people in 2011….

#1 State governments across the U.S. are raising fees and taxes in so many different ways it is staggering.  A reader named Richard recently sent me an email in which he described the shock that he experienced when he recently received his license plate renewal notice in the mail….

I just got a license plate renewal notice from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. When I opened the envelope and saw the amount of the renewal, I was shocked. The amount seemed much higher than usual.

I have a computerized record of all my financial transactions over the last many years. I looked up previous DMV license plate renewals and I saw


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Obama’s Address to the Nation: A Missed Opportunity to Tell It Like It Is

Obama’s Address to the Nation: A Missed Opportunity to Tell It Like It Is

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

With the sound on, his words hung in the air with all the force of a fundraiser for your local public access TV station. Everything seemed to be in the passive tense. He had authorized deepwater drilling because he “was assured” it was safe. But who assured him? How does he feel about being so brazenly misled? He said he wanted to “understand” why that was mistaken. Understand? He’s the President of the United States and it was a major decision. Isn’t he determined to find out how his advisors could have been so terribly wrong? 

Tomorrow he’s “informing” the president of BP of BP’s financial obligations. “Informing” is what you do when you phone the newspaper to tell them it wasn’t delivered today. Why not “directing” or “ordering?” 

The President distinguished what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico from a tornado or hurricane because they are over quickly while the leak is an ongoing crisis, lasting many weeks and perhaps months more. He likened it to an “epidemic.” But the real difference has nothing to do with time. Tornadoes and hurricanes are natural disasters. Epidemics occur because germs mutate and spread. The spill occurred because of the recklessness and ruthlessness of a giant oil company in pursuit of profit. 

And what has the nation learned from all this? The same lesson we’ve known for decades, according to the President. We must end our dependence on oil. But if we’ve known this for decades, why haven’t we done anything about it? The President endorsed the cap-and-trade bill that emerged from the House (without calling it cap-and-trade) but didn’t call for the only thing that may actually work: a tax on carbon. 

I’m a fan of Barack Obama. I campaigned for him and I believe in him. I think he has a first-class temperament. I have been deeply moved and startled by his ability to speak about the nation’s most intractable problems. But he failed tonight to rise to the occasion. Is it because he’s not getting good advice, or because he’s psychologically incapable of expressing the moral outrage the nation feels?

bp robber barons Pictures, Images and Photos

Or is it something deeper?

Whether it’s Wall Street or health insurers or oil companies, we are approaching a turning point as a nation. The top executives…
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Double Digit Health Insurance Hikes Crush Small Businesses

Double Digit Health Insurance Hikes Crush Small Businesses

Courtesy of Mish 

Syringes and pills shaped as a dollar sign

Small businesses across the country are getting hammered by rising medical insurance costs. Blue Shield of California is jacking up rates as much as 76%.

Is this what president Obama meant when he said "Change You Can Believe In"?

The LA Times reports Health insurance rate hikes hitting California small businesses could hurt state’s economic recovery.

Small businesses in California are being hit this year with double-digit hikes in health insurance costs that could hurt the state’s economic recovery as companies curtail plans for hiring and expansion to pay their insurance bills.

Five major insurers in California’s small-business market are raising rates 12% to 23% for firms with fewer than 50 employees, according to a survey by The Times.

Similar increases are being felt by many small businesses across the nation, including those in Texas, Ohio and Florida — mainly the result of escalating costs for medical care and pharmaceuticals, insurers say.

In California, some small businesses say they are stunned by their latest insurance bills. Longtime customers of Blue Shield of California, for instance, are facing rate hikes as high as 76% after the insurer lost money on a handful of plans.

"We don’t have that money," said Ann Terranova, a San Francisco financial planner who is dropping Blue Shield for herself and two employees after learning that their annual premium would jump to more than $19,000 a year from $11,000.

Financial pressures are also squeezing Tessier Cabinet Co., a 59-year-old family business in Montclair. Its president is reluctant to hire because of weak demand for his goods amid a 14% rate hike from Kaiser Permanente. "I’m ready to hang it up," Dan Tessier said.

Small firms nationwide are struggling with the problem as they worry about what the effect of the new national healthcare law. It will impose billions of dollars in taxes on insurance companies and require mid-sized firms to provide insurance for workers or pay fines.

"They are very concerned that their costs aren’t going to go down. They’re just going to go up," said Stephanie Cathcart, a spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Business in Washington. "They’re going to be paying new taxes, new fees. It’s kind of a double whammy on them."

Small businesses say 2010 is shaping up to be their most expensive year


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Health Care Passed; How will Individuals and Corporations React? Who will Opt Out?

Random thoughts on healthcare reform. – Ilene 

Health Care Passed; How will Individuals and Corporations React? Who will Opt Out?

Courtesy of Mish

President Obama managed to arm-twist Congress into passing an unpopular healthcare bill. Not a single Republican voted for it. 

Supposedly the bill will guarantee coverage of 94% of the US population.

Many corporations complain it will increase costs. For example: Deere says health care law will raise expenses

Deere & Co. said Thursday that changes to the health care law signed into law this week will raise related costs this year by $150 million.

The biggest U.S. maker of farm equipment became the second major company in as many days to say it would take a charge for fiscal 2010.

Deere and Caterpillar were among the 10 companies that sent a letter to Congressional leaders in December warning of cost increases. Others were: Boeing Co., Con-Way Inc., Exelon Corp., Navistar Inc., Verizon, Xerox Corp., Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., and Met Life Inc.

The companies say federal subsidies have covered 28 percent of the cost of retiree prescription drug coverage. The government offered the subsidies so that more companies would continue to offer coverage to retirees and keep them off of government-funded Medicare Part D.

Under the health care reforms passed this week, that subsidy will be taxed starting next year, which the companies predicted could significantly increase government health care costs because companies may drop coverage.

"Taxing the subsidy means that more companies will eliminate or reduce the coverage, and more retirees will shift to Medicare Part D, which will create more cost for both the government and the retirees," the companies wrote in their letter.

How Will Corporations React?

Inquiring minds are reading interesting anecdotes about Healthcare on Silicon Investor. A well respected poster Hawkmoon writes …

Mish,

Had a VERY INTERESTING conversation this evening with a CFO for a local business who employs about 100 people total..

I asked him how this health care bill was going to affect the company he works for.

He told me that he had run the numbers based upon providing health care for all of their employees and realized that he could save the company 1/2 million dollars by just paying the $2000 per employee penalty and not offering any coverage at all.

Is this how the government plans on taking over all health


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Obama Posing In Front Of A Row Of Doctors

Is this what they teach in PR school? – Ilene  

Why It’s Ridiculous That Obama Is Posing In Front Of A Row Of Doctors

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock 

obama, doctors

For his latest healthcare announcement, Barack Obama is posing in front of a row of white-coated doctors.

He uses that imagery because people respect doctors, and presume them to be non-partisan. They just want a solution. It helps that they’re dressed in white, because we associate whiteness with angels and other holy beings.

But look, doctors have their own biases too. They have self interested viewpoints — like opposition to a greater use of nurses, technicians, and devices who might cut into their profit margins. And beyond that, it’s just not true that doctors will necessarily be founts of wisdom about policy or economics. In many cases, it’s likely they haven’t spent any time thinking about macro issues.

Obama wouldn’t announce financial reform in front of a line of approving bankers (or insurance executives). Well he looks just as absurd being surrounded by doctors. 

*****

Op-Toons Review, similarly unimpressed: 

President Delivers Yet Another ObamaCare Speech Surrounded by Doctors in Lab Coats

ObamaCare+Photo+Op.jpg

Photo by Optoon’s Review

See also:  Op-Toons Review’s  Fallout 3 "ObamaCare" Expansion Pack Features a Post-"Nuclear Option" World Filled with Mutants Created by Government-Run Health Care


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LET THEM EAT CAKE

This is a terrific article on health care reform by Ellen, who also wrote the books Nature’s Pharmacy and The Key to Ultimate Health . Another excellent article on the subject by Charles Hugh Smith is "Why "Healthcare Reform" Is Not Reform, Part I" (here). – Ilene

LET THEM EAT CAKE:
THE ANOMALY OF COMPULSORY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Let them eat cake,” the notoriously callous words ascribed to Marie Antoinette, were probably said a century earlier by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. But whoever said them, the mindset the statement conveys of an aristocracy oblivious to the realities confronting the poor is still with us today. 

“Congressmen, what shall we do about the 30 million Americans lacking health insurance?”

“Why, that is simple. Force them to buy it. Fine them heavily if they don’t!”

“What if they don’t have the money?”

“Then take it from those who do!”

The health reform bills now coming through Congress are not focused on how to make health care cheaper or more effective, how to eliminate waste and fraud, or how to cut out expensive middlemen. As originally envisioned, the public option would have pursued those goals. But the public option has been dropped from the Senate bill and radically watered down in the House bill. Rather than focusing on making health care affordable, the bills focus on how to force people either to buy health insurance if they don’t have it, or to pay more for it if they do. If you don’t have insurance and don’t purchase it, you will be subject to a hefty fine. And if you do purchase it, premiums, co-pays, co-insurance payments and deductibles are liable to keep health care cripplingly expensive. Most of the people who don’t have health care can’t afford to pay the deductibles, so they will never use the plans they are forced to buy or be fined.  

To subsidize those who can’t pay, the Senate bill would make families earning two to four times the poverty level who don’t have employer-sponsored insurance surrender 8% to 12% of their income to insurance payments, or pay a fine. In another effort to make the insurance payments “affordable,” the Senate bill calls for the lowest cost plan to cover only sixty percent of…
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Decade of No Income Gains

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Decade of No Income Gains

low income Courtesy of Mish

For the first time since the great depression (and possibly even then), US wage earners suffered through A Decade With No Income Gains.

The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.

To me, that’s the big news from the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, which was released this morning. Median household fell to $50,303 last year, from $52,163 in 2007. In 1998, median income was $51,295. All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.

In the four decades that the Census Bureau has been tracking household income, there has never before been a full decade in which median income failed to rise. (The previous record was seven years, ending in 1985.) Other Census data [Historical Income Tables] suggest that it also never happened between the late 1940s and the late 1960s. So it doesn’t seem to have happened since at least the 1930s.

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage

Inquiring minds are digging into the Slide Show Presentation on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008

click on any chart to see a sharper image

income

poverty

percent change in real median income

There are numerous other charts in the slide show on health insurance and poverty levels. Inquiring minds will want to take a look.

David Leonhardt writes "The streak probably won’t end in 2009, either. Unemployment has been rising all year, which is a strong sign income will fall."

Given that we are likely to have Structurally High Unemployment For A Decade, this trend of stagnant or falling wages can last much longer than most realize.

Here’s something to think about: If the housing boom from 2000 to 2007 produced no sustainable wage increases (if indeed any wage increases at all) what will? After pondering that, think about where home prices are going with poor wage potential and tightened lending standards.

Indeed what does this trend say about price pressures in general?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Photo: Low income states, Photo and license at Wikimedia.

 


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Jim Chanos: Short Big Pharma

Jim Chanos: Short Big Pharma

Courtesy of John Carney at Clusterstock

 


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Officials Hint At Higher Taxes For Healthcare

Officials Hint At Higher Taxes For Healthcare

larry summers sleeping tbiCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

Speaking on the Sunday morning shows, neither Tim Geithner nor Larry Summers would rule out the prospect of higher taxes to pay for healthcare:

AP: Geithner and Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama’s intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to reduce the federal deficit; Summers said Obama’s proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.

"There is a lot that can happen over time," Summers said, adding that the administration believes "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what."

During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly pledged "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime." But the simple reality remains that his ambitious overhaul of how Americans receive health care — promised without increasing the federal deficit — must be paid for.

Here’s the problem. It’s not that higher taxes to pay for healthcare are inherently a bad idea. Indeed, if the idea is to expand coverage and leave nobody uninsured then of course reform is going to be expensive. The problem is that it acknowledges the plan has no solution on the cost side. We keep hearing about how we need to bend the cost curve down so that medical care doesn’t swallow up all of our money and bust the deficit. So while we might be able to handle things on the government side, via taxes, it means that overall we’re making no progress on costs — just paying for it in a different way.

Anyway, Republicans will go crazy with the latest statements. We applaud their honesty, but the messaging on healthcare continues to be awful.

obama

See Also:

Obama Loses The Healthcare Debate

 

 

 


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Kidney Donors: We Have A Right To Feel Smug And Superior

Anyone care to share thoughts on paying for organs? Me?  As mentioned before, I’m in favor of a system which includes payment to the estate of donors dying from unrelated causes. For live donors, I’m leaving my opinion open for now, but it wouldn’t be based on abstract concepts such as "sense of satisfaction" and "cheapening the gift."  - Ilene

Kidney Donors: We Have A Right To Feel Smug And Superior

kidney, organ donation, kidney donor, photo via clusterstockCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

With talk of health policy in the air, the conversation is moving beyond money towards bioethics.

This past weekend, Peter Singer wrote in the New York Times magazine that — gasp! — we’d have to draw the line somewhere when it came to expensive end-of-life care.

Anti-abortion groups are claiming that the proposed healthcare reforms are a stealth way of establishing taxpayer-funded abortions as the law of the land. Still others warn: get ready for euthanasia!

And our latest area of fascination, the uber-controversial market for organs, gets more play in the New Yorker (via Megan McArdle).

Legalizing payment for organs is a ferociously controversial topic in the organ world. Opponents fear exploitation—that the poor will become organ suppliers for the rich. (“You can imagine a scenario where someone would say, ‘Welfare? You’ve still got two kidneys!’ the political philosopher Peter Lawler has said. “There would be the expectation that your kidney might be understood as part of your net wealth.”) It is presumably true that most organ sellers would be poor; on the other hand, many of the recipients would be poor also. Others worry that paid donors would have a motive to lie about aspects of their medical history that might cause a transplant center to reject them, and it’s true that while many kidney-related problems can be tested for, some crucial ones can be hidden—a family history of kidney disease or diabetes, for instance, or an individual history of kidney stones or drug abuse. The National Kidney Foundation opposes compensation on the grounds that it would “cheapen the gift”—that it may be an “affront” to those who have already donated. (“The argument that paying organ donors is ‘an affront’ to unpaid donors is disgusting,” Virginia Postrel, who donated a kidney to her acquaintance Sally Satel, wrote on her website. “Are unpaid


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Zero Hedge

Atlanta Mayor Set To Reimpose Lockdown As Cases Surge, Defying Gov Kemp, Trump: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • Atlanta reportedly returning to lockdown mode
  • Texas sees another near-record day for new cases, hospitalizations
  • Georgia reopens convention center in Atlanta to treat COVID patients
  • US sees 799 new deaths, lower than yesterday
  • Phoenix mayor says hospital running out of morgue space
  • California positivity rate ticks higher
  • New Jersey rate of spread
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Actually, Mr Trump, it's stronger environmental regulation that makes economic winners

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Red Hot China Attempting Key Breakout, Says Joe Friday

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Yes, we certainly live in interesting times.  This, the last segment of our multi-part article on the current Q2 and Q3 2020 US and global economic expectations, as well as current data points, referencing very real ongoing concerns, we urge you to continue using common sense to help protect your assets and families from what we believe will be a very volatile end to 2020.  If you missed the first two segments of this research article, please take a moment to review them before continuing.

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RTT browsing latest..

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App-etising? LDprod

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