This is what can happen when you go to a socialized healthcare system. A lot of people out there believe that the United States has a free market healthcare system, but that is actually not true. The percentage of the population that receives government-subsidized healthcare is rapidly approaching 50 percent, and the healthcare industry may be the most heavily regulated sector of the entire U. S. economy. Every year the rules, red tape and regulations seem to get even worse, and every year health insurance premiums rise much faster than the overall rate of inflation. If we don’t start applying free market principles and start getting healthcare costs under control, our entire healthcare system could very easily implode. I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article by former DEA agent David Hathaway. According to Hathaway, the average cost for an appendectomy in the United States is $33,000… My son had an attack of appendicitis late Saturday night. I knew that the Obamacare inflated prices for surgery in the U. S. would be ridiculous and that the service would likely be impersonal, involve long waits, and be nerve-wracking. I have friends in the medical field so I inquired just for grins. The price for the latest routine appendectomy in my area was, my jaw dropped, $43,000. I read on-line that the average cost for an appendectomy in the U. S. is $33,000. I am not near some of the great direct-pay medical facilities in the U. S. like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but I am near Mexico. I chose that option since I have often utilized foreign medical and dental facilities in the past and find the service and prices to be outstanding. You can buy a very nice brand new car for $33,000.
Anybody who was watching the July Senate floor vote on the Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will remember the audible gasps that John McCain elicited when he surprised his own party by voting against the plan. And now just four months later, he’s gearing up to do it again. According to the New York Times, McCain may once again decide the fate of one of the Trump administration’s top legislative priorities. The senator from Arizona has been tight-lipped about whether he will vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on the bill, which was voted out of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday with the support of Bob Corker and Ron Johnson, who have both expressed reservations about the plan – Johnson had even said he wouldn’t vote for it. As the NYT points out, McCain has staked his career on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and has bucked his party by voting against tax cuts in the past. McCain’s skepticism of tax cuts stretches at least as far back as 1994. At that time, he was fretting about being fiscally responsible now that Republicans had seized control of Congress. ‘I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the 80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we’ve got a debt that we’ve got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense,’ McCain said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.
With roughly 14 sessions of Congress left before the New Year break, the GOP’s chances of passing comprehensive tax reform by the end of the year – as the White House has promised to do – are looking increasingly remote. So far, the biggest obstacle – as with the Republicans disastrous failure to repeal and replace Obamacare – is the Senate, where disparate groups of lawmakers are opposing the bill for different, and sometimes contradictory, reasons. *** In what has been called a “make or break” marathon negotiating session, at least two Senators have come out against the bill in its current form, sending the administration scrambling to hammer out a compromise on the pass-through rate that would entice Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Montana’s Steve Daines to vote ‘yes’.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.
The Illinois Supreme Court has used STRICT CONSTRUCTION to defend the State against State Employee pensions that have been bankrupting the State. Previously, back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that health care benefits provided to state employees were a ‘permanent benefit’guaranteed by the state constitution. That has led to a complete disaster as healthcare costs have risen out of control thanks to Obamacare, which handed insurance companies more money and a monopoly status that everyone had to have insurance even the y7outh who never used it. Those health care costs are destroying the fabric of the entire economy pushing pension costs over the top. The Supreme Court is mindful of the disaster he caused with its 2014 ruling and they have been obvious under political pressure to reverse it. They figured a way to do this using STRICT CONSTRUCTION. Therefore, the benefit cannot be greater than what was expressed in the statute. Consequently, they now delivered a six-word ruling on Thanksgiving eve refusing to hear the retirees’ appeal of a state Appellate Court ruling that essentially upheld Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s now-completed, three-year phase-out of retiree health care coverage.
At the beginning of the year as the President was assuming office, I penned a piece that focused upon the need for the President to ‘clean house’ regarding the Administration, and putting Congress in its place. I also stressed the need for him to run a ‘tight ship,’ as the midterm elections of Congress in 2018 are going to determine the success of his term. As it stands, things do not look very promising. RINO (Republicans in Name Only) members of Congress have derailed his efforts on everything from Obamacare to Border Control. Every effort the President has initiated has met with dogged resistance. Who are these resistors? To be sure, many of them can be found ensconced within levels of government or government-influenced positions where said position is not necessarily determined or changed by an incoming administration. An example of how this happens is Ben Bernanke, appointed to head the Federal Reserve under George W. Bush, and kept in place by Obama until 2014 when Yellen stepped into the spot. The prime example of an infestation are the holdovers from the Obama administration in the State Department…the same department boasting such ‘winners’ as Victoria Nuland and Hillary Clinton. The State Department that almost singlehandedly (with the help of Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain) toppled the government of Ukraine via coup d’tat, as well as enabling the ‘Arab Spring’ to unfold.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 24th, 2017.
Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance? Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month. When I first came across this story on Zero Hedge, I have to admit that I got angry. I was angry at the Democrats for destroying our healthcare system in the first place, and I was angry at Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare even though they have had almost a full year to do so. Obamacare is financially destroying hard working families all over the nation, and Congress must take action immediately. Originally, Ian Dixon was excited about Obamacare because he thought that it would mean that he could continue to provide health insurance for his family once he left his full-time job. But now that he is facing a bill of more than $3,000 a month, all he is feeling is ‘rage’… Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said. But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month, his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200. ‘Helpless is definitely a good word for it,’ Dixon said. ‘Rage is also a good word for it.’
Just as in 2016, Obamacare could remain one of the major hot button topics for voters going into the 2018 mid-term elections. And unless the Congressional Republicans can hammer out some form of repeal, replace, or adaptation of the Healthcare Act before the end of 2017, then premiums are expected to once again skyrocket for the majority of American families next year. And how high might some of these premiums go? Well in an example from one family in Virginia, their monthly premiums are going to be greater than two-thirds of the average household income for the entire state.
Over the past several months, Democrats have jumped on every opportunity possible to blame the Trump administration for yet another year of staggering Obamacare premium increases. Ironically, despite arguments from the Left that Trump’s defunding of Obamacare’s marketing budget would cause 2018 signups to plunge, as Politico recently noted, they’re actually up in 2018…which begs the question: was the Obama administration just wasting $100 million a year in taxpayer money for nothing? Shocking thought, we know. Meanwhile a fresh barrage of outcries from Democrats, most notably Ms. Nancy Pelosi, came after Trump’s decision to cut federal subsidies, an action which the CBO insisted could result in devastating premium increases of up to 20%. Of course, if Trump is responsible for 20% of Obamacare’s premium hikes in 2018, then perhaps Nancy Pelosi should explain to the Dixon family in Charlottesville, VA precisely who is responsible for the other portion of the 235% premium hike they just received. As the Washington Post points out this morning, the Dixons, a family of 4 in Virginia, were shocked earlier this month to find that their Obamacare premiums were going to surge from roughly $900 per month in 2017 to over $3,000 per month in 2018. Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
As Americans head to the exchanges to purchase their Obamacare plans for 2018, many are experiencing a bit of sticker shock. As the Wall Street Journal points out this morning, folks in Deaf Smith, Texas can expect their premiums to surge 87% next year while those in Clinton, Iowa are looking at a sickening increase of 171%, with monthly premiums surging from $288 to $781. In Deaf Smith, Texas, for example, a 40-year old single individual who earns too much for federal aid will see premiums jump 87% – from about $290 to $540 – according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of prices for a popular, midprice health plan. Only people who make less than 400% of the poverty level – about $48,000 in most states this year – are eligible for federal aid. In Clinton, Iowa, premiums will rise from $288 to $781, an increase of 171%, for the same plan. ‘There is unquestionably a growing divide in affordability between lower-income people who qualify for premium subsidies and middle-income people who do not,’ said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. AnnMarie McIlwain, a patient advocate in Summit, N. J., pays $1,087 a month for a family policy, and her premiums next year are going up 39%. With their deductible, the family’s annual health costs could surpass $20,000. ‘I find it outrageous. I think there’s going to be a huge outcry,’ said Mrs. McIIwain, 56. ‘They have gone up year over year, but never like this.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.
The woman made infamous for flipping off president Donald Trump’s motorcade says she was fired from her job for her childish behavior. Juli Briskman said the marketing company bosses called her in and gave her the boot. But, nonetheless, the 50-year-old says she has no regrets about flipping off the president’s motorcade. Briskman was cycling in Virginia last month when she offered the gesture in what she described as a ‘gut reaction’ to Donald Trump’s policies. ‘He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,’ she told the Huffington Post. ‘I’m thinking, DACA (aka, ‘dreamers,’ children of illegal immigrants who were allowed to stay in the United States) recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one-third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again.’ A photographer traveling with the presidential motorcade snapped Briskman’s picture and the image quickly spread across news outlets and social media. Many hailed Briskman as a hero, with some saying she should run in the 2020 election; while others called her disrespectful, emotionally driven, and childish.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 7th, 2017.
Note how the latest GOP tax plan has converged with that proposed weeks ago by Goldman Sachs pic.twitter.com/rcmczAFPWH — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 6, 2017
It’s official: The Republican tax reform bill is dead on arrival in the Senate now that John McCain has become the third Republican senator to confirm that he plans to vote against it. What’s worse for the Trump administration, McCain reportedly wants the bill to receive input from both parties – a criticism that he cited as his reason for voting against the Trump administration’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is particularly problematic because there’s approximately zero chance that any Democratic lawmakers will break ranks to vote with Republicans, despite President Donald Trump repeatedly saying that he expects to win a modicum of bipartisan support. McCain reportedly confirmed that the bill in its current form is effectively DOA during an interview with Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 6, 2017.
Last week, Donald Trump signed a new executive order facilitating more flexibility for consumers of health insurance. The order allows for more flexibility in purchasing insurance across state lines, and greater freedom both small businesses and groups of consumers in creating “association health plans” (AHPs). In theory, this will broaden access to the benefits currently enjoyed only by those with employment-based insurance, and other types of group insurance. The order paves the way for healthcare reforms long favored by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who believes the reforms will help bring down healthcare costs. In an op-ed for Breitbart, Paul writes: Millions of Americans will be eligible to band together to demand less-expensive insurance. The 28 million individuals left behind by Obamacare will now be eligible for inexpensive insurance. How will it work? Well, nationwide associations like the National Restaurant Association will be allowed to form groups across state lines and, with the leverage of size, demand Big Insurance bring down their outrageous premiums.
Not even a full day after Senators reached a “bipartisan” deal to keep subsidies to health insurers for the next two years, this latest attempt to keep Obamacare alive appears to be dying, because moments after Fox News reported that the Alexander-Murray Bill “will be dead in the House” as many in the GOP “want full repeal and replace”, Bloomberg reported that the bipartisan deal has “stalled out” according to Senator Thune, while Senator Hatch said that he opposes the Alexander-Murray fix altogether. ALEXANDER/MURRAY HEALTHCARE BILL WILL BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL IN THE HOUSE. HOUSE GOP INSISTS ON REPEAL/REPLACE – SOURCES: FOX NEWS ALEXANDER-MURRAY PLAN `HAS STALLED OUT,’ GOP SEN. THUNE SAYS SEN. ORRIN HATCH SAYS HE OPPOSES ALEXANDER-MURRAY OBAMACARE FIX
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.
It appears that President Trump’s action last week has scared lawmakers, as taking the subsidy ‘punchbowl’ away from healthcare providers has been suddenly met with a bipartisan deal that Republican Senator Alexander says would maintain Obamacare safeguards for two years. Healthcare stocks are soaring back from the recent weakness to new record highs… As The Hill reports, Sens Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday that he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 17, 2017.
Some in the news media and editorial page pundits are aghast that many of President Donald Trump’s executive orders and legislative proposals sent off to the United States Congress represent an attempt to undue the presidential ‘legacy’ of Barack Obama. The question is, why should it be presumed that presidents need to have policy legacies to leave behind after their term in office has ended? In this particular case, many of those on the political ‘left’ are focused on the proposals coming out of the Trump White House to repeal and replace ObamaCare – the (un)Affordable Care Act – as well as ‘climate change’ legislation and international agreements, land use and mining regulations, and the Iran nuclear armaments deal. Not All Presidential Legacies are ‘Equal’ in the Eyes of the Pundits An interesting question is whether the news pundits would be in the same public policy uproar if an immediately preceding president had been a classical liberal or libertarian and had left a ‘legacy’ of having dismantled the interventionist-welfare state, which his successor started to intentionally reverse by once more introducing all the same regulatory and redistributive legislation that had been repealed and abolished.
The original, populist, “grassroots” Trump, the one who won the elections before surrounding himself with various Goldman Sachs-derived advisors, made a solid comeback this past week: just consider the flurry of recent actions undertaken by the president. When Trump ran for president last year, he frequently said that only he ‘alone’ could fix the nation’s problems. But once he took office, Trump attempted to follow the lead of Republicans on Capitol Hill, and he watched with dismay how little movement was made on priorities such as healthcare, immigration, and national security. And, after weeks of seeing his agenda imperiled by Republican divisions and infighting among his aides, Trump became a whirlwind of activity this week, reasserting his campaign priorities and trying to deliver wins for his fervent but frustrated base of supporters. Indeed, Trump took steps to dramatically undercut the Obamacare health system, sent notice he was willing to scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, moved to roll back coal-plant limits, and again demanded a wall along the Mexican border. In doing so, Trump reverting back to conflicts and fights that defined the core of his campaign, and which drifted as Trump became increasingly more institutionalized by the Washington swamp. Meanwhile, on Twitter Trump increasingly relished his feuds with the news media, senior Republicans in Congress, and National Football League players who have protested during the national anthem.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.