Medicaid, Medicare and Frivolous Lawsuits make the Best Health Care System in the World more Expensive

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The American left loves Canada.  In particular their single-payer health care system.  This is what they wanted in the US.  Not Obamacare.  But they settled for Obamacare.  Until they get what Canada has one day.  Because it’s better.  At least, according to a chart.  That shows how wonderful Canadian health care is and how horrible American health care is (see The U.S. Health Care System Is Terrible, In 1 Enraging Chart by Mark Gongloff posted 11/22/2013 on the Huffington Post).

Yes, among this group of big countries, the U.S. spends far and away more on health care than any other. And yet it has among the lowest life expectancies of any developed country. People live longer in pretty much every country in Europe, including Greece, where the economy has been wracked by austerity for years…

Why is our system so terrible? Largely because it is built for profit. Unlike many other countries, the government has no role in either providing care or setting prices, and so prices skyrocket. It’s also too complex, which is one reason the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature reform law, has gotten off to such a bad start.

The health care law is supposed to help with the cost problem somewhat. But it is built on the existing privatized system, which means it will probably not make a significant difference. A public option, also known as a “single payer” plan, would help. But that still seems like a pipe dream — although maybe Obamacare’s clumsy rollout will bring it closer to reality.

First of all it should be noted that Canada has one of the finest private health care networks in the world.  Outside of their single-payer system.  Which is something they share with all nations that have some form of national health care.  A private health care network for those who want and can pay for it.  And why is Canada’s private health care network the best in the world?  Perhaps you can guess why when you hear the name of it.  The Untied States health care system.  Just south of the border.

That’s right, for those with the means don’t wait in line for less than the best of health care.  They spend their own money to go to the front of the line to get the best health care available.  In the United States.  Often administered by Canadians.  Because the US pays the best doctors and nurses more than they can get in Canada.  So Canadian doctors and nurses, too, travel south across the border.

The US is one of the only countries where their poor suffer from obesity.  Because of generous food assistance programs.  Also, because we are a for-profit nation our food industry has figured out to give us more food for less.  Our beverage sizes have gotten so big giving us so much value for the money that Mayor Bloomberg tried to limit the size of beverages in New York.  And all American restaurants give us free refills.  Because they can.  While some European countries will charge extra for a package of ketchup.  All of this more food for less has led to our obesity problem.  Giving Americans heart disease and diabetes.  Shortening life expectancies.

US doctors are dropping out of Medicaid.  And Medicare.  More so now that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is rolling out.  Why?  Because the government pays for these nonprofit programs.  And they are constantly trying to reduce their reimbursements.  Because the aging population is straining the Medicaid and Medicare programs.  And the government has addressed this problem by ‘discounting’ Medicaid and Medicare billings.  For years doctors and hospitals have tried to recover these shortfalls by charging more.  Especially insurance companies.  Greatly increasing the cost of health care and health insurance.  But the discounting grew so great that many health care providers just dropped these programs.  Because they couldn’t pay their people, their lab costs, their overhead, etc.  Especially since Obamacare has taken money from Medicare.  And ‘forced’ states to expand their Medicaid rolls.  But these discounted reimbursements aren’t the only thing raising health care costs.

While most of Europe has loser-pay laws to curtail frivolous lawsuits the United States doesn’t.  Because of the trial lawyers.  Who get quite wealthy suing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals.  Exploding the cost of malpractice and liability insurance.  Which increase the cost of doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals.  Forcing them to raise their prices to recover these costs.  Making American health care more costly.

These are the reasons why the US spends more per capita on health care than all other nations.  Because they have the best health care system in the world.  And the best costs more.  While the government forcing health care providers to work below costs (Medicare and Medicaid) and the cost of frivolous lawsuits raise these costs even more.

The American health-care system is not terrible.  Single-payer systems are.  Because they all have a private health care network.  Which they wouldn’t have if single-payer systems were the best systems.  Just ask the Canadians who use their private network.  The US health care system.  Who will probably be the second greatest losers under the Affordable Care Act.  After the Americans.

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Obamacare forces Seniors to give up their Doctors and Medicare Advantage

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 27th, 2013

Week in Review

During the 2012 campaign the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney as a guy that didn’t care if people with cancer lost their health insurance.  In fact, the company he co-founded, Bain Capital, was accused of being so heartless that it wanted people to die from cancer. 

An employee of a steel plant lost his job and his health insurance after Bain took over the failing company and later closed the plant.  And because of this his wife died from cancer.  Even though she had lost her health insurance before the plant had closed.  Yet this one cancer death was very effective in demonizing Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.  Ironically, President Obama will willingly let many people die from cancer to achieve a political end; national health care (see Elderly patients sick over losing doctors under ObamaCare by Carl Campanile posted 10/25/2013 on the New York Post).

Elderly New Yorkers are in a panic after getting notices that insurance companies are booting their doctors from the Medicare Advantage program as a result of the shifting medical landscape under ObamaCare.

That leaves patients with unenviable choices: keep the same insurance plan and find another doctor, pay out of pocket or look for another plan where their physician is a member…

The [sic] are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers who receive Medicare, the public heath [sic]-insurance program for the elderly.

But one in three patients — nearly 900,000 — are enrolled in Advantage, Medicare HMOs run by private insurers…

Federal funding to Medicare Advantage is being pared back by billions of dollars in coming years under the national Affordable Care Act. Obama said spending on the program was higher than regular Medicare and unsustainable.

President Obama said if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance.  And if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  Unless, of course, he wants to gut Medicare Advantage to pay for Obamacare.

He screws his young supporters by forcing them under penalty of law to buy health insurance to pay for the old and sick.  And now he’s screwing the old and sick by taking away their doctors and health insurance.  If he’s willing to screw two large voting blocks that support him imagine what he’ll do to people he doesn’t like.  Like Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party members.  The same conservative group that got special IRS scrutiny during the 2012 campaign.  An election where the Republican base did not turn out like they did during the 2010 elections.  Now imagine how eager they’ll want to be politically active when in addition to special IRS scrutiny the government can take away their doctor.  And deny them treatment for their health problems.  If you want a glimpse into that world you can look here.

Or you can look here.

It can get a little scary when the state becomes all powerful.  Some people at the Founding wanted a more powerful government.  For they were all students of the Enlightenment.  And believed that only like-minded people would ascend to government.  But the Founding Fathers knew their history.  And knew better.  No person should be trusted with power.  For what Lord Acton wrote in 1887 is as true today as it was throughout history.  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

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Medicare Fraud is only a Prelude to Obamacare Fraud

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 5th, 2013

Week in Review

It is remarkable how so many people believe the government can do things better.  That somehow fraud just doesn’t happen with government people involved.  This despite those hundred dollar toilet seats the government bought.  Which is a lot for a toilet seat if you’ve never bought one.  I mean, you can buy one for less than $10.  But because the government is so large and handles so much money they attract fraud like fresh dog poop attracts flies.  There are just too many people.  And too much money.  Making it too easy for someone to slip in a bill for hundred dollar toilet seats.  Which is why fraud is rampant in government programs.  Like Medicare (see ‘Death doctor’ accused of misdiagnosing cancer patients to scam millions out of Medicare a ‘serious risk’ to flee the country posted 10/2/2013 on Mail Online).

A Michigan oncologist charged with intentionally misdiagnosing patients with cancer as part of a major Medicare fraud operation will remain in prison until trial, with court officials scared he will flee to the Middle East.

It is alleged Fata received about $35 million from Medicare via his insurance scam over a two year period.

So what’s the difference between private health insurers and the federal government?  People hate the private insurers for refusing to pay for their medical bills.  To prevent fraud.  Someone concealing a pre-existing condition when buying health insurance is committing an act of fraud.  The whole idea of Obamacare is to prevent this kind of fraud.  By forcing everyone to buy health insurance.  Instead of living their lives without ever contributing to the insurance pool until the day they find out that they have a catastrophic health problem.  And then lie to an insurance company to conceal that catastrophic health problem.  So they can get the health insurance pool to pay for their medical care.  Even though they never contributed to that insurance pool when they were healthy.

This is why people hate private insurance companies.  For preventing fraud.  Which is why you don’t see fraud in the private health insurance companies on the scale you see in Medicare.  Because Medicare uses taxpayers’ money.  So the people in charge of Medicare don’t suffer a loss in any fraud.  Unlike the private health insurers.  So the private health insurers are more aggressive in preventing fraud.  While the federal government just raises taxes to pay for the fraud committed on their watch.  That’s the difference between private health insurers and the federal government.

And if you think the Medicare fraud was bad you ain’t seen anything yet.  Thanks to Obamacare.  With the federal government taking over one-sixth of the national economy we will see fraud like we’ve never seen before.  More money.  More people.  An organization so big the left hand won’t know what the right hand is doing.  Making Obamacare a fraud paradise.  Not to mention a gift for hackers and identity thieves.  Who can find out everything on everyone from one location.  Making that $35 million Medicare fraud seem like child’s play.

Don’t think so?  You’re willing to trust the harden defenses of the government’s computer system?  If so, ask yourself this.  How well did the rollout of Obamacare go this past week?  How well did those computer systems do in collecting the data upfront?  Not well.  And knowing how poorly the rollout was are you any more confident that once they have all of your personal information that their system will work any better?  Or do you think it will just make it easier for people like this doctor in Michigan?

Every bad thing that happened in Medicare will be worse in Obamacare.  Because Obamacare is bigger than Medicare.  And as this fraud takes a bigger bite out of the Obamacare cash-flow there will be less money for treating patients.  Meaning longer wait times.  And rationing.  As well as higher taxes to pay for the fraud.  So we will end up paying more for less under Obamacare.  Just like with Medicare.  Only worse.

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Abortion and Birth Control are Bankrupting Social Security and Medicare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2013

Week in Review

For the first time in history a credit reporting agency (Standard and Poor’s) downgraded the U.S bond rating in 2011.  Why?  The agency said they needed to see $4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years.  The best Congress could do was $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years.  And the creation of a super-committee to find another $1.5 trillion.  For a total of $2.417 trillion in spending cuts.  At least, on paper.  That never happened.  After winning reelection the president held out for and got increases in tax rates.  So he could increase spending.

So how did the U.S. get to where they needed to cut $4 trillion in spending?  Well, a large part of it has to do with abortion (see 55,772,015 Abortions in America Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 by Steven Ertelt posted 1/18/2013 on LifeNews.com).

The United States marks 40 years of legalized abortion in all fifty states at any time for any reason throughout pregnancy on January 22nd, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Since that time, there have been approximately 55,772,015 abortions that have destroyed the lives of unborn children.

Taxpayers pay taxes.  And how do we get taxpayers?  By having babies.  So when we aborted over 55 million babies the effect on tax revenue was profound.  We can see how by making some assumptions.  And doing a little math.

First of all, 55,772,015 abortions over 39 years come to on average 1,430,052 abortions a year.  Dividing this number by two to pair off couples for baby-making that comes to 715,026 couples.  Without abortion available we’ll assume about 80% of these couples will have children.

The first babies of the 715,026 enter the workforce 20 years later.  So in that year the number of additional workers paying taxes equals 2,002,072 (1,430,052 + (0.8 X 715,026)).  The following year the second child of this couple enters the workforce while another couple’s first child enters the workforce.  This brings the additional workers paying taxes equal 3,146,114.  And so on until each couple brings in three new taxpayers into the workforce. Over a decade the number of new workers paying taxes equals 110,685,999.

Assuming a median income of $50,000 these 110,685,999 taxpayers earn a total of $5.5 trillion over ten years.  Assuming an effective federal income tax rate of 18% the total federal income tax these people would have paid equals approximately $996 billion.

Using the 12.4% Social Security tax rate (both employer and employee) the amount of Social Security taxes these people would have provided over 10 years equals approximately $686 billion.

Using the 2.9% Medicare tax rate the amount of Medicare taxes these people would have provided over 10 years equals approximately $160 billion.

Adding these taxes together (Social Security and Medicare) they add up to $847 billion.  Adding this to the amount of federal income taxes brings the amount of taxes these people would have provided over ten years to about $1.8 trillion.

When they wrote Social Security and Medicare into law the average family size had fallen from around 5 to about 3.5 over a decade or so.  If you take that $1.8 trillion and adjust it for 3.5 children (1.8/3 X 3.5) the lost tax revenue equals $2.15 trillion.  At 4 children that lost tax revenue comes to $2.5 trillion.  At 5 children that lost tax revenue comes to $3.1 trillion.  At 6 children it’s $3.7 trillion.

Today’s seniors entered child-bearing age long before women’s liberation, birth control and abortion.  So most women got married and had children.  It is not uncommon for today’s seniors to come from families of 10 children or more.  This is significant because when the actuaries set up Social Security and Medicare they assumed these trends would continue.  But they didn’t.  The birth rate (and the population growth rate) declined since Social Security and Medicare became law.  Causing the population to age.  More people are now leaving the workforce and collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits than there are workers entering the workforce to pay for them.

Abortion has been a part of this decline.  In a current 10-year projection we are seeing anywhere from $1.8 trillion to $3.7 trillion in lost tax revenue due to abortion.  If Roe v. Wade didn’t legalize abortion and the Left didn’t assault the family (encouraging women NOT to get married or have children) during the Seventies as radical feminism took off there would have been a lot more births.  Perhaps as many as those actuaries thought there would be when they calculated the costs of Social Security and Medicare.

If normal family patterns had continued not only would these abortions not have happened families may have had more children.  Producing more taxpayers.  There were 3,136,965 live births in 1973.  The average family size then was about 2.5.  If you divide the number of births by average family size you get about 1,254,786 families having children.  If each of these families had one additional child that additional 1,254,786 children would be approximately 87.7% of the average number of abortions.  If these children grew up to have three children of their own we can calculate this additional tax revenue the same way we did for the loss revenue from abortion.  Or we can multiply the loss revenue from abortion ($1.8 trillion) by 87.7% to approximate what those additional children in 1973 would contribute in a ten-year projection today.  Approximately $1.9 trillion.  Adding the losses from abortion and families having one less child brings the total of loss tax revenue to $4.04 trillion.  Which equals the $4 trillion S&P was looking for in spending cuts.

So what is the cause for America’s deficits?   Is it because the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes?  No.  It’s because of abortion and birth control.  And radical feminism.  That attacked the family and encouraged women to do anything but get married and have children.  Something FDR and his New Dealers never designed Social Security and Medicare to take into account.  For FDR and his New Dealers were sexists.  As are Social Security and Medicare.  These programs require women to marry and have children to stay solvent.

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Thanks to Advances in Medical Care People are Living long enough to Bankrupt Social Security and Medicare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 16th, 2012

Week in Review

People talk a lot about an aging population.  The cost impact on Social Security.  Medicare.  And pensions.  Something the actuaries are experts at doing.  Calculating costs.  The only problem for Social Security, Medicare and pensions is that when the experts calculated these costs medical care wasn’t as good as it is today.  And people were dying a lot earlier than they are today.  And this is the cost impact of an aging population.  People that are NOT dying as early as the actuaries originally calculated (see A sick world: We live longer, with more pain and illness by Kate Kelland posted 12/13/2012 on Reuters).

The world has made huge progress fighting killer infectious diseases, but as a result we now lead longer and sicker lives, with health problems that cause us years of pain, disability and mental distress…

The Global Burden of Disease study, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at Washington University, finds that countries face a wave of financial and social costs from rising numbers of people living with disease and injury.

Social Security, Medicare and pensions are going broke because people stopped having babies during the Sixties and Seventies like they used to have before then.  As birth control and abortion came into vogue.  This became a big problem because it followed the baby boom.  The rate of older sicker people leaving the workforce who no longer paid income taxes grew at a greater rate than younger healthier people entering the workforce who paid income taxes.  And the older people are living longer.  So long that they can get sicker and become more costly to care for.  All because they’re living 10-20 years longer than the actuaries originally calculated.  Thanks to advances in medical care.

Things will get worse before they get better until the last of the baby boomers die.  And these two growth rates approach each other.  And pass.  Going from an aging population to one that grows younger.  So the number of taxpayers once again grows at a greater rate than tax consumers.  Which Obamacare will help speed along with their quasi death panels.

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Obamacare to Penalize Hospitals for Readmitting Sick People

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 1st, 2012

Week in Review

Now that we passed Obamacare we’re starting to find out what was in that bill.  Which, according to Nancy Pelosi, was the only way for us to find out what was in it.  By voting blindly for it.  Then wait for them to implement it.  They’re doing that now.  And some of the things that we’re learning are in the bill are a little scary (see Hospitals Face Pressure From Medicare to Avert Readmissions (from the New York Times) by JORDAN RAU posted 11/26/2012 on The New York Times).

Medicare last month began levying financial penalties against 2,217 hospitals it says have had too many readmissions. Of those hospitals, 307 will receive the maximum punishment, a 1 percent reduction in Medicare’s regular payments for every patient over the next year, federal records show.

One of those is Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which will lose $2 million this year. Dr. John Lynch, the chief medical officer, said Barnes-Jewish could absorb that loss this year, but “over time, if the penalties accumulate, it will probably take resources away from other key patient programs.”

The crackdown on readmissions is at the vanguard of the Affordable Care Act’s effort to eliminate unnecessary care and curb Medicare’s growing spending, which reached $556 billion this year. Hospital inpatient costs make up a quarter of that spending and are projected to grow by more than 4 percent annually in coming years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

There are two ways to look at this.  The government’s way.  Keeping those greedy hospitals from readmitting patients just to bill the government more.  Or the patients’ way.  Seeing Obamacare forcing hospitals not to readmit sick people.  Which would be basically the same as telling them to go and die.  It’s not called a death panel.  But someone in the hospital will have to decide whether to readmit the patient and suffer financial consequences.  Or please the government and not readmit these people.  Which, of course, would be a decision probably resulting in death for these patients.  Not the warm and cuddly Obamacare they told us about.  But it would be the only way the government could reduce health care costs.  Simply refusing to give people medical care.  For death is cheaper in the long run than hospitalization.  Something no doubt the government bureaucrats have factored in their Obamacare.

Medicare’s tough love is not going over well everywhere. Academic medical centers are complaining that the penalties do not take into account the extra challenges posed by extremely sick and low-income patients. For these people, getting medicine and follow-up care can be a struggle…

Various studies, including one commissioned by Medicare, have found that the hospitals with the most poor and African-American patients tended to have higher readmission rates than hospitals with more affluent and Caucasian patients…

Some researchers fear the Medicare penalties are so steep, they will distract hospitals from other pressing issues, like reducing infections and surgical mistakes and ensuring patients’ needs are met promptly. “It should not be our top priority,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who has studied readmissions. “If you think of all the things in the Affordable Care Act, this is the one that has the biggest penalties, and that’s just crazy.”

Interesting.  Not only does Obamacare use death as a cost-cutting means it also will discriminate against the poor and minorities.  While at the same time making hospitals less safe as money will go to the government in fines instead of combating infections and preventing surgical mistakes.

Death panels and less safe hospitals.  Funny, I don’t recall them telling us this is what they were giving us Obamacare.  Then again, if they told the truth they probably wouldn’t have gotten the votes.  So health care will get incredibly worse.  These policies and our aging population will accelerate our once quality health care system to something akin to what we could find in a third world country.

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Computerized Medical Records open the Door to Fraud and Give Glimpse of Health Care under Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 29th, 2012

Week in Review

One of the ways to improve efficiency and cut costs in health care is to digitize medical records.  President Obama and the Democrats kept talking about that as they pushed Obamacare through a Democrat-controlled House and Senate.  This simple fact was going to fix so much that was wrong with health care in the U.S.  Putting all our personal information online is just common sense.  Because it makes it so much easier for health care providers to look up our personal information no matter where they are.  And as it turns out, it makes it easier for others to pull up that personal information (see Feds warn hospitals over Medicare fraud by Associated Press posted 9/24/2012 on CBS NEWS).

Computerized medical records were supposed to cut costs. Now the Obama administration is warning hospitals that might be tempted to use the technology for gaming the system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder issued the warning Monday in a letter to hospital trade associations, following media reports of alleged irregularities.

The letter said there were indications that some providers were using computerized records technology to possibly obtain payments to which they were not entitled. It raised the threat of prosecution.

Among the practices under scrutiny is what’s called “upcoding” — or raising the severity of a patient’s condition to get more money.

The U.S. spends about $770 billion annually on Medicare based on a recent CBO projection.  Imagine the fraud in the system when the government takes over all $2.6 trillion of health care spending.  If the spending increases by 238% one can assume the fraud will increase by 238%.  Fraud made easier by the digitizing of our health care system.  Unless, of course, the U.S. will have the best cyber security in place like they do for Medicare.

Hospitals say part of the problem is that Medicare has lagged in updating billing guidelines for emergency room and clinic visits.

Getting the billing guidelines in place is probably the easier part of a computerized billing system.  Probably a lot easier than securing that system from cyber attacks.  So it doesn’t give one a strong sense of confidence that our personal information will be safe online.  Especially when the government goes from processing $770 billion annually to processing $2.6 trillion annually.

Obamacare may make it easier for doctors to access all our personal information.  But it will also make it easier for everyone else to access our personal information.  Including those we don’t want seeing our personal information.  Those who want our social security number.  Address.  Phone numbers.  Addresses and phone numbers of our family members.  As well as our personal medical history.  All of which will be one click away for those who would really like to have it.  Makes you yearn for the old days.  When only your family doctor had that information.  On a paper file.  In his or her file cabinet.  Safe and secure.  Even if it was not the most efficient system in the world it was one you didn’t have to worry about.

Sadly, those days are long gone.  For Obamacare will put your health care experience on the public stage.  Where little will be secure from prying and persistent eyes.  Where the same people will be responsible for your personal information that can’t stop Medicare fraud.

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Birth Control and Abortion have reduced Tax Revenue and House Values for Seniors

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2012

Week in Review

Birth control and abortion will bankrupt Social Security and Medicare.  And they will bring down Obamacare, too.  When Social Security became law we had a growing birth rate.  More people were being born each year.  So the population was expanding.  And the Roosevelt administration thought it would keep expanding.  So they created a Ponzi scheme.  Social Security.  Where more young people (i.e., taxpayers) pay into the system than retirees (i.e., tax consumers) collect from the system.  A foolproof system.  As long as the population continues to expand.  Keeping the base of the pyramid growing larger than the top of the pyramid.

Well their assumptions didn’t hold.  Women stopped having babies beginning in the Sixties.  Just as the Johnson administration gave us the Great Society and Medicare.  Based on the previous assumption that women would keep having babies.  So the funding mechanism was a flawed as it was for Social Security.  And now Obamacare is going to expand the Medicare model.  In the face of what is now a declining population growth rate.  Meaning the number of taxpayers will dwindle as the number of tax consumers retiring will explode.  Causing the aforementioned bankruptcies.  And that declining birth rate is causing even more financial damage (see Is Our Aging Population Partly to Blame for the Slow Recovery? by Philip Moeller posted 8/21/2012 on U.S. News & World Report).

As the unusually weak economic recovery continues, you’ve at least got to wonder if future studies of what ails us will include our aging population as a material cause. Simply stated, older people tend to liquidate assets to fund their retirements. Younger people tend to acquire financial assets as their personal wealth rises and they build their own nest eggs.

The United States has enjoyed nearly 40 years where the number of people acquiring assets was greater than the number of people disposing of them. This condition is being turned on its head. We now face roughly 40 years where there will be more people in this country wanting to sell financial assets than buy them. This supply-demand shift could put a lid on asset values and depress overall economic growth.

So on top of the government failing us in our retirement even our own retirement savings are going to fail us.  It will be like being on the far side of a housing bubble after the bust.  Where seniors want to sell their houses to finance their retirement.  Only to get tens of thousands of dollars less than they had planned.  For just as there are fewer taxpayers to pay the taxes to support an aging population there are fewer homebuyers (as well as other asset buyers) to buy the houses of an aging population.  Lower demand means lower selling price.  And a less comfortable retirement.  All because of that generation of greed and selfishness.  The baby boomers.  Who were all about sex, drugs, rock & roll, birth control and abortion.  And not so much about raising children.  Of course they, too, will suffer the effects of their selfish ways.  As there will be fewer taxpayers to support them in their retirement.  Or to buy their houses.

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Obamacare will Slash Medicare Advantage to the Bone – After the 2012 Election

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 29th, 2012

Week in Review

First Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass Obamacare to find out what’s in it.  So our representatives passed it.  Along pure party lines.  Against the will of the people.  Something the people didn’t forget by the 2010 midterm elections.  Voting the Democrats from power in the House.  Removing their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  Taking a majority of the governorships.  And state houses.  The Democrats paid a high price for passing legislation the people did not want.  And now it may be their president who has to answer for this assault on the will of the people.  Who has no illusions that his signature piece of legislation was rammed down the people’s throats with some of the dirtiest political deal making to ever besmirch the halls of Congress.  And he’s working his hardest to hide the facts of Obamacare before the 2012 election (see Obama’s $8.3 Billion Re-Election Slush Fund posted 4/23/2012 on Investors.com).

Backers like to say the more people know about ObamaCare, the more they’ll like it. So why is the administration spending $8.3 billion to hide a key provision from millions of seniors until after the election?

That’s precisely what administration officials are doing right now as a way to mask the effect of ObamaCare’s deep cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program.

Championed by Republicans in 1997, Medicare Advantage offers seniors an escape valve from the creaky, government-run Medicare insurance program…

Medicare Advantage has proved popular with seniors, 12 million of whom have enrolled. But the left loathes it, arguing that Medicare overpays insurance companies, thereby ripping off taxpayers to enrich this industry…

Medicare’s own actuary reported that ObamaCare would eventually force more than 7 million seniors off their private plans and back onto traditional Medicare as insurers flee the market.

Obama may not care that this violates his endlessly repeated promise that “if you like your health plan you can keep it.”

But somewhere along the way, someone in his administration realized that millions of seniors would soon catch on that he was lying — and that this would happen just before the November election, when seniors make their annual Medicare Advantage selections.

Not wanting to confront angry voters who’ve seen their health care choice eliminated by ObamaCare, the administration apparently decided instead to paper over these spending cuts, pumping $8.3 billion back into the program through “bonuses” to Medicare Advantage plans…

Almost all the bonus money is front-loaded. In fact, in the first year, the extra bonuses will fill in more than 70% of ObamaCare’s scheduled Medicare Advantage cuts. That will, conveniently, keep Medicare Advantage plans up and running through the election.

So the more you learn about Obamacare the more Barack Obama fears his reelection chances.  So he’s spending $8.3 billion to hush up the truth.  To lie to seniors.  Apparently.  So the seniors don’t learn that Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of their health care.  To lull them in a false sense of security to get him through the 2012 election.  For by hiding the truth his chances of reelection improve.  Which is a sad commentary on President Obama.  And Obamacare.

Should he win reelection then he’ll spring the truth on these unsuspecting seniors.  By destroying Medicare Advantage.  And forcing them into health care plans they don’t want.  Confessing that he was lying when he said “if you like your health plan you can keep it.”  Which makes one wonder what else he has in store for our seniors.  For the cost of programs for seniors (Social Security and Medicare) are the largest and fastest rising costs in the federal budget.  So if he will ax Medicare Advantage just how much more will he cut from programs for seniors?  Now that there are no more elections to worry about?

No wonder he’s spending $8.3 billion to hide the truth.  If this truth comes out who knows what else will come out before the 2012 election.  And that’s something clearly the president can’t afford to chance.  For when you are passing policies the people don’t want the truth is the last thing you want to come out.

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Medicare on Track to go Bust in 12 Years or Less

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 28th, 2012

Week in Review

This election season we had the war on women.  Added to that in the coming years may very well be the war on seniors.  And unlike the war on women the war on seniors will be real.  Especially if Obamacare isn’t repealed.  Because the rising health care costs of an aging population will force rationing and death panels into the health care equation within the decade.  Or thereabouts (see Medicare trustee report hangs on uncertain assumptions by David Morgan posted 4/24/2012 on Reuters UK).

Medicare, the U.S. healthcare program for the elderly, should be able to stave off insolvency for the next 12 years, depending on a number of financial and political assumptions that may prove unrealistic, officials and other experts said on Monday…

But the outlook is based on assumptions that may be unlikely, including a scheduled 31 percent pay cut for doctors in 2013, which Congress is almost certain to override.

The forecast also assumes that a deficit-reduction agreement to slash Medicare spending by 2 percent a year can be sustained over the coming decade and that the U.S. Supreme Court will not overturn President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law in June.

Do you know why Congress is almost certain to override that 31% pay cut?  Because that pay cut is already written into law.  So unless they override it doctors will lose 31% of their pay on Medicare patients.  And will probably stop seeing Medicare patients.  Which is why Congress always overrides this pay cut.  Because if all our seniors lose their doctors this very large voting bloc will be very unhappy.  And they will make their unhappiness known at the voting booth.  By throwing every incumbent out of office.

Let’s do a little math.  Let’s say someone is turning 65 this year.  And that they’ve worked since the age of 18.  Which means they’ve paid their Medicare payroll taxes for 47 years.  So they paid into the system for 47 years.  A system that can only pay for 12 years of their retirement.  Which takes them to age 77.  While the average life expectancy is about 79 years.  Which means, on average, those turning 65 this year will not be able to consume any health care services in the last two years of their lives.  Of course the bigger problem is this.  What about those who are 53 this year?  Who spent 35 years paying Medicare payroll taxes?  They’ll get nothing when they turn 65.  Worse, they won’t get a refund for 35 years of ‘premium’ payments.  Which means the money we pay into Medicare is not our money.  They spend it on others long before we even become eligible for benefits.  Which will add generational warfare to class warfare as the politicians spend beyond our means to pay for it.  Pitting one ‘greedy’ group against another.  Until they all finally turn on the ones responsible for our financial mess.  The politicians.

Medicare will fail because the population is aging.  And as people live longer they can have more health problems.  You put the two together and it’s a big problem.  You expand Medicare into Obamacare and you have a train wreck.  A shrinking population of healthy, younger people paying ever higher taxes to pay for an expanding population of older, sicker people.  In a word, unsustainable.  

This isn’t Canada.  Or the UK.  We have more people.  Far more people.  The growth in government spending to pay for Obamacare will require taxes the private sector can’t pay.  This growth of government will cross the Rubicon.  And the U.S. will go the way of the Roman Empire.  Brought down by her own unsustainable government spending.  Throwing much of Western Europe into chaos for a thousand years or so.  And the sad thing is that history repeats.  Chaos is on the rise already in Europe.  As people riot in protest against cuts in unsustainable spending.  Which often happens when you take away benefits from people long accustomed to them.  This is a very dangerous road to be on.  And Obamacare is hastening the U.S. down this road to catch up with the Europeans. 

You’d think someone by now would have learned this lesson of history.

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