Feb 132013
 

Introduction by Paul Craig Roberts

The article below is the most comprehensive analysis available of “Obamacare” – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The author, a knowledgeable person who wishes to remain anonymous, explains how Obamacare works for the insurance companies but not for you.

Obamacare was formulated on the concept of health care as a commercial commodity and was cloaked in ideological slogans such as “shared responsibility,” “no free riders” and “ownership society.” These slogans dress the insurance industry’s raid on public resources in the cloak of a “free market” health care system.

You will learn how to purchase a subsidized plan at the Exchange, what will happen when income and family circumstances change during the year or from one year to the next, and other perils brought to you by Obamacare. It is one of the most important articles that will be posted on my website this year. Americans will be shocked to learn the extent to which they have been deceived. The legislation neither protects the patient nor are the plans affordable.

The author shows that for those Americans whose income places them between 138% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, the out-of-pocket cost for one of the least expensive (lower coverage) subsidized policies ranges from 2% to 9.5% of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), a tax base larger than the Adjusted Gross Income used for calculating federal income tax.

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Mar 152012
 

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini  YouTube

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini YouTube

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini caused quite a stir when he said at a Las Vegas conference a few days ago that the insurance industry as we know it is, for all practical purposes, a dinosaur on the verge of extinction.

Time to sing, “Ding dong the witch is dead”? Not quite, but the day when most Americans get their coverage from what we think of as an insurance company is close at hand.  It won’t be long before most of us get coverage through either a state or federal government-run plan or a local nonprofit company. The big investor-owned corporations like Aetna and the companies I used to work for, Cigna and Humana, know that the days of making a killing off of basic medical insurance policies are over. And the companies have no one to blame but themselves and a fatally flawed, uniquely American system of providing access to care.

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Jun 222011
 

Many people think life without the welfare state would be chaos. In their minds, nobody would help support the less fortunate, and there would be riots in the streets. Little do they know that people found innovative ways of supporting each other before the welfare state existed. One of the most important of these ways was the mutual-aid society.

Mutual aid, also known as fraternalism, refers to social organizations that gathered dues and paid benefits to members facing hardship. According to David Beito in From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State, there was a "great stigma" attached to accepting government aid or private charity during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.[1] Mutual aid, on the other hand, did not carry the same stigma. It was based on reciprocity: today’s mutual-aid recipient could be tomorrow’s donor, and vice versa.

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Apr 232011
 

We’re not worth having around after 65, says Michael Collins. Why else would they want to kill us off?

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposed a Medicare plan that combines Social Darwinism and a bailout for health insurance carriers, even larger than the one provided by the president’s health care reform legislation.

The specific features of the program are less important than the overall effect. In summary, Ryan proposes a plan that will starve most of those sixty-five and older of health care. Here are the numbers, based on Congressional Budget Office projections and elaborated by Dean Baker and David Rosnick (in 2011 dollars) (Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 2011)

The Republican plan privatizes Medicare by 2022. Seniors will choose their health insurance from corporate health insurance companies. The government will make a lump sum payment ($6,097) for this purchase. Seniors will then make a beneficiary payment on their own and take responsibility for other provider payments. The beneficiary payment will represent an increasing portion of median income from 2022 through 2050. In addition, there are other provider payments estimated, like co-pays. I added a fifth column, total senior payments, beneficiary plus other payments.

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Nov 012010
 

The judicial fall out from the health care has begun. A federal judge in Michigan has ruled the Obamacare legislation, which forces individuals by Congressional mandate to purchase health care, Constitutional:

President Barack Obama won the first round in the legal battle over the healthcare reform act after a federal judge in Michigan ruled that the law’s “individual mandate” requiring people to buy health insurance is constitutional.

But Judge George Steeh ruled that “the Commerce Clause affords Congress broad power to regulate even purely local matters that have substantial economic effects,” finding that “by choosing to forgo insurance plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for healthcare services later, out of pocket, rather than now through the purchase of insurance, collectively shifting billions of dollars, $43 billion in 2008, onto other market participants,” according to court documents.

“In 2014, the Act will bar insurers from refusing to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and from setting eligibility rules based on health status or claims experience. At that time, all Americans will be insurable. Without the minimum coverage provision, there would be an incentive for some individuals to wait to purchase health insurance until they needed care, knowing that insurance would be available at all times,” Steeh wrote. “The uninsured, like plaintiffs, benefit from the ‘guaranteed issue’ provision in the Act, which enables them to become insured even when they are already sick. This benefit makes imposing the minimum coverage provision appropriate.

Source: Med City News

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Apr 202010
 

One hundred years ago today, on April 16, 1910, Henry Pritchett, president of the Carnegie Foundation, put the finishing touches on the Flexner Report.[1] No other document would have such a profound effect on American medicine, starting it on its path to destruction up to and beyond the recently passed (and laughably titled) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), a.k.a., "Obamacare." Flexner can only be accurately understood in the context of what led up to it.

Free-market medicine did not begin in the United States in 1776 with the Revolution. From 1830 to about 1850, licensing laws and regulations imposed during the colonial period and early America were generally repealed or ignored. This was brought about by the increasing acceptance of eclecticism (1813) and homeopathy (1825), against the mainstream medicine (allopathy) of the day that included bloodletting and high-dose injections of metal and metalloid compounds containing mercury or antimony.[2]

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Mar 232010
 

That cry you heard when the 216th vote was cast in favor of President Obama’s “healthcare reform” was the sound of insurance executives rejoicing before lighting their cigars with $1,000 bills. Just as Big Pharma was the chief beneficiary of President Bush’s Medicare prescription coverage bill, so Big Insurance has Barack Obama to thank for their coming years of plenty.

And thank him they will, as well as senators and congressmen who voted for the bill. But don’t worry about those who voted against it; the insurance companies won’t hold any grudges. They will spread their newfound wealth throughout the halls of Congress to ensure that no future healthcare reform will undermine their privileged position.

The Republicans who opposed the bill knew that, which is why they spent all of their time talking about abortion and other side issues rather than attacking the biggest corporate welfare plan in American history. When all is said and done, this gift to the insurance companies will dwarf the bailouts of the banks and the auto industry. The Republicans wanted to make sure that they would get their cut of the cash, too.

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Mar 202010
 

Few of us relish paying for health care, but when we do, amazing things happen: Strangers listen to us and try to give us what we want. There’s a simple economic rule that what we pay for, we control. Insurers, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and drug companies listen to us when their livelihood depends on it. The more you take the individual customer/patient out of the equation, the more power we individuals lose.

The “health-care reform” currently touted by Beltway Democrats would take a system that insulates patients from the true cost of their health care — and insulate them more. It’s a scheme for spending even more of OPM (other people’s money). The Soviet Union ran the granddaddy of such schemes, even putting the cradle-to-grave “right to health” in its constitution. If we are smart, we will learn from the Soviets’ failed seventy-year experiment, which succeeded in putting people into early graves.

Take the individual out completely, as the defunct Soviet system did with all industries, and the individual becomes irrelevant. The Soviet government was the only purchaser that mattered and, consequently, the government, not consumers, told producers what to make. When the state tried setting quantity quotas for nails, factories produced lots of little, pin-like nails. When the state set quotas by weight, factories responded predictably and produced big, heavy nails.

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Mar 162010
 

In the United States, the current debate over healthcare reform is really no debate at all. Both sides of the argument accept the fundamental principle of government intervention. Today few can recall a time when healthcare was not considered an entitlement. Americans caught up in this racket would do well to look south, to El Salvador. It has been a half-century since medical care in the United States could be described as a business. In El Salvador that is exactly what it is, a business. There, the customer (patient) meets the service providers (doctors, labs, hospitals, pharmacies) at that voluntary, mutually beneficial place known as the market price.1

The typical doctor’s offices I have encountered are two-room suites in buildings that are physically attached to small private hospitals. This is the arrangement for my pediatrician, endocrinologist, and otolaryngologist: a reception/waiting area and another space that serves as both office and examining room. This is low overhead at its finest. Only two people are involved, the doctor and his receptionist. No nurses, no staff, no large group practices, and no offices jammed with secretaries and insurance filers. There is only the receptionist out front that makes your appointments, takes your payment, and writes your receipt. A routine office visit costs about $35.00, cash or check. There is no mention of insurance for these routine services. Any dealing with this issue is strictly between you and your insurance company. The physician’s role is to provide service, receive your payment, and hand you the proper receipts. Furthermore, all the doctors I have dealt with in San Salvador have their personal cell phone numbers printed on their business cards.

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Mar 062010
 

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