Obamacare Is Working! For the Poor

Before Obamacare my annual deductible for a family was $500 and my monthly premium was about $350…  Today, my annual deductible- out of pocket is between $10,600/$20,000 and my family premium is nearly $1500 per month!

But HEY – It’s Working according to Obama…  Really?  Where?  In Uruguay?

Nurses! I Applaud You~

I have had the privilege of knowing many nurses these past ten years as I became the patient of choice, not mine. And without much exception, I found them to be so amazing that I thought they should be commemorated for their love and dedication to their profession.

They make little, they are invaluable, and they push the limits when you would think they would drop from exhaustion. Just this past month I had the opportunity to have ‘back surgery’. What a treat. But I had this one nurse that was so amazing, she stood out like a Daffadil in a rush of thorny roses. Jennifer at Skyridge. One morning prior to surgery, I crashed. My pain level was thru the roof and despite the male nurse trying to liken it to childbirth – I informed him that my 30 hour labors during childbirth were a mere ten compared to my current 15 – on a scale of 1-10. He didn’t get it. But then, how could he?

But she did.

After an accumulation of morphine in my system that had done nothing to even dent the pain, I crashed. I think it must have all gotten blocked somewhere and hit me in one fell swoop. I crashed. And when I finally awoke, my angel nurse was very concerned that I hadn’t talked more with her as I had done the previous day. She stayed by my side past the hour when she could return home to her son. She stayed long past and when I mentioned this, she just brushed it off, she needed to finish some things with me.  It was past the 12 hour day she logged, and was quickly moving into the 14th hour.

And weeks later I began to think about Ronald Reagan’s kids. And about my siblings. (it’s a girl thing)

You see, a comment keeps coming back at me, “you can tell a man by his children.”

On the other hand I remember someone else telling me, “if you say you had a perfect childhood chances are you are either in denial – or you are lying.” This is unfortunately the basis for most pharmaceutical sales…

Nobodies perfect. But no one can say they don’t have some wishful thoughts of the love between this husband and his spouse. The children may have felt second place, and rebelled, had issues, succeeded and failed, but Nancy and Ronald had something still. Maybe it takes one to lose the other. I don’t know. And that begs the question – would you exchange the relationship of your children for the adoration of your spouse? I’ve known a few on both sides.

A nurse is someone who gives herself up for the love and compassion of making her/his patient better. And I have to say, a male nurse is different. Sorry. They just are. They have a different DNA. I don’t say they are bad, I simply say, that they have a different level of compassion that is simply more DNA inherent in women. And it’s no more prejudicial than preferring a man with the gun pointed at the enemy. It’s in our DNA. There are exceptions, but they are NOT the rule.

And it would seem to be ‘the exceptions’ to the rule that we have chosen to make our agenda. In all things. I found my Jennifer to be much less judgmental, much more nurturing, much more compassionate in me. She wasn’t thinking of the next room, the next patient, of her weekend adventures, she was focused on me. And that was amazing!

A legacy of the value of a NURSE.

I have had numerous experiences with nurses these past ten years, and I joke that I am on a first name basis. But the value they give is so incredibly immense, I think we take it for granted and owe them an applause!

I did have one nurse who gave me the paranoia itches, I was convinced she was going to suffocate me in the middle of the night with a pillow. I fought the Morphine, too scared to close my eyes. And then there was the nurse-in-waiting, the trainee, who put a bubble in my IV, failed to note that I almost passed because the pain was so great and they had told me how to self administer morphine while I was two sheets under – and so I heard/remember nothing. How smart is that. So, as I turned gray, no one seemed to notice until nearly too late.

But, they were the exceptions. And in looking back, a good story that has a happy ending. Most of my experiences have been phenomenal, not just good, but Great!

I have an absolutely amazing doctor story who I call an ‘Artiste’, and then I have the butcher. I think maybe, after a while, you just take the bad with the good. Enter, Obamacare! Shitake Mushrooms! You can’t imagine until it happens to you. A story is a distant phenomena, a yawn, an ‘oh’. And then wham! I mean I guess I didn’t ‘read the fine print’. I didn’t realize that all insurers now support a co-insurance clause. All of them. Even our esteemed Kaiser. And that little change is WAY good for the Insurer, and WAY bad, bad for you and I. Because it makes your deductible – worthless.  It creates a brand new frame of potential bankruptcies, it is too large to imagine.  My little two day surgery cost about $120,000 of which I am liable for about 10% in total.  Throw away the deductible, the co-insurance destroys you.

So what happens to our esteemed nurses as the healthcare system in the US begins to rupture and implode? In a Socialist agenda, they would actually get paid even less, and their would be no incentive to have an expertise! Let’s not forget the reality – in Europe they measure wait times in increments of annual quarters – 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 months – and greater than a year.

In the US we measure that time in terms of days and weeks.

Are you ready to absorb that change?

I can’t imagine it benefits anyone – except of course the Big Pharma Industry which is putting out all the temporary pain killers and relaxers, and anti-anxiety stuff, to get you through the year long wait before you can actually see a doctor, diagnosis or not your illness, and get a remedy. But to add to the dilemma, we have a business environment where actually curing is a detriment to big pharma which nearly rules the world, I might add, that the band-aid creates a lucrative and endless market. Like the Chiropractor, it is a fix that is temporary, but the actual underlying cause is not treated becaue that would mean a cured patient and loss of revenue.

Enter online self diagnosing and natural remedies. Ta-Da! The new way reminiscent of 100 years ago and 1000 years ago. And there are angels in Cuba. They have the mindset of curing vs money. And that makes them very desirable!

Maybe – an investment worth researching for your portfolio.

In the end, I can’t answer if I would be willing to forgo the amazing relationship I have with my children, for the adoration of a man… I wish they could be inclusive. But it would seem, that is not reality – it is simply a celluloid hero – ~ The Kinks.

Obama – Unemployment Down – Spending Up

Obama says he has single handedly put the economy back on track and brought unemployment down to under 5%!! WOW!

Of course, that self lauding can be means tested easily enough through a simple look at Federal Spending on the government website:

2008 vs 2015

  1. Healthcare is the largest budget item on the board with the Federal share topping out at $1.0186 trillion. In 2008 before Obama took office, that number was $671.4 billion. An increase of 51.7%.
  2. Pensions, the second largest Federal budget item were $668.7 billion in 2008 and have grown to $959.1 billion in 2015 – an increase of 44.3%.
  3. The third largest expense is Defense spending. In 2008 $729.6 billion compared to 2015 $799.7 billion – an increase of just 9.6%. Within that figure the largest increase in spending was in ‘foreign aide’ which increased by 68%. Actual Defense spending was down and spending for Veterans was up.
  4. The fourth largest budget item is Welfare. And this is what makes Obama’s statement about everyone back to work a bit odd. Welfare spending is up. If in fact everyone was back to work, if in fact unemployment was slashed, wouldn’t Welfare handouts also decrease? They didn’t. For some odd reason Welfare benefits (not including healthcare) went up 17% during the same time that unemployment was ‘slashed’.
  5. If we compare Welfare to the 2007 Budget which Obama references as the height of the crisis, it is even more disturbing. Welfare is up 44%. Unemployment in 2007 was roughly the same as what Obama claims it is now – just under 5%, yet Welfare spending went from $254 billion to $366.5.
  6. One other Budgeted expense that should be noted. Payments for police services – went down between 2008 and 2015.
  7. In 2009 when Obama first took office, the unemployment rate was the same that he states it is now – just under 5%.

While 2016 is obviously still a budgeted item with no real numbers available, Healthcare Expenses are expected to continue to rise by about $100 billion, Pensions will rise by about $40 billion, spending on Education will drop, Foreign Aid will increase by 18%, and Welfare, a projection of employment vs unemployment, that’s expected to increase by another $30 billion or roughly 8%.

If we factor in the Welfare Benefits paid for Healthcare on a Federal, State and Local level with standard Welfare, the 2016 Budget Estimate is $1.0564 trillion. In 2008 the payments were $731.3, a rise of 44.45% despite the fact that unemployment is supposedly equal.

What that says?

It explains why Obama tooting his own horn at how better off everyone is now that he’s fixed everything, doesn’t add up mathematically. It shows that the actual cost of Healthcare continues to rise despite the notion that Obamacare will make it ‘more affordable’. It shows that there is either some monkeying around with the unemployment numbers, or being on Welfare is much more profitable that working. It shows that spending on Foreign Aid is another type of Welfare – just that it is for other countries. And that the budget might be well below actual Truth given it makes no reference to Syria, Yemen, Ukraine or Iraq where we are well aware that $$$$$$$$ will fly.

And it explains why we just no longer trust ANY politicians, they fudge the Truth to the point of absolute Betrayal.

Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.” JK Rowling.

Obama’s State of the Union Address: Bridging the Gap

It’s always interesting to read the perceptions of other people writing about the same event. Especially when those people are writing from a different country. Often, Americans are hauntingly laughed at for being ignorant about what is real and what is fabricated, but I would contend that the fabrications have reached their tentacles overseas.

An Irish news reporter commenting on Obama’s legacy and his final state of the union address, revealed an odd view of his accomplishments and failures, as well as an interesting view of what she perceives to be the desires of the American people.

According to her perception, Obama is unilaterally responsible for making community college education affordable in the US. He takes responsibility for turning around the economy, for strict environmental regulations, Obamacare, and same sex marriage. And while Obama focused on a positive approach, it was more like a resume builder for supreme leader of the UN, than a true account of his internship as President.

Education?  The US education system is considered to be in crisis. Obama has made no impact on education whatsoever – and certainly has not made it more affordable. Community colleges have always been more affordable than private or public universities!  Stating that fact, does not mean Obama has created that reality…  College debt in the US has risen to an all time high of $1.2 trillion, with upwards of 67% in default! The interest rate on student debt ranges from 4.29% to 6.84% for 2015-2016. That’s higher than car loans and mortgage rates. And with jobs unavailable for graduates, paying the debt is simply not conceivable.

Unemployment? There are essentially six different measurements of unemployment. One of the measures was created around 1995 and sought to be all inclusive. At it’s starting point, it measured an unemployment rate of about 12 ½%. It declined to roughly 8% in 2008 and shot up to over 18% in 2010 before beginning its descent once again to its present level of about 13%. There is no world standardized method of determining the unemployment rate, so it is a waste to make a comparison.

Environment? The EPA has caused some of the worst disasters it is tasked with deterring. The Colorado Rive Animas disaster, and the Georgia cotton mill disaster were just two that occurred in 2015. Add to the disasters, the current methane expulsion that continues to destroy the air in southern California which is slated to be worse than Chernobyl, and we have a rather different perspective. There was the billions of toxic wastewaters that were injected into California’s aquifers in 2014 and an LA neighborhood that tested positive for toxic levels of hazardous lead poisoning. Just to name a few…  Instead – we focus on ‘climate change’.

Obamacare? Well let’s look at Kaiser, given their transparency. In 2009, they reported that the cost of healthcare had risen 131% in the previous decade at which time a family plan cost an employer $13,375 – with deductibles ranging from -0- to $1000. In 2015, Kaiser stated that the average employer based plan cost $17,545 with out of pocket costs of $4955 to $6251. A total cost inflation of 65.5%. Hardly a success for the small businesses and individuals.

The economy? While the world experienced a derivatives fallout that killed the economy in 2009, the US GDP growth rate recovery has not been ‘stellar’, instead it continues to mangle out a 2.4 and 2.2 trend. In 2014, the US ranked 121st of 198 countries in GDP growth. African countries dominated with Libya, South Sudan and Gaza Strip at the bottom, -19.8 an all time blow. According to the IMF, the cumulative growth between 1990 and 2006, showed the US behind Taiwan, Singapore, Turkey, Korea, Israel, China, Ireland, India, Hong Kong and Australia.  Stellar?

Perceptions.

Obama may be trying to recreate history to write his own legacy, but the facts don’t support his assertions of grandeur. It is like a virtual reality wherein the Truth is obscured. But ultimately, virtual reality is turned off and the bleak gray of what we must face is crystal clear. If we pretend anything less, we do ourselves a disservice in not focusing on what needs fixing.

Positive thinking has its place, as long as that place is grounded in Truth and Reality.

US Health Care Crisis – Socialized Medicine?

Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act is anything but – affordable.

Another year and another hike in our out of pocket will take effect November 1st. What kind of increase? A mere 42.5%…cough – wheeze, for me!

While Obama touts that millions more are now covered, whoopdeedo what he doesn’t say is that it doesn’t really matter because deductibles have gone so high no one can use the insurance unless it is for catastrophic purposes. Remember the good ole days when deductibles were $500? Well those good ole days were just ten years ago. And while my individual deductible is now $5700, it is better than what the mandated younger generation is forced to buy with deductibles or max-out-of-pocket as high as $10,000 and $12,600. Which is about $12,599 more than they have in savings.

Even the socialist medicine provider, Kaiser, has followed suit and ramped up its out of pocket $$$$. While the insurer has a plan with no deductible, it has a co-insurance of 30% up to the max out of pocket – $12,600 per person, hello that’s worse than a deductible. But at least their out of network is non-existent, while others cite max as high as $25,400 per person. So if something happens to you in another state, or out of your control to pick and choose because you are say – unconscious, you are royally in the hospital dog-house.

But that’s only the beginning. The other bite is the insurers closing their doors completely. Kentucky’s Health Cooperative is going out of business leaving 51,000 without insurance. Health Republic Insurance of New York went out of business dropping 150,000. CoOpportunity Health in Iowa and Nebraska dropped out. Louisianna Health Coop and Nevada Health dropped out. And by drop-out, what that means is belly up, kaput, nilch, nada, bankrupt! Lost jobs. Poof! Why? Because the money promised them in subsidies from the Federal government never appeared. Instead they were given 10cents on the dollar of promised $$, and they couldn’t make it work.

WINHealth in Wyoming is going nada. As is Colorado’s nonprofit Coop and Oregon’s as well. Humana was recently gorged by Aetna after Coventry Health went into the Aetna pool. Aetna and Humana both have a one star rating when I looked them up, so they should be a great match. Cigna and Anthem are proposing a merger. Consumer Affairs rated Cigna and Anthem – one star. So much for quality of care. But these companies aren’t alone. United Health got a one star. AARP Health got a one star rating.

And while the companies have the audacity to state that such mergers will offer customers more affordable care, I have yet to see or hear of one company lowering their premium or deductible. Ever.

In 2014, according to the IRS, some 7.5 million individuals paid the annual fine rather than get health insurance. The fine was the greater of 1% of household income or $285 for a family. But that is far less than the average cost of health insurance which runs more to the tune of 9%-10% of wages. According to the CDC, there are still 35.7 million uninsured. So if only 7.5 of them paid the fine, that means 28.2 million – didn’t.  Why?

Well, then there are hardship exemptions that qualify you to NOT pay the fee/penalty, including; death of a family member, homelessness (do they file tax returns?), victim of domestic violence (that would account for 12 million per year), facing eviction or foreclosure (Foreclosures in 2014 were 1.1 million), received a shutoff notice from a utility company, experienced a fire, flood or other natural disaster, filed for bankruptcy (just under 1 million in 2014), you had substantial medical debt, increased expenses due to caring for an ill, aged, or disabled family member, and here’s the best – your insurance plan was canceled and you just don’t feel you can afford another one.  BINGO!

Is this the prelude to socialized medicine?

In 2014, 24% of the federal budget was allocated to pay for healthcare. Yet in countries with socialized medicine, such as France, Germany, and the UK, healthcare spending amounts to just 16% to 18% of the total budget. How is that possible and covers EVERYONE?

The number of people in the US covered by Medicare and Medicaid is now about 93 million, 22% of the population. If the Federal Budget is 3.8 trillion in 2015 and 24% goes to healthcare thats – $912 billion. If we were to socialize 100% of the population which stands at 319 million healthcare costs would be $3.13 trillion or 82% of the budget. To cover the additional $2.1 trillion someone has to pay. Given 45% of the population even pays taxes, that would mean 143.5 million people would cover the cost of healthcare, amounting to a per person annual average cost – $21,800. Of course a sliding scale would have to be introduced because only 26.6% of wage earners make over $50,000, only 7.4% of US wage earners make over $100,000, and 1% make over $250,000. At current costs, there simply isn’t enough earning power to go around. In addition, the minute, the second those top wage earners get whiff, money will vanish – finding rest in the Bahamas, Morocco, or wherever it can flee and find less taxing power.

In France, the cost per capita of healthcare is roughly $4900. That’s 22% of the cost in the US. So, is the solution to socialize, or is it to cut costs?