Jun 11

One Nation, Under Sedation: Medicare Paid for Nearly 40 Million Tranquilizer Prescriptions in 2013 (ProPublica, June 10, 2015):

Congress wouldn’t allow Medicare to pay for benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan until 2013. Now, the medications are among the most prescribed in its drug program.

This story was co-published with the Boston Globe, the Miami Herald and Health News Florida.

In 2012, Medicare’s massive prescription drug program didn’t spend a penny on popular tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

The following year, it doled out more than $377 million for the drugs. Continue reading »

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Jan 07

H/t reader squodgy:

“Whatever happened to the HIPPOCRATIC OATH?
Was there a typo when Obamacare came in & it is now the HYPOCRITIC OATH?”


Obamacare

Bankrupt government slashing payments to doctors by 43%; medicare patients to be rejected nationwide (Natural News, Jan 7, 2014):

As we’ve warned for months, just because Americans are required to have health insurance coverage under regulations contained in the Affordable Care Act, that doesn’t mean that they will have access to care.

If you recall, the entire purpose behind Obamacare, according to the president and the law’s backers, was only to insure something like 14 or 15 million people, because at the time the measure was being debated, the vast majority of Americans — well over 80 percent — had health insurance. What’s more, the bulk of those insured had private sector plans, and most were insured through employers; the number of Americans on taxpayer-subsidized coverage, like Medicaid, was minimal. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

We’re Relying on Phantom Wealth to Fund Our Retirement (Of Two Minds, Aug 12, 2014):

Phantom wealth cannot possibly fund unprecedented retirement and healthcare promises.

The narrative that Social Security, Medicare and pension funds invested in stocks and bonds can fund the retirement of 65 million people is a misleading fantasy. The sad reality is we can’t fund the enormous expense of retirement/healthcare for 20% of the populace out of our national earned income, and the savings that have been set aside are either fictitious (the Social Security Trust Fund) or based on phantom wealth created by speculative asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate.

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Nov 24

Killing The “We Paid Our Taxes; We Earned Our Benefits” Social Security Ponzi Meme ( Ludwig von Mises Institute,, Nov 22, 2013):

“We paid our Social Security and Medicare taxes; we earned our benefits.” It is that belief among senior citizens that President Obama was pandering to when, in his second inaugural address, he claimed that those programs “strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers.”

If Social Security and Medicare both involved people voluntarily financing their own benefits, an argument could be made for seniors’ “earned benefits” view. But they have not. They have redistributed tens of trillions of dollars of wealth to themselves from those younger.

Social Security and Medicare have transferred those trillions because they have been partial Ponzi schemes.

Continue reading »

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Nov 18


YouTube Added: Nov 13, 2013

Description:

Abby Martin calls out the corporate media for its incessant superficial coverage of the Obamacare website, all the while ignoring both the successes and the truly legitimate criticisms of the Affordable Care Act.

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Nov 04

FYI.


U.S. government may force doctors to accept Obamacare and Medicare patients, eventually at gunpoint (Natural News, Nov 3, 2013):

The primary tool of socialism is force, and while that force usually begins with good intentions codified into law, it inevitably ends up with the kind of force used by Mao Zedong to murder millions of his own citizens. “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” he famously stated, and Obama-supporting democrats are following in his footsteps.

Word from the street is that Kathleen Murphy, a democrat running for the House, wants to make it a legal requirement that doctors accept Medicare and Obamacare patients.

Many doctors, of course, have already announced that will not accept such patients because they would go bankrupt if they did. The government’s payout on medical services rendered to patients in these groups is a total joke, you see: doctors sometimes receive only 30% of what they actually billed. And they can’t negotiate, either. The government simply tells you what you “get” to receive in terms of payment, regardless of how much you actually billed as a doctor.

So forcing doctors to accept Medicare / Obamacare patients is the same as forcing them to work for free. Most doctors won’t work for free, as they have their own families to financially support, so they’ll simply quit the industry altogether. That, in turn, will cause a radical worsening of the existing doctor shortage across the USA, resulting in yet more people going without health care.

Force doctors to practice medicine at gunpoint

Continue reading »

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Feb 28

50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam That Is About To Collapse (Economic Collapse, Feb 24, 2013):

The U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die.  In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations.  The pharmaceutical corporations spend billions of dollars to convince all of us to become dependent on their legal drugs, the health insurance companies make billions of dollars by providing as little health care as possible, and they both spend millions of dollars to make sure that our politicians in Washington D.C. keep the gravy train rolling.  Meanwhile, large numbers of doctors are going broke and patients are not getting the care that they need.  At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster.  Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse.  In America today, a single trip to the emergency room can easily cost you $100,000, and if you happen to get cancer you could end up with medical bills in excess of a million dollars.  Even if you do have health insurance, there are usually limits on your coverage, and the truth is that just a single major illness is often enough to push most American families into bankruptcy.  At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash.  Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.

The following are 50 signs that the U.S. health care system is a massive money making scam that is about to collapse…

Continue reading »

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Jan 11

The Federal Government Hands Out Money To 128 Million Americans Every Month (Economic Collapse, Jan 10, 2013):

The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 to over 128 million today.  A shocking new research paper by Patrick Tyrrell and William W. Beach contains that statistic and a whole bunch of other very revealing numbers.  According to their research, the federal government hands out money to 41.3 percent of the entire population of the United States each month.  Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to what they call “dependence-creating programs”.  It is the most massive wealth redistribution scheme in the history of the world, and it continues to grow at a very rapid pace with each passing month.  But can we really afford this?  Of course we never want to see a single person go without food to eat or a roof to sleep under, but can the federal government really afford to support 128 million Americans every month?  If millions more Americans keep jumping on to the “safety net” each year, how long will it be before it breaks and it is not there for anyone?  The federal government is already drowning in debt.  This year the U.S. national debt will easily blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and we are rapidly heading toward financial oblivion.  We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day with no end in sight.  If we don’t get our finances in order as a nation, what will the end result be? Continue reading »

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Nov 27

From the WSJ article:

“The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.”

But wait it gets worse:

FLASHBACK:

US National Debt At $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion!!! (NPR, August 6, 2011):

“If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,” he says. “That’s our true indebtedness.”

Prof. Kotlikoff: ‘The US is bankrupt’, Government Debt At $200 Trillion – 840 Percent of Current GDP (The Globe And Mail, Oct 27, 2010):

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

And again, prepare for total collapse.


Cox and Archer: Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the True U.S. Debt (Wall Street Journal, Nov 26, 2012):

Hiding the government’s liabilities from the public makes it seem that we can tax our way out of mounting deficits. We can’t.

A decade and a half ago, both of us served on President Clinton’s Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, the forerunner to President Obama’s recent National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In 1994 we predicted that, unless something was done to control runaway entitlement spending, Medicare and Social Security would eventually go bankrupt or confront severe benefit cuts.

Eighteen years later, nothing has been done. Why? The usual reason is that entitlement reform is the third rail of American politics. That explanation presupposes voter demand for entitlements at any cost, even if it means bankrupting the nation.

A better explanation is that the full extent of the problem has remained hidden from policy makers and the public because of less than transparent government financial statements. How else could responsible officials claim that Medicare and Social Security have the resources they need to fulfill their commitments for years to come? Continue reading »

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Oct 10

Authorities charge 91 in $430 million Medicare fraud (Reuters, Oct 4, 2012):

Ninety-one people including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were charged criminally in a new sweep of Medicare fraud involving seven U.S. cities and $430 million in alleged false billing, officials said on Thursday.

It was the government’s second big raid in recent months after a similar effort in May alleged $452 million in fraud in Medicare, the U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled.

Continue reading »

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Sep 07

Are You Better Off? 40 Statistics That Will Absolutely Shock You (Economic Collapse, Sep 6, 2012):

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  This is a question that comes up nearly every election.  This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it: #AreYouBetterOff.  The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not.  So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago?  Of course not.  One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago.  But the same thing was true four years ago as well.  Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time.  The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this.  A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: “Decline of middle class not Obama’s fault“, and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November.  But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy.  So who should we blame?Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is “above politics” and that their “independence” must never be questioned. Continue reading »

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Aug 26

REPORT: Seniors Will Pay $60,000 More For Medicare Under Romney/Ryan Plan (ThinkProgress, Aug 24, 2012)

See also:

Barack Obama And Mitt Romney Are Essentially The Same Candidate … 40 Facts

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: The Election Of The Next Puppet President: High Stake Outcomes Based On Non-issues.

“The selection of the next president of the US will depend on one thing alone–which of the two candidates financed by the ruling private oligarchy has the most effective propaganda.”

“Whether you vote Republican or Democrat, the oligarchs will win.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: The Dispossessed Majority – ‘The US Is Ruled By A Private Oligarchy. The Government Is Merely Their Front.’

“If Americans had any sense, they would stay home and not vote.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: ‘War Criminals Run The State Department And The Entire US Government’

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Aug 22

Flashback:

Obamacare, The Great Swindle: A Costly New Tax On The Middle Class – Government Monopoly For Big Pharma – How It Will Lead To Mandatory Vaccinations For Everyone

Judge Napolitano On Obamacare: ‘Individual Mandate Most Bizarre Tax In The History Of The Country’ (Video)

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare … AS A TAX!!!

U.S. SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS CORE OF OBAMA HEALTH CARE

CHANGE: Obamacare Creates $17 TRILLION In Unfunded Liabilities (Video)

The Obamacare Mandate: Obama VERSUS Obama (Video) (Hilarious!)

Judge Napolitano On Obamacare And The Supreme Court (Video)

New Obamacare Regulation Calls For Free Sterilization For All College Women


Read My Lips: 18 New ‘Obamacare’ Taxes (Zerohedge, Aug 21, 2012):

Don’t worry, the ‘fiscal cliff’ will all be taken care of; have no fear, the market AAPL will hold up into the election to sustain Obama’s hope-and-change; and, as The Heritage Foundry blog reports, in that change, there are 18 new tax hikes on their way via Obamacare.Not only did the President and his partners in Congress take $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, but they also raise taxes by $836.3 billion to pay for it, with $36.3 billion hitting Americans in 2013 alone. Here’s the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation‘s (JCT) updated cost of the Obamacare tax hikes and penalties.

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Aug 13

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Apr 29


YouTube Added: 26.04.2012

In case the YouTube video ‘disappears’:

Books from Jim Marrs @Amazon.com:

The Trillion-Dollar Conspiracy: How the New World Order, Man-Made Diseases, and Zombie Banks Are Destroying America

The Terror Conspiracy Revisited: What Really Happened On 9/11, And Why We’re Still Paying The Price

The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies That Threaten to Take Over America

Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids

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Sep 21

Surgeons won’t have to wait to make sure a heart has stopped beating before harvesting organs under new guidelines (Daily Mail, Sep. 20, 2011):

Surgeons retrieving organs to be transplanted just after a patient’s heart has stopped beating will no longer have to wait to make sure it doesn’t start up again if new proposals are adopted.

At present when doctors are retrieving organs they have to wait at least two minutes to ensure it doesn’t spontaneously start again.

Critics now fear seriously ill patients could be viewed more like tissue banks than sick people if the plans to change rules about organ donation go ahead.

There is currently a ban on considering anyone to be a potential donor before doctors and family members have independently decided to stop trying to save them.

That is poised to be eliminated if the plans by the group that co-ordinates organ allocation in the United States are adopted.

Continue reading »

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Aug 08

Related article:

Prof. Kotlikoff: ‘The US is bankrupt’, Government Debt At $200 Trillion – 840 Percent of Current GDP (The Globe And Mail, Oct 27, 2010):

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”



Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and is a professor of economics at Boston University.

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion (NPR, August 6, 2011):

When Standard & Poor’s reduced the nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, “reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

It’s those medium- and long-term debt problems that also worry economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, who served as a senior economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. He says the national debt, which the U.S. Treasury has accounted at about $14 trillion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt,” Kotlikoff tells David Greene, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. “We’re focused just on the official debt, so we’re trying to balance the wrong books.”

Kotlikoff explains that America’s “unofficial” payment obligations — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits — jack up the debt figure substantially.

“If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,” he says. “That’s our true indebtedness.”

Continue reading »

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Mar 10

After yesterday TrimTabs Charles Biderman made it all too clear who runs the stock market, today the same firm exposes the system’s dirty socialist core: “In a research note, TrimTabs highlights that government social benefits —including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance—were equal to 35% of all private and public wages and salaries in the 12 months ended January, up from 10% in 1960 and 21% in 2000.

“We have no quibble with the view that the U.S. economy is expanding at a moderate pace,” says Madeline Schnapp, Director of Macroeconomic Research at TrimTabs. “But we believe Wall Street does not fully appreciate the degree to which growth depends on government support.”

Schanpp’s conclusion: QE3 is inevitable, leaving aside debt monetization concerns, as without it the US welfare state will collapse. DXY: meet 50, just in time for the NYSE Borse to extends its rollup with the Zimbaber stock exchange.

More from TrimTabs:


“The pressure on the federal government to decrease runaway spending is intense, while state and local governments are slashing payrolls to eliminate deficits,” notes Schnapp. “Further declines in public-sector employment and transfer payments bode ill for wages and salaries, and they will exact an even larger toll on final demand.”

“We think very few market participants understand that the economy has become heavily dependent on government largesse,” cautions Schnapp. “We are hardly convinced that the recovery can persist without outside aid, so we expect the Fed to roll out QE3 shortly after QE2 ends at the close of June.”

One thing is certain: socialist status quo under Uber-Comrade Iossif Vissarionovich Bernankestein must continue as usual, or else US will no longer be able to say it is not Libya.

Continue reading »

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Feb 18

The videos are a flashback and a must-see.

More about Ron Paul:

YAF Kicks Out Ron Paul

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Again

Rep. Ron Paul: Next US Crash Will Be Comparable To That Of Soviet Union, QE2 Is A ‘Total Failure’ And The Fed Is A ‘Central Planning Cartel’

Ron Paul 2012 – Can you Hear us Now?

Ron Paul: ‘Is the Gold Really There? Who Owns It?’


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Dec 27

WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Continue reading »

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Aug 11

Highly recommended reading.

The Greatest Depression is here.


john-williams-shadowstatscom

When Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admits to seeing an “unusually uncertain” economy ahead, it’s pretty terrifying to imagine what he’s really thinking. What John Williams envisions-and he’s by no means looking to the far horizon-is a systemic collapse, a hyperinflationary great depression and the cessation of normal commerce. Despite that bleak outlook, however, when the economist and editor of ShadowStats.com sat down for this exclusive Energy Report interview, he also had some good news.

The Energy Report: A few months back, John, you said, “if you strangle liquidity you always contract an economy and deliberately or not, liquidity is being strangled, resulting in sharp declines in consumer credit, commercial and industrial loans.” Does this mean it would spur more economic growth if banks actually started lending?

John Williams: It sure wouldn’t hurt. We’re still seeing contractions in liquidity, and that’s adjusted for inflation. In real terms, M3 money supply is down almost 8% year-over-year. It’s the sharpest fall in the post -World War II era. It’s not so much the depth of the decline in the liquidity or the duration, but the fact that the liquidity turns negative year-over-year that signals the economy turning down.

We had the signal in December of 2009 indicating intensification of the downturn, in this case, within six to nine months. We’re in that timeframe now and see softening numbers. People are talking about a weaker economy. Even Mr. Bernanke has described the economy as “unusually uncertain” in terms of its outlook. Wording like that from the Fed is a pretty good indication that something’s afoot. Continue reading »

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May 19


Added: 13. Mai 2010

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Apr 16

Well well well…. ( The origins of the next crisis – William White, the former chief economist at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) gave an important speech at George Soros’ Inaugural Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET) conference in Cambridge.):

In essence, White was saying: “it’s the debt, stupid.”  When aggregate debt levels build up across business cycles, economists focused on managing within business cycles miss the key ingredient that leads to systemic crisis. It should be expected that politicians or private sector participants worried about the day-to-day exhibit short-termism. But White says it is particularly troubling that economists and their models exhibit the same tendency because it means there is no long-term oriented systemic counterweight guiding the economy.

This short-termism that White refers to is what I call the asset-based economic model. And, quite frankly, it works – especially when interest rates are declining as they have over the past quarter century. The problem, however, is that you reach a critical state when the accumulation of debt and the misallocation of resources is so large that the same old policies just don’t work anymore. And that’s when the next crisis occurs.

It seems that Mr. Harrison has it figured out.  He goes on to spend a lot of digital ink on the periphery of the bottom line, which is that we continue to think of debt in terms of service costs (indeed, you’ll hear Bernanke talk about it, but never about the actual gross financial system debt outstanding.)

When you boil all this down, however, you get to the following chart (trendline added by moi):

usdoomloop

You can see what’s going on here – each “crisis” leads to lower lows and lower highs.

This presents two problems: Continue reading »

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Apr 03

pfizer

In what is being hailed as a major victory for workers in the biotech and nanotech fields, a former scientist with pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has been awarded $1.37 million for being fired after raising the alarm over researchers being infected with a genetically engineered “AIDS-like” virus.

Becky McClain, a molecular biologist from Deep River, Connecticut, filed a lawsuit against Pfizer in 2007, claiming she had been wrongly terminated for complaining about faulty safety equipment that allowed a “dangerous lentivirus” to infect her and some of her colleagues.

The Hartford Courant describes the virus as “similar to the one that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.” Health experts testified that the virus has affected the way McClain’s body processes potassium, which they say causes McClain to suffer complete paralysis as often as a dozen times per month, the Courant reports.

McClain’s lawsuit (PDF) asserted that Pfizer had interfered with her right to free speech, and that she should have been protected from retaliation by whistleblower legislation. Continue reading »

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Mar 12

The Insurance Companies ‘Are The Real Death Panels In This Country.’


The video is Grayson’s speech on the House floor Tuesday, uploaded to YouTube.

Progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) isn’t giving up on offering Americans a public option.

The congressman on Tuesday introduced the four-page H.R. 4789 “Public Option Act,” also called the “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” would allow all legal American residents under 65 to enroll in Medicare by paying a fee. He made a passionate call for a vote on the floor of the House.

“The government spent billions of dollars creating a Medicare network of providers that is only open to one-eighth of the population,” Grayson said. “That’s like saying, ‘Only people 65 and over can use federal highways.’  It is a waste of a very valuable resource and it is not fair.  This idea is simple, it makes sense, and it deserves an up-or-down vote.”

The inclusion of a public option in the larger Democratic health care legislation has been a topic of immense debate. The Senate dropped the proposal in December and the final package is unlikely to include it. A Medicare buy-in option was also briefly considered but didn’t survive.

The Florida freshman described the “adversarial relationship” he had with his insurance company when his bills skyrocketed during the birth of his twins, who were born early and spent months in the hospital. He said many Americans face similar problems, and that “every penny they spent on my care was a penny less for their profits.”

“America needs a public option,” he declared, lamenting the lack of competition in the private insurance industry. “That’s why I’ve introduced this bill.”

Seeking to clear up any doubts about the proposal, Grayson noted that it’s “not a plan for subsidies” as “everyone would have to pay their own costs.”

He labeled insurance companies “the real death panels in this country” due to their widely-documented practices of denying care due to people with pre-existing conditions and rescinding coverage from sick patients. Continue reading »

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Feb 09


Date: 8th Feb 10

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Jan 25

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

paul-craig-roberts
Paul Craig Roberts

At my annual check-up, my doctor handed me a sheet explaining the reasons for office fee increases for Medicare Patients. It is worth reporting at length.

Medicare fixes the prices for Medicare patients’ health care. All office charges for Medicare, including office visit charges, have been set by the Federal government since 1984. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), these fixed prices are less today than they were three decades ago.

During the last four years, there have been large decreases in Medicare reimbursements for laboratory services provided in-house by private physicians. Payments for in-office blood work, for example, have been cut 35 to 47 per cent. Yet, a physician’s overhead continues to increase as a result of uncontrollable costs, such as property taxes, building insurance, electricity, maintenance, malpractice and workers compensation insurance.

As one result, my doctor had to close both the x-ray unit and the state and federally licensed medical laboratory on his premises. Now patients are inconvenienced by having to go to other locations for services that formerly were provided by the doctor at lower cost. A one day medical check-up is now a multiple day event and more expensive.

While Medicare payments to doctors have been cut, regulations have been increasing: “Almost every outside diagnostic procedure (CT, MRI scan, sonogram) ordered by this office now has to be pre-approved by some outside agency. Many medications are now requiring pre-approval or step therapy. Each requires filling out 1-2 pages of forms and/or two or more phone calls. This requires personnel time and therefore more cost. Consultant referrals are requiring more paperwork and time to schedule.”

My doctor has more people employed doing paperwork than he does delivering health care.

While Medicare payments for in-office services to private doctors, including those for blood work and x-ray units, were drastically cut, payments to outside corporate facilities for the same services were increased. It is obvious what is afoot. Corporate lobbies are using their whores in Congress to shift income from physician offices to corporate labs, corporate medical service providers, and hospitals that are owned by national corporations.

Legislation that cuts payments to private physicians and increases the payments to large corporate entities is intended to destroy private practice and to create in its place corporate bureaucracies in which doctors are wage slaves. The physician’s income is diverted to shareholders, CEO bonuses, and Wall Street. Health care is being replaced with health business.

As a result of the way American medicine is being reconstructed, patients will cease to have a doctor whom they know and who knows them. Important information is lost in a system of bureaucratized “health care” in which a patient sees whatever face happens to be on duty at the corporate provider. Impersonal health care thus brings a cost of its own, and its quality can be low compared to private practice. Indeed, the U.S. is creating a “health care” system that is more costly and less efficient than single-payer national health systems. But it will enrich corporations and provide play for Wall Street.

It turns one’s stomach to watch libertarians and “free market economists” defend bureaucratized impersonal health care as “free market medicine.” There is no free market present. Corporate lobbies and campaign contributions use government power to create bureaucratized monopolies that destroy medicine for the practitioner and the patient. Wall Street pushes for greater shareholder earnings, which are achieved by denying care.

Just as independent businesses have been destroyed by corporate chains from Wal-Mart to auto parts to fast food, medicine is being destroyed by monopoly capital. The risks of starting a private business today are many times higher than they were a half century ago. Chains have turned Americans who once were independent business men and women into employees.

The fate of the health care bill demonstrates the power of private lobbies. What was to be health care for Americans was instantly transformed into 30 million new patients for the private health insurance industry. The “solution” to tens of millions of Americans being unable to afford health care is a law that requires them to purchase a private health care policy or be annually fined. As most of these uninsured Americans cannot afford to purchase a private policy, the plan is for the federal government to use taxpayers’ money to subsidize their purchase of a policy from private companies.

In other words, tax money is being diverted to the pockets of private businesses. This is par for the course in “capitalist” America. Continue reading »

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Dec 26

The US is already beyond hope!

See also:

John Williams of Shadowstats: Prepare For The Hyperinflationary Great Depression

This is the Greatest Depression.


ShadowStats.com founder John Williams explains the risk of hyperinflation. Worst-case scenario? Rioting in the streets and devolution to a bartering system.

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Courtesy of John WilliamsEconomist/statistician John Williams shifts through the government’s rose-tinted data

Do you believe everything the government tells you? Economist and statistician John Williams sure doesn’t. Williams, who has consulted for individuals and Fortune 500 companies, now uncovers the truth behind the U.S. government’s economic numbers on his Web site at ShadowStats.com. Williams says, over the last several decades, the feds have been infusing their data with optimistic biases to make the economy seem far rosier than it really is. His site reruns the numbers using the original methodology. What he found was not good.

Maymin: So we are technically bankrupt?

Williams: Yes, and when countries are in that state, what they usually do is rev up the printing presses and print the money they need to meet their obligations. And that creates inflation, hyperinflation, and makes the currency worthless.

Obama says America will go bankrupt if Congress doesn’t pass the health care bill.

Well, it’s going to go bankrupt if they do pass the health care bill, too, but at least he’s thinking about it. He talks about it publicly, which is one thing prior administrations refused to do. Give him credit for that. But what he’s setting up with this health care system will just accelerate the process.

Where are we right now?

In terms of the GDP, we are about halfway to depression level. If you look at retail sales, industrial production, we are already well into depressionary. If you look at things such as the housing industry, the new orders for durable goods we are in Great Depression territory. If we have hyperinflation, which I see coming not too far down the road, that would be so disruptive to our system that it would result in the cessation of many levels of normal economic commerce, and that would throw us into a great depression, and one worse than was seen in the 1930s.

What kind of hyperinflation are we talking about?

I am talking something like you saw with the Weimar Republic of the 1930s. There the currency became worthless enough that people used it actually as toilet paper or wallpaper. You could go to a fine restaurant and have an expensive dinner and order an expensive bottle of wine. The next morning that empty bottle of wine is worth more as scrap glass than it had been the night before filled with expensive wine.

We just saw an extreme example in Zimbabwe. … Probably the most extreme hyperinflation that anyone has ever seen. At the same time, you still had a functioning, albeit troubled, Zimbabwe economy. How could that be? They had a workable backup system of a black market in U.S. dollars. We don’t have a backup system of anything. Our system, with its heavy dependence on electronic currency, in a hyperinflation would not do well. It would probably cease to function very quickly. You could have disruptions in supply chains to food stores. The economy would devolve into something like a barter system until they came up with a replacement global currency.

What can we do to avoid hyperinflation? What if we just shut down the Fed or something like that?

We can’t. The actions have already been taken to put us in it. It’s beyond control. The government does put out financial statements usually in December using generally accepted accounting principles, where unfunded liabilities like Medicare and Social Security are included in the same way as corporations account for their employee pension liabilities. And in 2008, for example, the one-year deficit was $5.1 trillion dollars. And that’s instead of the $450 billion, plus or minus, that was officially reported.

Wow.

These numbers are beyond containment. Even the 2008 numbers, you can take 100 percent of people’s income and corporate profit and you’d still be in deficit. There’s no way you can raise enough money in taxes.

What about spending?

If you eliminated all federal expenditures except for Medicare and Social Security, you’d still be in deficit. You have to slash Social Security and Medicare. But I don’t see any political will to rein in the costs the way they have to be reined in. There’s just no way it can be contained. The total federal debt and net present value of the unfunded liabilities right now totals about $75 trillion. That’s five times the level of GDP. Continue reading »

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Dec 03

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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Paul Craig Roberts

It didn’t take the Israel Lobby very long to bring President Obama to heel regarding his prohibition against further illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Obama discovered that a mere American president is powerless when confronted by the Israel Lobby and that the United States simply is not allowed a Middle East policy separate from Israel’s.

Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so.

The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it.

President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order.

Essentially, Obama is irrelevant.

President Obama can promise that he is going to bring the troops home, and the military lobby says, “No, you are going to send them to Afghanistan, and in the meantime start a war in Pakistan and maneuver Iran into a position that will provide an excuse for a war there, too. Wars are too profitable for us to let you stop them.”

And the mere president has to say, “Yes, Sir!”

Obama can promise health care to 50 million uninsured Americans, but he can’t override the veto of the war lobby and the insurance lobby. The war lobby says its war profits are more important than health care and that the country can’t afford both the “war on terror” and “socialized medicine.”

The insurance lobby says health care has to be provided by private health insurance; otherwise, we can’t afford it.

The war and insurance lobbies rattled their campaign contribution pocketbooks and quickly convinced Congress and the White House that the real purpose of the health care bill is to save money by cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits, thereby “getting entitlements under control.”

Continue reading »

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Nov 18

Change you can believe in!



Added: 17. November 2009

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