Hurting the Little Guy

Oh-Mama!-Care

by
Bill Sardi

Recently
by Bill Sardi: Is
Cancer Being Cured Right Before Our Eyes?



Oh mama, the
Affordable Care Act is unfolding in all its ugly glory.

Americans are
just now learning exactly how this piece of healthcare legislation
is going to play out, and the realization of what it has morphed
into is quite a disgusting chapter in current American history.

Now before
I proceed in telling you what Obamacare has morphed into, I want
to go off on a tangent for a moment.

On a momentary
tangent: the unbanked

In another
industry, banking, there is a large segment of the population that
is unbanked just like there is a large portion of the American population
that is uninsured healthcare-wise.

According to
a federal government survey (there they go snooping again), more
than one in four households (28.3 percent) are either unbanked or
under-banked
, conducting some or all of their financial transactions
outside of the mainstream banking system.

An estimated
8.2 percent of US households are unbanked. This represents 1 in
12 households in the nation, or nearly 10 million in total. Approximately
17 million American adults live in unbanked households. The federal
government knows precisely how many unbanked Americans there are
by ethnicity, education, income level, age and even geography.

According to
the federal government, 29.3%
of American homes do not have a savings account
. (Translation:
they are not allowing banks to use their money as capitalization
for lending schemes that have fallen into chaos as banks over-extended
credit in recent times.)

The federal
government knows how the unbanked operate financially, how often
they obtain payday loans, use pawn shops, use rent-to-own offers,
etc. The federal government says it has a “statutory mandate
to estimate the proportion of households that do not fully participate
in the banking system.” (Page 4 of FDIC
National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
.) The
data appears to have been tabulated for the good of bankers, not
the citizenry.

There is good
reason why the subject of unbanking is brought up in a report about
the healthcare uninsured. The new federal health law, called the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires most Americans (except
Congress) to carry health insurance starting in January 2014, presents
a problem since insurance companies generally accept checks or credit
cards as payment for premiums, but just how are the unbanked going
to make payments?

The unbanked
and the uninsured

Will insurance
companies require new enrollees to produce a bank account number?
This
subject is being discussed
.

Surely the
IRS, which is the enforcement arm of the Affordable Care Act (you
pay a fine if you don’t buy health insurance, and it will be taken
out of your bank account), needs a bank account to raid.

By the way,
also recognize that transaction fees for credit cards or pre-paid
debit cards can run as high as 4%, which can be quite a bite out
of the profits from private insurance plans under the Affordable
Care Act. (Another bonanza for the bankers?)

I’m just wondering,
if the IRS is not just limited to extraction of financial penalties
from non-participants directly from their bank account and elects
to take monthly insurance premiums directly out of a person’s bank
account and forward them on to the insurance carrier, wouldn’t that
serve to eliminate the 4% transfer fee? Is that why the IRS has
been brought into this program?

Federal
government stands in for bankers and insurance men

The federal
government sees itself as an agency both to promote (coerce) banking
among the unbanked on behalf of the banking industry and to strong-arm
Americans into buying health insurance on behalf of the health insurance
industry. The latter is what the Affordable Care Act is all about.

Now it has
been said that America has turned into an example of crony capitalism–
when industry pays off government to obtain a preferential business
climate. But America has morphed into something worse than that.
It has become a fascist state when it creates public mandates citizens
must adhere to.

Forced or
coerced vaccination as medical fascism

For example,
federal and state governments coerce Americans to undergo vaccination
via school and work programs. Vaccine makers don’t have to incur
marketing costs, kids have to be vaccinated to get into school,
young men and women to enter the military, etc.

This might
be acceptable if vaccination were all that it is claimed to be.
But it isn’t. The flu vaccination program is a sham. Flu vaccination
doesn’t address the primary strain of the flu in circulation each
flu season and doesn’t prevent deaths among high-risk groups — the
elderly and the very young. Yet the Centers for Disease Control
essentially serves as a free publicity agency for vaccine makers,
spreading fear over imagined pandemics to promote sales of vaccines.

The same goes
for the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine claimed to save young
sexually active girls from acquiring a virus that may end up causing
cervical cancer years in their future.

But HPV clears
in 70% of infected individuals on its own. Vaccination only protects
from 2-4 strains of HPV, not all 30 strains. Provision
of folic acid and vitamin C appears to quell HPV infection better
than vaccines
. But state and federal governments are unceasingly
pushing this vaccine on the public.

Affordable
fascism

Congressman
Ron Paul describes the Affordable Care Act as an example of fascism
in healthcare, not just socialized medicine
.

When the Supreme
Court upheld that the federal government can force its citizens
to buy something, in this instance health insurance, it stepped
over the line from crony capitalism to fascism.

To be precise,
the Supreme Court justices did in fact rule that the Affordable
Care Act exceeds Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause of
the Constitution, but “read
the statute not to impose a strict mandate to purchase health insurance
but instead to levy a Constitutionally valid tax for failure to
do so
.” This is an unfathomable trick — you pay a fine
for not doing something.

Not socialized
medicine, semi state-run enterprises

The U.S. government
isn’t providing healthcare funded out of taxes like socialized medicine
in Sweden or Canada. The U.S. is said to be recruiting
9000 “customer service representatives” to man telephone
lines
(call 800 318-2596 or visit www.healthcare.gov ) and answer
questions about private health insurance packages being offered
under the Affordable Care Act.

Say again?
Yes, you heard it right, the federal government is incurring the
marketing and recruitment costs for private insurance firms and
even answering the phone for them! It’s everything but a state-owned
business.

While it is
said 56 million Americans are uninsured, actually only
about 11 million (3.6%) were truly uninsured
. The more broadly
disseminated figure of 56 million uninsured Americans included 17
million who elected not to purchase health insurance even though
they had sufficient income to buy it. That is the primary target
group insurance companies are covertly employing government to coerce
into buying their product.

Free advertising
and promotion

In some instances
the States are funding the promotion of their healthcare exchange.
For example, California
is putting up $43 million, Illinois about $28 million
, Colorado
$12 million
. Colorado has 13 participating insurance companies
getting the benefit of all this for free. Then the federal government
is getting asked to kick in an additional $125 million for the Rocky
Mountain state. Don’t you wish your business had a free telephone
room and a government subsidized payment plan, and free advertising
via federal and state agencies?

Will it
live up to its mandate to save money?

Is the affordable
care act going to save newly eligible Americans money on health
insurance premiums?

In Colorado
the bare-bones, plain vanilla insurance package for an individual
40-year old nonsmoker is reported to start at $177/month
. That
“bronze level” insurance package in Colorado is going
to cost $2124 a year, or about 11% of income of a low-income wage
earner ($23,550 is just above the poverty line).

Insurance subsidies
may not be available to those individuals with an income just above
the poverty level ($23,550 for an individual or up to four times
that amount – $94,200 – for a family of four).

Let’s see how
much money this low-income wage earner has left after the federal
government takes its taxes out of his check.

If this insured
person earns just above the poverty level of income ($23,550) and
his employer kicks in half of FICA (deductions for Medicare and
Social Security — 7.65%), then another $1801 is deducted from his
paycheck (double this amount if self-employed).

Then there
is 15% federal income tax, or about another $3000. So this 40-year
old low-income worker is paying $3000 income tax, $1801 FICA and
having to spend $2124 for health insurance, which leaves him ~$16,626
to live on.

Guesstimating
just $800/month for housing and $200/month car payment — deduct
another $12,000/year, leaving this worker with about $4626/year
to pay for food, clothing, car insurance, gasoline, etc. Driving
12,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 20-MPG = 600 gallons
X $4.00/gallon = $2400 for gasoline, leaving $2226 ($6 a day) for
food, clothing, auto insurance, etc.

This is barely
do-able, so it’s no wonder so many Americans decided to chance it
and go without health insurance. Even with the Affordable Care Act,
the uninsured may decide to take the penalty ($95 in 2014, $365
in 2015 and $695 in 2016).

Does the
ACA prevent personal bankruptcy?

With the Affordable
Care Act in place for this hypothetical American worker, insurance
plans cannot raise his premium more than 10% without public justification
(whatever that means), and he cannot be arbitrarily removed from
coverage, and pre-existing conditions do not make him ineligible,
and there are no lifetime spending limits on his care. His selected
health plan must spend 80% of its revenues on delivery of care or
rebate money back.

So it sounds
like this fellow at least may avert personal bankruptcy if an unexpected
and costly health crisis occurs. But that is not quite the case.

There are out-of-pocket
costs for health care
in ACA insurance packages being offered.
For exchange-sold plans, the maximum annual out-of-pocket cost is
$6350 per individual, or $12,700 per family. But that is not all.

The cost of
medical care is covered but prescription drugs may not be covered
entirely. This could still leave our beleaguered worker with a bill
for $13,000 out-of-pocket, certainly enough to force him into bankruptcy.

Oh, mama, the
little guy is still getting pounded.

The White House
is bragging the Affordable
Care Act has already saved Americans about $2.1 billion in rebates

that have been paid by health plans that didn’t spend at least 80%
of their revenues on provision of care. Americans are never going
to see through this ruse — the token rebates are simply being publicized
to make the federal government look good while it takes billions
of dollars of administration and marketing costs off the table for
the insurance companies.

Will it
save money?

The problem
is, to BE EFFECTIVE, the Affordable Care Act has to take a big bite
out of healthcare — hundreds of billions of dollars. The Congressional
Budget Office says up
to 30% of health care in the U.S. is unnecessary
. Medicare
faces unfunded future liabilities totaling $34 trillion over the
next 75 years
.

While Title
IV, Section 4202 of the Affordable Care Act
spells out the components
of a wellness program to include nutritional counseling, physical
activity plan, alcohol and smoking cessation counseling, stress
management, and dietary supplements that have health claims approved
by the Secretary of Health Education & Welfare (that list doesn’t
even include vitamin C cures scurvy), doctors simply aren’t trained
to provide preventive services that they often consider beneath
their training. Furthermore, the fee-for- service system that is
now in place prioritizes services that produce the most insurance
reimbursement.

The Affordable
Care Act runs off in two divergent directions. One is to prescribe
a regimen of preventive measures (vaccinations and health screenings
like mammograms and colonoscopies) that will surely raise health
care costs as more undetected and untreated pre-disease is detected,
while at the same time the Affordable Care Act says it is going
to ferret out waste fraud and abuse, invoke price controls and conduct
comparative effective research to determine which treatments are
the most cost effective.

Treatment
effectiveness analysis

Evaluation
of treatment effectiveness — let’s see if that ever happens.

For example,
preventive health screenings may be of limited benefit. Colonoscopies
offer only a remote chance of ever benefiting a patient
. Mammography
may actually increase the risk for cancer
.

Ineffective
and problematic drugs pose another difficulty. For example, there
are an estimated $11
billion of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs sold in the U.S. annually
,
many for healthy patients whose doctor thinks they need prevention
of mortal heart attacks. But statin drugs do not reduce the risk
for mortal heart attacks, they
meagerly reduce the risk for a non-mortal heart attack by 1 in 200
healthy users over a 5-year period
. In healthy adults, statin
drugs are more likely to induce side effects like diabetes, muscle
degradation, liver toxicity or even mental decline than to prevent
a heart attack. The risks outweigh the benefits. But is the federal
health program going to reject Medicare payments for statin drugs?
I wouldn’t bet on it, not with Big Pharma’s Congressional lobbyists
in place.

What about
cancer therapies? There are no cures for cancer. The
cancer care industry makes specious claims survival times are being
lengthened
, but in fact all that is being done is tumors are
being detected and treated at an earlier and smaller stage. Patients
are still dying on the same calendar day
.

Chemotherapy
only contributes to the 5-year survival of cancer patients 2-3%
of the time
.

Another example
is thyroid cancer. The 5-year survival of thyroid cancer patients
is said to be 96%, but even with 37,000 cases being detected and
treated annually, the
number of deaths from thyroid cancer (1600 per year) has not budged
in 30 years
.

Is the Affordable
Care Act going to disapprove payment for these ineffective therapies
at the risk of being criticized of rationing care for dying patients?

Manpower
problems

Another issue
in delivering healthcare under the Affordable Care Act is manpower.
With millions more previously uninsured Americans now gaining insurance
coverage, will there be enough doctors to go around?

In Arizona
there is speculation there aren’t enough doctors
to provide
the care for these newly insured patients. There is similar concern
being expressed in Wisconsin
and Missouri.

Here is another
instance where the Affordable Care Act is talking out of two sides
of its mouth. It wants price controls, it wants to cut physician’s
fees, but for States that are expanding their Medicaid program to
accommodate uninsured citizens, physician reimbursement may not
be adequate to provide the promised care.

For example,
Medi-Cal is said to be “such
a broken system with really abysmal reimbursement rates

that providers are electing not to participate. Medi-Cal pays $18-24
for a basic office visit, which is scheduled to fall to $14-15 as
State budget problems are addressed.

Summary

The Affordable
Care Act could implode on its very first day. Its most disturbing
reality is that it doesn’t serve the little guy very well. However,
it does reduce recruitment costs and expands the list of customers
for insurers. It may also be used as a covert way to coerce unbanked
Americans to put their money in banks. Americans just above poverty-line
income levels, who may be eagerly awaiting receipt of an insurance
card for the first time, may not have enough money to pay for out-of-pocket
costs, may not even be able to find a participating doctor to deliver
care, may not avert personal bankruptcy in the event of an unexpected
costly health emergency, and may not even be able to pay for insurance
premiums themselves. Oh mama, the Affordable Care Act may be a failure
right out of the starting gate.

Mama, say it
isn’t so!

July
2, 2013

Bill
Sardi
[send
him mail
]
is a frequent writer on health and political
topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com.
His
latest book is
Downsizing
Your Body
.

Copyright
© 2013 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California.
This article has been written exclusively for www.LewRockwell.com
and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than
post at other URLs. 

The
Best of Bill Sardi

Republished with permission from:: Lew Rockwell