Health-Cost Spiral Alone Is Enough to Sink Obama


When I got socked with a 25% increase in health insurance premiums last January, I’d assumed that that would be it for the year. In the past, like clockwork, there has been a staggering rate hike effective on New Year’s Day, but no more increases for the next twelve months. Not this year, apparently.  On Friday, I received a notice of yet another 20% rate hike, and it left me wondering whether my premiums will have doubled by the time 2012 rolls around. Like all such health insurance notices since the passage of Obamacare, this one attributed the increase to new rules and to healthcare costs that continue to spin out-of-control: “Your new premium appears at the top of this letter and reflects a combination of recent changes required by Health Care Reform,”  read the notice.  Specifically, there were two reasons given for the increase: 1) the birthday of a policyholder; or, 2)  an increase in claim levels by policyholders in my state, Colorado.

This the very same “reform” that the new Republican majority in Congress swore it would kill and which the Wall Street Journal labeled the “Worst Bill Ever”.  No argument here. Unfortunately, for an execrable piece of legislation that a majority of voters despise, and upon whose egregious flaws Republicans trained their heavy artillery during last fall’s campaign, it is doing quite a bit of damage without having been even 20% implemented. It were as though the Fed had announced a trillion dollar stimulus package: the mere anticipation is all that’s needed to set off a defensive panic by all who are exposed to the dollar.  In this case, the insurers will have exposure on the claims side that had previously been neutralized by their ability to peg rates to individual risk. No longer, though. One-size-fits-all policies will effectively require healthy policyholders subsidize the sick, women to subsidize men and young to subsidize old. If all of this was supposed to cause rates to level off and eventually to drop, scary letters like the one I just received from my carrier say the opposite is happening.

Media Lies

What amazes most is that the mainstream media would have us believe Obama remains a viable candidate for 2012.  How could this possibly be so?  The catastrophic threat posed by Obamacare alone caused voters to reject the Democrats en masse last November. Since then, tens of millions of healthcare policy holders are seeing their worst fears materialize in the form of huge rate increases. That should suffice to sink Obama in 2012, even if he were doing everything else right.  Unfortunately, he is not.  Far from it. The economy is slipping back into recession or worse, Afghanistan is looking increasingly like an unwinnable quagmire, and the president’s dangerously inept Middle East policy is about to embolden the jihadists into starting a war with Israel, if not with the entire world. Despite the backing of the New York Times and the usual bunch of other hard-left news outlets, we think Obama’s odds of getting reelected are very poor. Sarah Palin may be the only politician in the GOP field he could beat, but her candidacy, fortunately, seems unthinkable at the moment.  Under the circumstances, we’ve decided to tune out the polls, with their rigged questions and surreal results, and pray that America survives Obama’s remaining 19 months in office.

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  • donniemac June 3, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Late coming to the table, but I have a question for you, Rick. What exactly does you getting a year older and an increase in claims by Colorado policyholders have to do with the Healthcare act of 2009, or for that matter any healthcare plan?
    You actually hit on the reason for the mandatory participation into insurance. To spread the risk. Younger healthier people pay premiums now so that they can get lower costs down the road. You would not suppose that the increase was due to you using your coverage for your recent illness, do you? Welcome to the real world, this was going on long before Obama was elected. Only in your case, I doubt if the premiums were raised to, say, 60% of your income as what happened to many low income families.
    I don’t know the solution (although I have my 2 cents worth), but I know that the model that was implemented after 1993 is not working for a large part of our population. My 2 cents worth is this. A single payor system that covers catastrophic costs. No one should have to face either going bankrupt or not having care solely due to the cost of an expensive procedure. A deductible of say $5ooo or $10000 per year would make it affordable for those employers who wish to provide coverage for their employees, and make coverage for the self-employed also affordable. This should also help eliminate the very real concern you have of some just flooding the doctor’s, etc. office as they would be responsible for that deductible.
    But back to the increase in your premiums, it had less to do with the “Obamacare” and more to do with current insurance company practices. Those practices include taking the policy holders who cost more out of the main pool and putting them into a separate policy pools and then raising the heck out of those premiums. This serves two purposes: 1) allows lower premiums for the healthy, hopefully attracting more customers 2) raises the premiums on those the insurance companies would like to see go elsewhere for insurance.
    I know because this has been happening to me over the past 5 years, long before Obama’s (or should I say Romney’s) plan was though out and passed.

  • Marcus June 1, 2011, 11:47 pm


    Having just received another one of those rate increase letters I can relate to your situation. I’m in California and my insurer also sent me a policy update outlining how they may and could simply withdraw from the individual insurance market in the future. Considering they are losing money on their individual policies and facing fierce political opposition to proposed rate increases this could be the cruelest consequence for many from this ill conceived health care bill. People with pre-existing conditions could find themselves uninsured and forced to rely on the government. The government can regulate all it wants, but it cannot force a company to provide a product or service for a loss without that company’s consent.

    While I agree this legislation has been a disaster, I do not agree that it bodes so poorly for Obama’s re-election chances.

    Never underestimate the ability of a politician to spin a problem of his own making to his own advantage. And when that politician is liked and trusted by the media, that power to spin is formidable. Obama used the threat of his bully pulpit to win concessions and acquiescence from the pharma industry. They agreed to pony up tens of billions and refrain from campaigning against it in return for a softer tone from the administration. So Obama turned his talents on demonizing the health insurance companies. His false, but oft repeated, claim that the health insurers were making record profits went unchallenged by a lazy and obsequious main stream media. Is there any reason to believe it will be any different in 2012? Only 9% of Americans directly purchase their own insurance, so most people never actually see the price increases forced by this legislation. What they do see and feel is the cuts in coverage that insurers will be forced to make as their input prices increase beyond what they can pass through in premiums. Blaming insurer greed for these cuts should be as easy for the pols as blaming the oil companies for high gas prices. In politics reality doesn’t matter, only perceptions of reality. And it is easier to change a perception of reality than to actually solve a problem.

    All health care systems, private or government, involve some form of rationing. Placing new mandates, regulations, taxes and fees on health insurers, medical equipment makers and pharma companies forces insurers to raise prices, limit services or abandon sectors of the market altogether. We will hear how the insurers put “profits before people”. There’ll be sad stories of people being priced out of coverage, or the sickly patient whose insurer abandoned the individual market leaving them uninsured. They’ll turn this into a drumbeat for a government option or a single payer plan. This legislation makes the health insurance companies the face of spiraling costs and rationed benefits and serves to provide politicians a handy scapegoat. The same pols who railed against the dysfunctional disconnect between risk and consequences that created the housing collapse, will happily use that disconnect to leverage their poorly crafted legislation into more votes.

    This political strategy is already evident in California. Anthem BC and Blue Shield were both losing money on their policies for the individual market and requested rate increases. The insurance commissioner Dave Jones, and an array of high profile democrats, railed against these increases and the greed of the insurance companies. The media provided very little in the way of pertinent details or fact checking. Most stories did not mention that these plans were losing money and they even failed to report that Blue Shield is a non-profit mutual. Blue Shield eventually relented and delayed their increase. Since there is no free lunch, a non-profit mutual cannot continue losing money on a product without eventually raising prices, restricting benefits or leaving the market. If they are forced to abandon the individual market, people with pre-existing conditions will be left uninsured and uninsurable. Will the politicians accept fault when this happens? Not likely. In politics it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you lay the blame.

    And how much are these mandated changes actually costing consumers? The difference in cost between my grandfathered plan (middle aged man, 5000 deductible PPO) and the non-grandfathered version is $875 per year or 18%. Since the pool of policyholders in the newly purchased plan with the mandates is likely to be younger and healthier than the pool in my grandfathered plan, and the fact that some mandates (like the lifetime limits) were not grandfathered, the difference is likely more than that 18%. So much for Affordable Care.

    So while I don’t feel Obama is unbeatable, I don’t see the inaptly named Affordable Care Act being his undoing in the general election.

  • Steve June 1, 2011, 11:11 pm

    @ Confused May 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm
    Steve “Silver Specie Money, still minted, still scorned, still the one money that can be used,”

    Forgive my ignorance, but wasn’t silver specie money discontinued in 1964? I am not aware of any silver specie money still being minted, could you expound on that thought please?

    Answer; The Act of 1985 established silver Specie Dollars (same value as the Act of 1792), and Eagles at 50 specie Dollars. According to the Mint these are Legal Tender Coins. One must read the legislative intent of the Senate in voting for the bill to provide “Exinguishment of Debts”.

    Problems come into play when a voluntary corporate enfranchisee slave attempts to make use of Specie which is only for a Common Man, having Common Rights, with all Sovereigns in Common. The corporate system is run under Roman Civil Law, the entire corporate U.S. as defined at 28 U.S.C. 3002(15) is a foreign entity not allowed the use of Sovereign Specie Coin Money.

    Like all things, the name of the 1985 bill was changed at the last minute to the Gold Bullion Act of 1985. Yet, when one reads the legislative intent it is to provide Coin to the People so that they could break free. The current federal union of states scheme works because of THE GAME THEORY that makes it very hard to Trade in Specie. All banks, and nearly all business is foreign, and corporate thereby making non co-operation a difficulty. Top that with the fact that a U.S. citizen is foreign to a state Citizen because of legislative creation of the U.S. citizen under master/servant law-legislative act of the new god, the congress for corporate roman government.

    Do not co-operate, but; that means doing business by private contract exterior of the current federal union of states mobocracy. We are the Union of several States – get it? It is hard – yes ? NO – we are just lazy as a people and want everything handed to us, including free healthcare.

    Using Specie is not nearly has hard as being responsible and standing up for what is right.

  • MarkC.T. June 1, 2011, 9:56 pm

    The government is wholly at fault for the coming collapse of US. It was the government that refused to do what they were created to do (protect us from one another).

    It was the government that decided to do everything they weren’t supposed to do, such as regulation, creation of monopolies, establishment of dishonest money, oppressing wars for no justice but for Monsanto Corporation, Saudi Princes, supporting other oppressive warring regimes such as Israel, posing first as “League of Nations” and then as “United Nations”, etc.

    I think this health legislation will not create anything good, but will much further divide the people. If you think about it, then you will conclude that you are a slave, since there is no opt-out option out of the Obamacare. Whether you want to use public health-care or not, you will be forced to pay for it.

    But many will not have enough IQ to see this slavery through. They will multiply their effort to wind up the enslavement even tighter, always proclaiming that someone else has to work for their right to things, and they will be the first to start executing neighbors on the orders of komissars.

    Once you realize that you have been handled like a slave, you will understand that you have to fight the only way a slave can fight, the same way the russians fought against their enslavement by kommisars, – do not produce, be inefficient, wasteful, do everything wrong when no one is looking, and abuse the system as much as you can. Only this treatment can and will bring the tyranny to it’s knees. Starvation is the only weapon against an unholly giant. Active dissent will fix nothing, but it will get you punished or killed, – and this is probably why the presided secured his “right” to execute any US citizen without any court or trial, as he expects a lot of dissent.

    I think a lot of people in US, will soon realize this. I think they will abuse this Obamacare with all their ingenuity, wherever the opportunity might present itself. If they all start thinking how this system can be taken advantage off, then the monster of Obamacare will soon be destroyed, and in it’s collapse, it will hopefully bury few other mandatory (slavery based) “programmes”.

  • Jacques Redou June 1, 2011, 9:24 pm

    My friend spent over a month in a Thai hospital. He had two or three major surgeries. He told me his bill was less than 25 thousand dollars.

    He said the quality of care was equal to or better than
    any he had seen in America. (He is an American Dentist)

    After hearing similar reports from others, it seems to
    me that Insurance and Government have raised the
    costs of health care to absurd levels in the US.

    In countries where the hospitals can charge no more
    than the average person can pay, the costs seem much more reasonable.

    For an American to go to the hospital:
    -the corporation that owns the hospital (politically connected) must get overpaid.
    -the drug companies (politically connected) must get
    -the Ambulance Chasing Attorneys (politically connected) must get overpaid
    -all the people who go to the hospital for free (politically connected – free treatment in return for their votes) must be paid for
    -The Insurance Companies (politically connected) must be overpaid
    -The companies who supply hospital equipment and
    supplies (politically connected) must be overpaid

    All these people are BETWEEN the patient and his

    Look at who wrote most of Obama’s Healthcare Bill
    – these same people and their lobbyists.

    • mario cavolo June 2, 2011, 4:22 am

      Hello Jacques, right on the mark, as is the case wellknown in Thailand, also here in China, where for example, a standard surgery, such as a hernia operation or a childbirth will set you back USD, $2000 tops….medical tourism industry to Asia which started mostly with Thailand is booming more than ever….

  • Rich June 1, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Back to the market:
    Partial Solar Eclipse at 5:03 PM NYC today may have triggered some anticipatory selling.

    Stopped out of XOM etc.

    We have a total lunar eclipse on 15 June.

    Neither of their shadow paths cross USA except Alaska:

  • gary leibowitz June 1, 2011, 3:11 pm

    If all here expect an economic meltdown and very high unemployment what do you propose we do about it?

    Allow the private sector to take care of the indigent? Treat the problem in a clinical business fashion where the strongest individual will survive?

    Socialism is not a commie propaganda forced on the masses. It is always as a result of huge imbalance resulting in a mass uprising to curb such abusive power shifts. Using any study available the results are all the same; the largest disparity between rich and poor ever recorded along with the smalllest population owning 95 percent of the wealth.

    If we fall into a 1930’s style quagmire will the country dig itself out with compassion, or will we fall into a police state and discard the unproductive citizens.

    I can’t get over the complaints over socialist programs and any semblance of government restrictions we have today. Will this meaness carry over during the next depression?

    • Robert June 1, 2011, 8:09 pm

      “Will this meaness carry over during the next depression?”

      Yes it will- because when people feel backed into a corner, and they feel like their words are falling on deaf ears, their mindset and focus shifts to personal defense.

      And, when you feel backed into a corner and your mindset shifts to defense, you instinctively realize that the corner has you at a tactical disadvantage- therefore you realize that the only way you will get out of the corner and level the field of battle is to strike first; and once the mind is made up to strike, the objective is not to do so with civility and couth.

      The corner is getting tighter, and more and more people are being backed into it, and it seems most of them are 20 and early 30 somethings who were raised on white bread and gory video games, and are fervent fanatics of MMA and the UFC…

      When this rubber band snaps, the suits and ties are not gonna know what hit them.

  • mario cavolo June 1, 2011, 11:40 am

    My wife is five months pregnant. We are under the care of the First Maternity Hospital in Pudong and the whole birth program will cost us around USD $2000, including C-section if needed, that’s without insurance. A relatively lower quality local hospital would cost around USD $1000, which is what most Chinese lower/middle class families use.

    By contrast, SinoHealth, United Family and other “international” healthcare brands would charge USD $10,000, set up for the use of executive expats on fat cat expat salary and benefit packages with insurance and paid by their medical insurance coverage. Its like a separate ponzi scheme system!…it has nothing to do with the reality of needing and paying for healthcare at reasonable prices.

  • Chris T. June 1, 2011, 8:38 am

    Oh, so much stuff.

    First Martin Snell:
    I can only second the first reply: BS!
    First of all, no matter how you slice it, you can not expect, will not get, and it won’t work to have physicians work for free by force. Some form of force-limited remuneration is implicit.
    The consequences are those always and everywhere seen with price controls.

    As Robert points out the weird dichotomy in health/healthcare/knowledge and Moore’s law:
    the economic problem is one of a totally skewed market, The profession is one big monopolistic barrier to entry (AMA and their accreditation scam).
    The symptomology you mention is perhaps the to be expected outcome of the prevailing, enforced allopathic model, that fights any and all competition.
    Just take the cancer industry, and the “war” it has been waging even less successfully than Afghanistan.
    The treatments don’t work, and the state of the art is no better than 30 years ago. The chemo agents are just derivatives of what was available then, but the MONEY is another thing.
    Big Pharma, now there IS a culprit, right out of the fashist business model.

    Enough of that.

    I know you don’t like when I comment on the M.E. geopolitics, but seriously, who there can even hope to wage, let alone wage a war against Israel? katyusha low tech, yes, suicide bombers, yes, but a war? A la Yom Kippur?
    Not possible on a military level from any country in the region, very few even have the political will.
    Iran? With what? No Air Force, no really effecitve missiles, and worst case scenario, the US would stomp big time.

    “peg rates to individual risk. No longer, though. One-size-fits-all policies will effectively require healthy policyholders subsidize the sick, women to subsidize men,…”
    Why would women subsidize men?
    Just recently, teh EU Supreme Court, in the interest of the typical PC “non-discrimination, equality” attitude, ruled that sex can NEVER be used as a distinguishing factor in insurance pricing, whether health, or life, or car, etc.

    Many commentators on that rightfully pointed out, that due to the by far shorte life-expectancy of men, and the exponential cost of treating older patients (meaning there are costs in female healthcare that males never produce because they’re dead by then), it is men who are subsidizing women over a lifespan of healthcare, when premiums are identical.
    I find it hard to believe that the situation woudl be completely reverserd for the US as compared to Europe…

    On principle, having the risk-based premium model eviscerated either by Obamacare or the EU court is just stupid, but if insurers were left to their own devices, they would make the risk groups so small, as to tangentially approach groups of one. That is not the idea of risk-pooling-to-lower overall risk either.

    As to Palin and Obama:
    One really needs to tune out the polls.
    Supposedly, just recently Rudy did best for the Reps.
    This Obamahater would vote Obama if that [email protected]#! got the elephant-nomination (same for Neuter G. and Greasomney).

    Is Ron Paul electable? Of course he is, but the media would never let him, neither would the Republicans. He is too dangerous.
    But electable?
    Is a lying, whoring, corrupt poh-dunk governor electable? No, but Clinton was.
    Is a brain-dead, ignorant, dumb-ass m.f. (that last’s a Carlin quote) momma’s boy electable? No, but W. was.
    Is a stick-your-finger in the wind, never had a day of productive employment (guess thats #3 in a row now at least), “community organizer” electable, no but Obama was.

    Each of the above was so lacking in substance (yes the Dem two at least have some brains, but), so corrupt, yet the media made them pres.
    But a man such as Ron Paul, who has substance, knows whereof he speaks, and is honest to boot, couldn’t be “manufactured” to overcome perhaps a lack of the best rhetorical skill? Of course they could, but its men of substance who are fought all the way, only puppets get promoted.
    Bottom line here, and lets go back to Carlin:
    “The American people are a lot smarter than we give them credit for… No, the American people are a lot dumber than we give them credit for”.
    And that’s why Paul can’t get elected: The message takes more than a 10s attention span at 85IQ can process, and the media does not play 1st grade teacher to his message.

  • Carl June 1, 2011, 8:23 am

    to “L. Kyda”
    “our alleged “unalienable human rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”” are still with us even when you have to shoot yourself due to lack of health care.

    These rights mean you should be free to take care of yourself and whoever else you desire to take care of. These freedoms DO NOT give you any rights to reach into my pocket.
    Your problems are yours only. You are free to organize with others and have group rates if you so desire. But you do not have the right to say that I MUST participate in your solution to YOUR problem.

    You are omitting some important mistakes on your part, which then allows you to pose as if you “did everything right”. Why are you having a child before you can pay for possible medical expenses? I don’t want to go on with this, as this is convicting.

    My main point remains that NO ONE has an obligation to be helping you. Not even basic emergency care.

    I have no problem with anyone grouping with anyone else to solve their perceived problems by putting them on the shoulders of others, as long as others do not mind. I just want my freedom to not to participate in anything common.

    • L. Kyda June 1, 2011, 10:36 am

      If you have to shoot yourself due to lack of medical treatment, that would presumably deprive you of life. How do you reconcile that with your supposed right to life? Nonetheless, I have to agree with you that in this world, everyone is basically on his own and cannot expect help from others, except inasmuch it’s in their best interest. For me, that’s no reason to rejoice.

    • Robert June 1, 2011, 7:55 pm

      “If you have to shoot yourself due to lack of medical treatment, that would presumably deprive you of life. How do you reconcile that with your supposed right to life?”

      tsk tsk tsk…

      An individual’s right to end their own life does not “deprive” them. Only having their life taken from them by the actions of another deprives them.

      Taking your own life is fully an expression of an individual’s right to life- and it is simultaneously an expression of their dereliction or personal abandonment of that right.

      Because someone does not CHOOSE to exercise a right does not mean that they are no longer ENTITLED to that right…

      get it?

    • L. Kyda June 1, 2011, 11:45 pm

      There’s a difference between choosing to do something and being forced to do it by circumstances, not necessarily actions of another. Of course, if you’re from the Ayn Rand school of thought, everyone’s a superman and can never be compelled that way. Just remember that no matter how you shrug, the world won’t bend to your will.

    • Robert June 2, 2011, 6:14 pm

      “Just remember that no matter how you shrug, the world won’t bend to your will.”

      That’s because the world is not SUPPOSED to bend to your will…

      This is the untenable fact that I wish the world would hurry up and demonstrate to the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Morgans; and all the Obamas and Clintons of the world who have their noses pressed firmly up their righteous asses…

      When the system is corrupt, the only two choices the individual faces are:

      1) Corrupt yourself
      2) Extricate yourself

      “Changing” the system is NOT an option, because two people can rarely agree on where to dine on any given night on the town; so, pray-tell, how will Billions of people come to agreement on the best way to centrally plan their combined existence?

      Planning in a community sense is a fool’s errand, and is the essence of corruption, because the planners always grant themselves the finest favored status (aka grift)

      Why do I feel like I am presenting arguments that are so fundamentally basic that they should not have to even be raised?

      I’m ok, you’re ok… everybody else is completely insane.

  • Rich June 1, 2011, 6:48 am

    As Ayn Rand wrote in the Objectivist after fleeing the Soviet Command Economy, healthcare went wrong when Big Corporations got FDR & Co to make taxpayers subsidize their employee healthcare and the tax free Rockefeller Institute made allopathic medicine the monopoly medical model.
    Just ask a Chiropractor, Homeopathic, Naturopathic or Osteopathic Doctor who does not get reimbursed for many years of training in their specialty and gets shut out of the medical system by AMA driven laws and legal lottery lawsuits driving the CYA blizzard of defensive tests.
    With defacto socialized medicine, pharmco vacations and the lowest health statistics of the industrialized world, up to half of all doctors with crushing Errors and Omissions insurance and Insurance Companies dictating procedures, left private practice to stop pushing pills, retire or work for a hospital like House.
    Since Congress, DC and Wall Street ignored 100 to 1 calls against 0 Care, US Medicine may inevitably collapse and it will be every heart for its own health.
    So many illnesses are lifestyle driven anyway.

    Meanwhile, Mr SPX still targeting 1520:

    • Rich June 1, 2011, 6:52 am
    • Chris T. June 1, 2011, 8:52 am

      RIch, see my post below. We seem to agree on the state of the treatment industry!

      One good thing about unaffordabitliy for ex. with over-the-counters:
      if the price keeps more people from taking all that worthless, non-curative dreck, all the better.

      But the world is sliding back: Holland just killed the coffee-shop, hard to believe from the wacky Dutchmen, who would’ve thought? (never mind about killing a Billions of dollars industry)

  • Doc June 1, 2011, 3:12 am

    Seems like no one can resist a dig at Palin. You may think she’s unelectable, but that’s been said of many past presidents. Toughness is what it takes, and she’s already proven she has that.

    • Rick Ackerman June 1, 2011, 3:22 am

      I LIKE Palin but wouldn’t vote for her, Doc — and that’s why I think she is unelectable.

    • cosmo June 1, 2011, 7:38 am

      It seems with a chorus such as this one that Ron Paul would have at least a showing. Does anyone here think he is electable? And why not?

      IMO, he’s the only one in DC with any integrity. Is he unelectable because no one will stand on principle? Stop the wars, End the Fed, get govt back down to size. What else do you want?

  • L. Kyda June 1, 2011, 1:01 am

    I lived in a communist country before the Wall came down. Yes, our healthcare was considered inferior to what’s available in the West (but mainly for lack of physical resources, not devoted and qualified doctors). Yes, your best bet for getting cured of cancer was to have a rich uncle in the USA. Yes, we had to wait in pain for hours in crowded hospitals before receiving even basic necessary treatment. But you know what? I’d still prefer this over pre-Obama healthcare. Not that I particularly like Obamacare, but I’m sure most here have heard the horror stories suffered by people who were doing everything right. You pay your blood money on time for years, then your child gets cancer, your wife is badly hurt in a car wreck, and you get laid off. What does your insurance company do? It cuts off your coverage, because — lo and behold — you just hit your lifetime limit (and besides, those exact illnesses and injuries weren’t actually supposed to be covered in the first place). Then you go and kill yourself. Incidentally, this is a true story, and one of many. The system is set up to kick you in the head when you’re already on ground bleeding in agony.

    In the midst of all this, where are our alleged “unalienable human rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” I suppose these apply only to those who can pay for them. Life is difficult if you can’t afford treatment for a deadly disease; liberty is limited if you’re crippled by medical bills and untreated conditions; and I don’t see how one can be particularly happy with a healthcare Sword of Damocles hanging over him.

  • Benjamin May 31, 2011, 10:53 pm

    The healthcare law(s) are god-awful, but still the reasons of how costs became so high to begin with remains largely unexposed. To illustrate why things got out of hand, I have a story about an unnamed Someone that I know…

    Someone was involved in a automobile collision (which, for the record, was not their fault). Aside from the ER, they also had to be transfered, by helicopter, to a big name hospital, for a special type of scan on their brain (slice imaging, iirc, which wasn’t handled by the original hospital they were taken to). Once it was established that the bleeding in their brain wasn’t serious, it was on to total hip replacement surgery, followed up by a nice two week stay at the Big Name Hospital. They were then transfered back to the No Name Hospital (ambulance rides are damned expensive as well), and had another two week stay. Then, after release, for another two weeks they had a visting nurse and physical therapist, followed up by another two months of therapy at the hospital. Grand total: about $200,000. Insurance paid for most of it, something like 85% to 90% of it.

    Now, supposing someone didn’t have insurance? Well, that’s simple. They either pay it all themselves or they pay what they can until the inevitable default is absorbed by someone else. Heck, even with insurance that is what happens! Let me repeat that…

    That $200k? That represents 55.5 years of consistent monthly payments, at $300/mo. But Someone was 56 when they were hit with their surprise. Furthermore, those 55.5 years is assuming no use of the policy whatsoever during that time. So even the insured aren’t really paying for it all, even with so-called “high” premiums and deductibles. It’s all passing things on to another time and person, for a relatively small fee.

    This is not a defense for the healthcare laws, nor a rallying cry for socialized medicine. What I’m saying is that this issue and debate are _ridiculous_ because even the insured do not really cover their costs so well as people (the insured especially) believe they do. So we were going to have this problem some day, no matter what. The new laws will only make it more pronounced, will accelerate the inevitable collapse.

    Still, what, exactly, is the cause of the outrageous costs, that would make even a one or two night stay at a hospital cost an arm and a leg?

    Abuse. Abuse by patients, abuse by doctors, abuse by lawyers, and, most of all, abuse by govenrments in funding something that truly is not a concern of the public health. Let’s sort this out, starting with yet another story…

    I had a grandmother who spent her 60th year almost entirely confined to a hospital room, with periodic breaks for surgery to treat one bad ticker. I used to feel really bad what I thought this on the night she died, but really it would’ve been better if she never had checked in for that final, hellish year of her life. Because even if there was anything that could’ve been done for her, it wouldn’t have lasted a decade, and it would’ve been a very imperfect decade at that. And for all that, debt was created which, to this day, has yet to be paid; even the outrageous costs of today have not erased that past.

    Still, something had to be done, right? Oh, Of course. Doctors are god, even if only because patients, lawyers, and politicians hear them say that. Most doctors will never say such a thing, though, and indeed they didn’t at the get-go. But death is an emotional event, so while such things do not need to be said, they are often easily enough assumed. But so is money a matter that often arouses the emotions. Maybe even more so than death! Take heart disease, for example…

    Government has funded the hell out of it, and for all that, nothing can really be done for it. But since government went ahead and did all that funding, people came to figure that something ought to be shown for those untold billions. And so it goes for all of the ugly killers that are eventually going to nab each and every one of us at some point within is a maximum span of 120 years. In turn, people became conditioned to the idea that doctors are always supposed to do something for you, so long as you pay your Indulgence (premiums and deductibles) that, for some reason, act as a get-out-of-jail-free card that exonerates the “paying” and damns the non-paying… when in fact very few medical bills are ever paid in full.

    My god, are we spoiled. We demand and expect action for every potential, modern-day cause of death, when people used to die from truly unjust and quite ugly things like typhoid fever and smallpox. Entirely families could be wiped out in an outbreak of either, and often well before their natural lifespans were due to expire. We should all consider ourselves LUCKY that we don’t have that stuff to contend with anymore. We should consider ourselves lucky that some cancer, heart attacks, dementia, etc… all which, for most, only occurs decades from the time we’re born… is the extent of what we have to worry about.

    So I’m going to say something so diabolically evil that they’ll have to dig Hell deeper to accomodate me. Those death panels that people were mentioning before O-care was passed? I don’t agree with the idea of beaurocrats deciding such things, but only because once upon a time, doctors allowed patients to die on the authority of no one but doctor, patient, and nature. They would choose it when their patients chose it, whatever the patient decided, which was quietly letting them suffer without the benefits of “noble must do’s” like we have today, until they either croaked or decided on euthanasia.

    Barbaric? No. Death by smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, measels… those are barbaric. High childhood mortality rates that saw people having so many kids, on the hopes that they will live on to pass on the family name and genes, to all but assure that both parents will die much sooner is, to quote William, 19th century on back. So, bottom line…

    High costs were going to happen anyway, since so many non-payers (even the insured, I remind!) want something done for things which nothing can yet be done and paid for, and perhaps might always be around to kill us all at some point. Maybe in the future better, more effective, and cheaper things will be doable, but one has to admit that even treating only the “limited payers” has proven so totally inefficient that it has spilled over into the costs of once doable care for everyone (the poor especially). It was inevitable that, due to that silliness, that the “barbaric hoards” would wind up at the gates, and then crash those gates to make the impossibly expensive even more so. I’m sorry that we’re all mortal, but…

    Surrendur or be mercilessly slaughtered. Throw in the towel, already. No more of this every would-be King Arthur having their turn at the stone. No more delusions over who “pays” vs who doesn’t. No one does. No one is It. But so long as we must assume there are such things, things that truly matter to all of us will go away for the want of a means to provide them. Regardless how it is acheived, broke is broke is broke is the contagious good ol’ days returned.

  • cosmo May 31, 2011, 9:51 pm

    Its not a “Health Care” industry. It is an “Illness” industry. It is set up to make money from being sick. If you get well their cash flow stops, so you stay sick and on their meds. And they laugh all the way to the bank.

    How about a Chinese model. You pay the doctor when you are well. If you get sick, doc is not doing his job and he treats you until you are well. But, most Americans will balk at the ancient methods of wellness the Chinese use. “Tai Chi? You must be joking. Medicinal herbs? Sounds like voodoo.?” Ok, live in disease, stay on your meds and do as your told. Sucker…

    Insurance is a bet against yourself. I prefer my odds…

    • VegasBob May 31, 2011, 10:08 pm

      Insurance is a bet against yourself…

      Ding ding ding ding ding!!!!!

  • Lj May 31, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Rick… you believe that the NY Times are “hard left”?
    what, are you DELUSIONAL? Both the Sulzberger NY Slimes, & the Meyer/Graham Washington Post, are RADICAL RIGHT-WING Neo-Con (warmongering, treasury looting, “bailouts” taxpayer extorting, Fed money printing whitewashing) propaganda organizations. The NYT’s breathless Judith Miller “iraq has WMD’s!” was THE propaganda cover cheney needed to start the Iraq invasion. Neither the Post nor Times can send a cub reporter (much less a WEEK LONG FRONT PAGE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT team)
    to INVESTIGATE what the hell MARY SCHAPIRO is (NOT!) doing over at the SEC… or whether obama’s cftc CHAIRMAN gary gensler JUST MIGHT HAVE a CONFLICT OF INTEREST overseeing GOLDDAMN-SACHS, JPM, the Fed, or any of the other High Frequency trading/printing bucket shops.
    get a clue.

  • dave b May 31, 2011, 7:55 pm

    Rick, please post on zerohedge. A great piece, gets right to the heart of tbhe matter. Kudos… and thanks.

  • Dave May 31, 2011, 7:52 pm

    I make more money with Medicare than day trading. Where else can I get $1200 in diabetes supplies for $60?

    • mario cavolo June 1, 2011, 11:29 am

      THAT”S the point Dave! Who said those supplies are actually WORTH $1200 in the first place? They’re not!!! They’re worth about $100!!

      Here in China, I buy a typical one week course of Cipro or Zithromax for $5!! An MRI for $200. An x-ray for $20!! I had a perfect porcelain veneer put on my tooth by a nice competent dentist for $100!

      The items, the services are not worth the price tag that is put on them….its like Dutch tulips and all kinds of other bubbles like sky high priced real estate.

      But there is a huge difference….health care is NOT an investment vehicle, it is a human NEED! Yet it’s value, its cost of entry, is being treated like an asset class, like oil or gold…its outrageous, it just makes rich doctors and insurance companies richer. Am I wrong?

  • William May 31, 2011, 7:48 pm

    Your statement is quite insulting and rude so this will be the last I’ll say on this topic. I am not lost, uneducated, or stupid. I hold a degree in biochemistry but left that field and am now an airline pilot (just got tired of the laboratory work). I have studied to a great degree what medicine can do. I will not go through the list of diseases man has fought and won (I’d be wasting my breath), but without a doubt we have a much better quality of life now when compared to, oh lets say 1800… which is probably a time you would probably like to go back to (maybe even further back to the time of magic and potions) and you could expect to live on average to about 40 years of age, give or take 10 years. Best of luck.

    • Cam Fitzgerald June 1, 2011, 4:09 am

      Good points William. In fact we do not even need to go back to the 1800’s to see how life expectancy is in the absence of modern treatments. All we have to do is take a trip to Africa on the Wikipedia highway and we can see that Zimbabwe has an astonishingly low rate of life expectancy. A mere 43 years. Here are all the country comparisons.

    • Carol June 1, 2011, 5:55 pm

      Cam might I suggest that life expectancy MAY have more to do with general hygiene and access to nutrition than it has anything to do with access to toxic poison. Chemo chemicals are labeled and treated as toxic since they are toxic until they are injected into the “target” at which time they become “beneficial”. Life expectancy AFTER a diagnosis of cancer in this country is abysmal. We have been fighting a “war on cancer” for 40 years and where is the cure? None have been “found”. Well there are many cures for cancer and many are practiced in the open in many countries just not this one because big pharma doesn’t like competition.

      Quite with your sarcastic statements about the 1800s etc there are too many differences between then and now to make a valid comparison.

  • VegasBob May 31, 2011, 7:07 pm

    Fear not, folks. In 2008 I voted for Obama enthusiastically. Those of us sympathetic to the Progressive view got Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, trillion$ in bankster bailouts and immunity from prosecution, more wars, 4 more years of Ben ‘Bernokio’ Bernanke and trillion$ in subsidies to big insurance companies and Big Pharma disguised as health care ‘reform.’

    Bernokio is desperate to get the economy going. He needs Obama’s re-election to ensure that the statute of limitations runs out on the crimes he and his bankster cronies have perpetrated against the US economy. But all of his money printing will not work.

    So Rick is absolutely correct. Unless the Republicans are stupid enough to nominate an idiot of Sarah Palin’s ilk, we Progressives will not vote to re-elect Mr. Obama.

    Despite the media propaganda that Obama is a sure bet to win in 2012, what is interesting is that Mr. Obama may be able to eke out a popular vote victory in 2012, just as Al Gore did in 2000, but the Republicans are likely to win the Electoral College vote by 295-243. And, the Electoral College tally is the only vote that really counts.

  • William May 31, 2011, 6:33 pm

    I respect your views on treatment (and I guess if I was handed a death sentence in which the outcome would be a slower death but a financial burden for my family, I would choose not to be treated and enjoy the time I had left). The issue with my brother-in-law was that he knew that somehow, someway he would be treated if he were to be diagnosed with a disease, a broken leg, or any other major medical issue. He most liklely received well over $100,000 in medical care but paid nothing, and the hospital didn’t go after his assets (then or now). He would simply declare bankruptcy. He hasn’t paid for medical insurance since the 1980’s. Think of the thousands he’s saved. He has original artwork by Dali, sculptures and other paintings in his home. Travels to tropical destinations during the winter to get out of the cold. For common colds and flu’s he shows up at free clinics for the truely needy/sick child programs. He deals from the bottom of the deck. And he’s not alone.

    • Carol May 31, 2011, 7:21 pm

      William “Carol,
      I respect your views on treatment (and I guess if I was handed a death sentence in which the outcome would be a slower death but a financial burden for my family, I would choose not to be treated and enjoy the time I had left). ”

      William that statement just proves how totally uneducated and lost you are about the real truth about health and healing and staying well. I am NOT saying I would accept a death sentence and do nothing I would (if I was unlucky enough to get cancer) get CURED not get “remission” which is the only thing one could ever hope for with “main stream “medicines'” slash and burn methods of cancer “treatment”. Unless and until you get some real education about health and healing than I would agree with you that you should continue paying for your death insurance and continue ingesting your toxic poisons and continue being ill.

    • mario cavolo June 1, 2011, 11:23 am

      Then the health system leaves only two choices, don’t pay or pay an outrageous amount. You’re suggesting I SHOULD pay an outrageous amount? You’re suggesting I should have paid out the $75K in premiums and deductibles I have saved, just IN CASE I would have gotten sick? Sorry, can’t possibly agree with that. Either the system takes advantage of me or I take advantage of the system, given that choice, would you let the system take advantage of you? If yes, I think you’re gravely mistaken to allow yourself to be robbed by a system that steals from your pocket to make some huge insurance company and hospital property very rich. The ‘system” as you put it exists with plenty of rules that enable a person to survive rather than be forced into being financially impoverished. If that’s the case, I know my choice with a clear conscience and it has nothing to do with politics, socialism, etc. Its just life choices as we face the rules which are laid out in front of us. Everyone works the system in some way and should. In a dog eat dog world, its your job to be smarter than the other guy and know what choices to make. Give me a reasonable option, I’ll take it. Give me an unreasonable option only, I’ll tell you to stuff it and take care of and protect and consider the needs of me and mine first. That then is your fault for not giving me a reasonable option in the first place.

  • GlennH May 31, 2011, 6:01 pm

    Health care is a business, the closer big business is to government the more big health controls the elected and the easier the profits. It has nothing to do with social this or commie that. If Saskatchewan or Manitoba had 15 million rich people there would be private health care, period. But they have 1 million farmers and civil servants so it is not worth it on the bottom line to do something about it. It can’t move the needle. Go to Montreal with 3 million people, you can’t walk a block without seeing a high end private clinic in socialist Canada. Do any of you people ever leave your home?

    All for profit entities like health-co desire to make excessive profit, which is much more likely in the system similar to the current one in the USA, therefore….expect more of the same.

  • T'inker May 31, 2011, 5:51 pm

    So, red-blooded Americans should be able to live off the sweat and blood of the rest of the world because they (the smart Americans) did all the hard work of supporting a regime (The US of A) that in turn does all the hard work of actually invading other countries and plundering their resources. The rest of the bum-nations (and their supporter citizens) cannot be expected to profit for they have been idle as good empire-builders, lazy commie bastards that they are.
    Love that red-blooded testosterone, makes my logic so full of truthiness.

  • Carol May 31, 2011, 5:51 pm

    William “My brother-in-law has the same line of thought and hasn’t had health insurance for years because he’s in “great helath”. Yet two years ago he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Just showed up to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Hospital, asked to be admitted and was. … Got free cancer treatments, hospital stays, follow-ups, etc. ”

    William, I am sorry about your brother-in-law and I agree there will always be people who want to suck off of others. However, if I was to get cancer I can assure you I would NEVER want any of there TOXIC radiation or chemo products put into my body nor would I want any surgury. So while I agree with your stance that there will always be leaches in society, there will also always be people like me who don’t buy into the toxic big pharma whore “treatments” either and we as a society have no right to force those who don’t want to BUY something into HAVING to buy toxic waste.

  • William May 31, 2011, 5:29 pm

    “Well that may be what you do, but I sir do the opposite. I have not had “death insurance” (aka health insurance) for over 17 years. I have not been to a doctor or been sick in 15 years. Health can only be obtained by taking care of YOURSELF. No doctor or hospital can drug you into health. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is going to be the perfect “health care” consumer (opps that would be 95.00% of the sheeple). ”

    My brother-in-law has the same line of thought and hasn’t had health insurance for years because he’s in “great helath”. Yet two years ago he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Just showed up to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Hospital, asked to be admitted and was. At the time he was a mortgage broker so had very little income due to the real estate crash (although he took a vacation trip to Spain and Africa that same year before going to get help). Got free cancer treatments, hospital stays, follow-ups, etc.

    After a year the cancer went into remission. He and his wife took a trip to Thailand, then Mexico, then South America. His business in picking up (he’s setting up medical marijuana shop leases in Colorado). Has land in New Mexico, almost no mortgage on their house, and can afford “lavish” trips. I think the most they had to pay was $125 to remove a feeding tube.

    Well who pays for this? I do. My wife does. With our new born daughter we would be insane not to have insurance. Why is it people like my brother-in-law who can afford at least catastrophic health insurance but choose not to? Because he knows how to work the system. And people like my brother-in-law and like Carol who are “healthy” until sick and want treatment; you are the cause why my health premiums go up every year.

    A good friend of ours is a emergency room doctor. You’d be surprised how many people show up (especially young teenage mothers of mexican descent- not trying to discriminate but call it as it is) without health insurance yet still find the funds for tattoos, cell phones, and pimped out cars. Maybe it’s time to show these people the exit door and let the local witch doctor help them instead of gouging and taking advantage of those who try to do the right thing and take a responsible path.

    • Carol May 31, 2011, 5:59 pm

      William “And people like my brother-in-law and like Carol who are “healthy” until sick and want treatment; you are the cause why my health premiums go up every year.”

      Not me brother not me – maybe your socialist brother in law but not me. I wouldn’t put big pharma’s toxic soup into my body if you paid me – so no you can’t blame me for your premiums going up.

      William “With our new born daughter we would be insane not to have insurance.”

      No you would be INSANE to HAVE insurance. I had a 3 yr old when I purposely canceled my “health insurance” and I am NOT insane. Anyone who would put mercury into a newborn baby is INSANE (those who vaccinate their children) but don’t put me into that “belief” system.

    • mario cavolo June 1, 2011, 11:12 am

      throwing in my two cents worth…. I havent had health insurance for 18 years; but that was a risk I took. Adding up how much I;ve saved in premiums and deductibles is over USD $75K. The past ten years I live in China (and most of Asia) where good healthcare on moderate health problems is dirt cheap. If I had been back in America to get some of the services I needed, I would not have been able to afford them. An MRI in the U.S. is $2000. Why? In China its $200!! A recent 15 minute doctor visit on Sunday to the hospital in the U.S. without any tests or treaments was billed to me at $1000. Why? That’s absurd beyond absurd. $1000 to TALK with a human being about a pain in your body? That’s completely NUTS. In China, its $5 to register at a hospital and talk to a doctor. Again, true for many other parts of the world too. In the U.S., its all part of the greedy ponzi scheme they have created and any of us has the right to say they won’t be part of it and pay these outrageous rates, however that is putting some risk on yourself in doing so. In life, we make choices and live with both sides of the consequences.

  • PhotoRadarScam May 31, 2011, 5:27 pm

    I do not know why we seem to think that everyone is entitled to $1M+ organ transplants and other high cost procedures just for being a citizen of the US. While *basic* healthcare should be provided for all (and it is/was already via the ER), why shouldn’t premium health care procedures and drugs be left to those who can afford the insurance for it? Like anything else, if I want to have a better life I need to work for it, but evidently this doesn’t apply with healthcare. We can’t pay someone’s $100k mortgage off, but we can spend millions to transplant all of their organs and give them $50k/month drugs until they die. Furthermore, we seem to spend millions to extend the life of someone by weeks or months, a life that is often spent lying in bed or suffering to a degree… and we don’t even have a policy to let that person “opt out” once they get to that state even if they want to.

    I’m not sure Obama is ‘done for.’ The problem is that we’ll most likely end up with the same choice on the ballot box: Turd Sandwich or Giant Douche.

  • Jacques Redou May 31, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Of course Mr. Ackerman’s healthcare bill is going up.
    He has the unfortunate habit of working and earning.

    This trait makes him responsible for those who do not
    work, earn, save or pay.

    Work according to your ability. Receive according to
    your need.

    He should study Marx and quit complaining.

    Comrade – do your duty.

    • Rick Ackerman June 1, 2011, 3:18 am

      If that’s your case for Marx, then I rest mine.

  • Max May 31, 2011, 5:02 pm

    @Martin Snell:

    Excuse me, but I have a set of a pretty good genes and I do not want to share my costs with you or anyone else, you commie. I do not care what would be the best way for you to obtain healthcare, cause this ain’t my business, but please, try to stay out of mine and keep your health problems to yourself only.


    I agree. I am completely disappointed in Americans. Only a brain dead idiot could vote for Obama, not a red-blooded American, no way. Only a brain dead idiot complete commie fascist could desire to forcefully enslave everyone into this healthcare quagmire, whether they wanted to participate or not. And again, only a brain dead can be thinking that doing so is going to cause any good to the country.

    So, after we have see our own beloved America electing our own American Hitler, what good can we possibly expect to happen?

    I will not be surprised to see these zombies voting for Obama again.

    • Martin Snell May 31, 2011, 8:26 pm

      Commie? Really?

      Guess what I likely pay less for my share of everyone’s health care where I live (and I have great genes – all grandparents lived to over 80 and 2 to over 90) than you pay for your own.

      The basic truth is the the US spends more per capita on health care than any other country on the planet and gets worse results than the vast majority of developed nations.

      My approach is not communist or idealistic. It is realistic, based on data!!!! Obviously you are far too blinded by ideology to see the truth.


      More per capita, worst results? That myth has been demolished by National Review, among others. The fallacy is akin to comparing apples to lug nuts. RA

    • Steve May 31, 2011, 9:18 pm

      Martin, saw my B.C. family just two weeks ago. Irene looked like death warmed over on a walker. She has been waiting for months for hip surgery, and still needs to wait months more. The pain was destroying the rest of her health. The Canadian system isn’t sure what else is wrong – just wait, wait, wait, wait. Marxism is as marxism does.

    • Steve May 31, 2011, 9:25 pm

      Oh, Martin; Forgot to tell you about my friend who wore the Red Coat and kept ya all safe who I also saw at the art show in Ellensburg Washington. He said, that if you loose your job and the cost of heathcare is not forcibly taken out of your check, then the individual must pay, pay, pay, pay, and wait, wait, wait, wait. The Mountie either lied, or told the truth – you decide. But, George’s truth is that the cost is more in Canada for an inferior product. It is just that the cost of healthcare is taken out as one of the costs of labor/jobs (like our federal and state taxes making TAKE HOME pay the only consideration). He had to have knee surgery, had a heart attack, and lost his job with the Mounties or so George says.

    • Martin Snell June 1, 2011, 3:10 am

      Steve, I think you are making stuff up … or being lied to.

      1. If you have no job you are covered. Period. You are covered just like a working person. The only thing you won’t have is supplemental coverage that some companies provide (dental, physio, private room etc.)

      2. As far as waits, our family has never had a problem, except for a few waits on emerg. Both my parents have had a number of surgeries with absolutely no issues.

      3. Very few, if any, Canadians would give up their system for the US style system … and guess what, the Canadian system costs a lot less and Canadians have better health outcomes overall. Damn facts, eh!

    • Steve June 1, 2011, 10:54 pm

      You know Martin, its not nice to challenge one’s honesty in public. Beyond that its a civil violation to defame. And, defame you have Martin.

  • HRUSTY May 31, 2011, 4:32 pm

    I agree with DANx on the fluoridated masses. On the other hand the sooner we realize Obamacare is a time bomb in disguised drafted not by good hearted intent but with he sole purpose of blowing up the US economy and tax base past the point of no return. The legislative process is not up to handling the corruption and loose money floating around by foreign interests

  • DanX May 31, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I’m sure the DNC will power up the propaganda machine to full-tilt within the next 19 months so that the vast majority of brain-dead shells of once were the American people will aimlessly meander into their local polling place and pull the lever, once again, for freaking Change We Can Believe In.
    I’ve lost all faith in the American public to even perceive that there IS a problem, no less being able to think outside the box to fix it — like voting for individuals who are not mainstream shills. What a mess!

    • Beemer June 1, 2011, 5:45 am

      Nicely said DanX.
      My only hope is that the inevitable economic and stock market plunge has to happen before Nov ’12 to get Obama ousted. Gotta smack the sheeple REAL hard in the pocketbook to wake them up.

  • roger erickson May 31, 2011, 2:09 pm

    What part of tempo & extremely dynamic public health processes don’t current lawyers/bankers understand? It’s difficult to put this in perspective, but here’s an indirect analogy.

    This is for those who never heard any alternative perspective on the vaunted gold standard. Point is that contexts change, and no method scales endlessly, or fast enough, unchanged.

    “Even though the evidence is all around us that the economic paradigm of the last 30 years, of using rising consumer debt to substitute for rising worker wage levels, is tapped out, those at the top of the economic heap still benefit from reimplementing it even if it isn’t very successful and looks likely to end in tears very soon. As we wrote in ECONNED

    The situation we are in now echoes that of the Great Depression. Although scholars still debate its causes eighty years later, a persuasive view comes from MIT economics professor Peter Temin. Temin, in his Lessons from the Great Depression, first sets forth the prevailing explanations and explains why each falls short. He argues that the culprit was the impact of World War I on the gold standard.

    Recall that starting roughly in the 1870s, major European economies increasingly adopted the gold standard, and a long period of prosperity resulted. The regime was suspended in the UK and the major European powers during the war. Afterward, they moved to restore it, sometimes at considerable cost (England, for instance, suffered a nasty downturn in the early 1920s). But the aftereffects of the war meant the Edwardian period framework was unworkable. The deflationary forces they set in motion could have been countered by countercyclical measures after the Great Crash. But that was impossible with the gold standard. Indeed, as Temin notes, “Holding the industrial economies to the goldstandard last was about the worst thing that could have been done.”

    Now readers may have trouble with that comparison, particularly since the conventional wisdom is that our policy responses have been so much better than those of the early 1930s. But the key point here is that the institutional framework locked the major actors into a particular set of responses. They were not able to see other paths out because they conflicted with an architecture and a set of beliefs that had comported themselves well for a very long time. It’s hard to think outside a system you grew up with. And remember, the gold standard did not break down overnight; the process took more than a decade.”

    The gold std was a failed attempt to guide extremely dynamic national goals on the basis of static valuation concepts. The obvious problem is tempo. Ask the Marine Corps.

  • Cam Fitzgerald May 31, 2011, 8:06 am

    PS: This has nothing to do with my previous post but….it looks to me like the dollar rally is over. Seems you were right after all, Rick. Nuts! Is a sharp decline now in the offing? We will see soon enough.

    • Rick Ackerman May 31, 2011, 8:32 am

      No matter what else happens, dollar bears will face a vicious short-squeeze the week that Spain flames out. And even Greece’s financial demise, which could come any day now, is going to spike an otherwise worthless dollar. The news media will call it a “flight to quality,” making the whole spectacle almost too stupid to watch.

    • Robert May 31, 2011, 7:58 pm


      There is still plenty of fuel out there for more dollar strength vis-a-vis other currencies… but I stress that this dynamic only exists for those whose trading skill aligns with their poker playing ability…

      But I must ask why trading currencies against each other is even a viable trading practice at all?

      Is there a single currency out there not being creating in increasing quantities with wild and reckless abandon?

    • Steve May 31, 2011, 9:12 pm

      Robert @ “Is there a single currency out there. . .”
      Silver Specie Money, still minted, still scorned, still the one money that can be used, and is refused by the masses because it is sooooooooooo Haaarrrrrd – hope you get the whinny its so hard to do directed at the mass’s greed.

      The reality that all do not want to accept is that silver Specie Money is Lawful, legal, and available. But, it would mean no usury, no trading with fiat stores, and no slavery, no voluntary benefits of the fed. When the masses quit voluntary “use” the tax structure will change because congress will need/be required to. When we all grab our boot straps and refuse to make a use of fiat, the fiat trend will end. Now please grab everyone’s bootstraps, and give them a jerk. Everyone is playing in the dirt, eating dirt, selling dirt, trading dirt, and saying they are not dirty. The fiasco stops when the masses refuse to play dirty banking, dirty buying, and dirty excuses in justification of refusal to do what is morally correct.

    • Confused May 31, 2011, 9:29 pm

      Steve “Silver Specie Money, still minted, still scorned, still the one money that can be used,”

      Forgive my ignorance, but wasn’t silver specie money discontinued in 1964? I am not aware of any silver specie money still being minted, could you expound on that thought please?

    • Steve June 1, 2011, 10:51 pm

      Silver Specie is minted under the Act of 1985. To understand that Act one must read the legislative intent to return Payment of Debts to the People. Eagles are also minted.

      A critical issue is who may use specie, as a 14th amendment subject of legislative creation is a slave, and only the holder for the master.

  • Cam Fitzgerald May 31, 2011, 7:56 am

    I can not think of a better reason to take care of your own health now while your are still fit and able than to be witness to the threat of escalating medical costs rising as you grow old.

    Quitting smoking, drinking excessively and taking steps to avoid obesity and all its related complications such as heart disease and diabetes just makes good common sense to me.

    Teeth are important to care for too and maintaining good oral hygiene will help most to avoid costly bills in later life when incomes are lower but medical costs higher.

    This is as much a health issue as it is one of economics and investing for returns. Why do we all fight it and ignore the warnings anyway?

    We work day and night for decent dividends, interest rates and the turn of a penny in forex markets yet spend not a moment thinking of our personal basic health regimes. Like taking time to actually walk the dog and doing a good job of it for our own good health.

    Being billed for the risks and eventualities of poor stewardship of our own health does not seem like an optional proposition. There is no way to avoid insurance premiums but I do have one single, fits-all solution.

    The best revenge is still to live well (and stay healthy doing it).

    • Carol May 31, 2011, 4:33 pm

      Cam We work day and night for decent dividends, interest rates and the turn of a penny in forex markets yet spend not a moment thinking of our personal basic health regimes. Like taking time to actually walk the dog and doing a good job of it for our own good health.”

      Well that may be what you do, but I sir do the opposite. I have not had “death insurance” (aka health insurance) for over 17 years. I have not been to a doctor or been sick in 15 years. Health can only be obtained by taking care of YOURSELF. No doctor or hospital can drug you into health. Anyone who doesn’t realize that is going to be the perfect “health care” consumer (opps that would be 95.00% of the sheeple).

      I do not and will not EVER buy their useless crap. Oh and I think it is hilarious that the need for “reform” was based on the “fact” that so many did not have insurance because they could not afford it so the answer to that is FORCE THEM TO BUY what they can not afford.

      Only in AMERIKA!

  • John Jay May 31, 2011, 4:08 am

    Well Rick, I think you should ring up Ben Bernanke.
    After all he’s in charge of full employment and stable prices. He would probably like to know if there are any rising prices, so he might take appropriate action right away! As for Obama, I don’t think it matters who gets to be POTUS anymore. The Oligarchs are not going to surrender any of their wealth or power, those two things will only increase no matter who wins any elections.
    And I doubt there is a Marius or Sulla in our military to do what must be done to change that situation.
    MS, PHD.
    More of the same, Piled higher and deeper.

    • fallingman June 1, 2011, 12:17 am

      Exactly on target, as always, John Jay.

      And I’ve gotta say, as well as being one of the clearest thinkers and best writers on this site, you’ve got some skills in the healing arts as well. Your comments relieved the nausea caused by the statist / corporatist “solution” offered above.

      If I might add, this debate has nothing to do with “health care.” It has to do with shifting the costs for disease management…and, if you hadn’t noticed, there are a helluva lot of sick people and the population is getting sicker all the time. The really important questions are not even being discussed much less addressed.

      Any “system” that purports to deliver health care without getting at the reasons why there are so many sick people will fail in spectacular fashion within the next 10 years, give or take. And then what? Maybe we can all care for each other’s illnesses full time. That’ll be our new jobs program. Now there’s a brilliant “progressive” approach.

  • Martin Snell May 31, 2011, 3:49 am

    What amazes me is how anyone thinks health care as a profit making business will result in anything but the individual being ripped off. The easiest and fairest and cheapest way is to split the costs equally amongst all. Right away you save a good 20% on administration costs, and you actually have doctors treating patients rather than arguing with insurance companies.

    The need for health care can not be predicted with any degree of certainty by being “healthy”. It is to a good degree the luck of the draw (genes for one). Not to say that lifestyle does not have an impact just that being active and eating right does not guarantee that you don’t end up with a $1 million medical bill.

    Obama is looking more and more like a shoe in for a second term (thanks Paul Ryan) with the GOP self destruct on Medicare. It is hard to see who they can come up with at this stage that is remotely credible…as candidate after candidate drops out of the race. Looks like Romney (the guy who came up with the original Obamacare) is going to have it to lose.

    • Rick Ackerman May 31, 2011, 8:30 am

      Demand for health care has turned out to be infinitely elastic if “someone else” is paying for it.

    • Robert May 31, 2011, 7:45 pm

      “What amazes me is how anyone thinks health care as a profit making business will result in anything but the individual being ripped off. ”


      I’m sure all those Millions of Americans that enjoyed the accessibility of having a local, private practice Doctor in town (who actually made house-calls) were never expecting that their Doctor was, in actuality, an evil profiteer who was out to steal their life’s savings…

      The issue is not profits. The issue is excessive profiteering derived from the non-productive aspects of healthcare management (read: administration and regulation), fostered by the litigation generation’s incessant need to try and level the playing field, rather than letting those who would: excel, and letting those who would: fail.

      in today’s world, demand for healthcare exceeds supply of well trained, personable, qualified providers, so the natural reaction has been to hire more administrators, more clerks, and more lawyers to “oversee” and regulate the profession, while simultaneously ensuring that anyone born with the intellect, drive, and ambition to become a doctor, chooses instead any other career path but that one.

      People need to understand a basic tenent: you have a right to your life, but you do NOT have a right (whether individually or collectively) to compel someone else to care for you, nor do you have a right (whether individually or collectively) to compel someone else to sacrifice their personal productivity in order to finance any portion of what you deem to be in your personal best interest, or the interest of serving the “collective good”

      If we all focused on figuring out what is necessary to take care of ourselves, instead of trying to figure out how to save the world- we would all soon find that the world does not need saving after all…

      Funny how as we as a species learn more about disease prevention, symptomology, and clinical diagnosis, the more expensive health care gets.

      This is completely diametrically opposed to the fundamental economic principle most notably affiliated with Moore’s law- that is: the more we learn, the more effective our processes become, and the more efficiency we gain, and therefore the more inexpensively we can execute said processes.

      Why is healthcare behaving in exactly the opposite fashion?

      Why is your insurance company unwilling to compete with providers across state lines?

    • Martin Snell May 31, 2011, 8:28 pm

      “Demand for health care has turned out to be infinitely elastic if “someone else” is paying for it.”

      Really? Evidence please! Given your logic as I have national health care (no user fees) I should be at the doctor’s office every day! I guarantee you I do not go any more often than I need to – cost of no cost.


      Well, I guess the thrill of going to the doctor has worn off for you, Martin. Anyway, if healthcare consumers have no incentive to hold costs down, costs will continue to rocket higher much as they’ve been doing. RA

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