Posts Tagged Medicare
August 8, 2012
There are more Americans dependent on the federal government than ever before in U.S. history. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Many are enrolled in more than one. That is about a third of the entire population of the country. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare. Today the federal government runs almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years. Yes, we will always need a “safety net” for those that cannot take care of themselves, but it is absolutely ridiculous that the federal government is financially supporting one-third of all Americans. How much farther do things really need to go before we finally admit that we have become a socialist nation? At the rate we are going, it will not be too long before half the nation is on welfare. Unfortunately, we will likely never get to that point because the gigantic debt that we are currently running up will probably destroy our financial system before that ever happens.
It is really hard to believe how rapidly some of these federal welfare programs have grown.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in 2000 to 31.9 million when Barack Obama took office to 46.4 milliontoday.
The federal government spent a staggering 71.8 billion dollars on the food stamp program in 2011.
That sure is a lot of money to spend on food.
And I thought that my grocery bills were high.
Medicaid is also growing like crazy.
The number of Americans on Medicaid grew from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011.
Once upon a time, Medicaid was supposed to help the poorest of the poor get medical care. In fact, back in 1965 only about one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.
But now about one-sixth of the entire country is on Medicaid.
Will we all eventually be on Medicaid?
And we all know that projections like that are usually way too low.
Other federal welfare programs are exploding in size as well.
For example, federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percentbetween 2006 and 2010.
The chart posted below was produced by Senate Budget Committee Republican staff. As you can see, the number of Americans on welfare just continues to grow and grow and grow….
Keep in mind that the chart posted above does not even take into account the huge numbers of Americans that are on Social Security and Medicare.
In the United States today, more than 61 million Americans receive some form of Social Security benefits.
Just think about that.
That means that nearly one out of every five Americans is drawing on Social Security.
That is just crazy.
And in the years ahead we are going to see wave after wave of Baby Boomers retire and so the number of Americans drawing on Social Security is just going to keep going up.
The same kind of thing is happening with Medicare.
That sure does sound expensive.
If you can believe it, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.
That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
Will you be able to pay your share?
And that is just for Medicare.
The federal government just keeps becoming a bigger and bigger part of the health care industry.
Deadly anemia drugs like Procrit made billions – FDA kept their dangers a secret to protect pharma profits
Monday, August 06, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] The agencies and bureaucracies of our Leviathan government were created for our own good, we are constantly told, which is also the excuse we’re given anytime a group of lawmakers or citizens calls for any of them to be dismantled.
That excuse may no longer hold water for the Food and Drug Administration which, according to a recent Washington Post report, could have some liability in covering for a drug that a growing body of research says is dangerous and deadly.
For many years, the report said, three drugs known as Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp were among the top-selling prescription drugs in the U.S., raking in more than $8 billion annually for a pair of Big Pharma corporations – Amgen and Johnson & Johnson. In fact, these two companies were stars among stars; for a number of years, Epogen was the single costliest medicine under Medicare, costing U.S. taxpayers as much as $3 billion a year.
“The trouble, as a growing body of research has shown, is that for about two decades, the benefits of the drug – including ‘life satisfaction and happiness’ according to the FDA-approved label – were wildly overstated, and potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked,” the Washington Post reported.
Shocking, to say the least, but there’s more.
Medicare researches last year said, in an 84-page study, that they found among most kidney patients – the original and largest market for the trio of drugs – no solid evidence the medications made anyone feel better, improved their chances of survival or even had any “clinical benefit” outside of elevating one statistic for red blood cell count.
So while the drug companies had made tens of billions in profits over more than two decades, much of it from unsuspecting taxpayers, millions of patients were given dangerous doses of the medications to no advantage.
Economic incentives, willing participants, congressional liability
“To answer the question, The Washington Post obtained the agreements between the drug makers and the Food and Drug Administration, reviewed thousands of pages of transcripts and company reports, and relied on new academic research, some by doctors who once administered the drugs but now look askance at the drug makers’ original claims,” the paper reported.
The paper said part of the blame comes from economic incentives built into the U.S. healthcare system, which can lead to inefficiencies and potentially deadly uses for drugs. But there is more here than simply that.
Drug makers cannot and will not manufacture and market drugs at a loss, that much is a given. But the FDA, according to the Post’s report, shares as much blame as anyone for this travesty. So, too, does Congress.
The paper said Amgen launched a well-funded research and lobbying campaign that was ultimately successful to win “far-reaching approvals” from the FDA. But both companies held drug trials that obviously missed (or ignored) the dangers while touting benefits that, 22 years later, would be disclosed as unfounded.
They also took more than 10 years to fulfill research commitments to the FDA, which – finally – moved to reign in the largest doses of the drugs. The agency was then stifled in its efforts by a “high-powered lobbying effort” aimed at Congress until lawmakers forced regulators to back off.
‘It was just easy to do’
The paper also points an accusing finger at doctors and hospitals.
“Americans might like to think that doctors focus on only their health. But physicians and hospitals have to pay the bills, too, and, in some cases, the more they treat a patient, the more they earn. This was especially true in the case of the anemia drugs: The bigger the dose, the more they made,” said the Post.
Incentives offered to them by the drug makers to increase doses ultimately worked. By 2007, some 80 percent of 175,000 dialysis patients on Medicare were being given the drugs at levels above what the FDA believes now is safe.
“It was just so easy to do – you put this stuff in the patient’s arm, and you made thousands of dollars,” Charles Bennett, endowed chair at the Medication Safety and Efficacy Center of Economic Excellence at the University of South Carolina and a critic of the use of the drugs in cancer patients, told the paper. “An oncologist could make anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 a year from this alone. And all the while they were told that it was good for the patient.”
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August 1, 2012
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July 12, 2012
Did you know that sterilization will not cost women a penny under Obamacare? A new regulationthat goes into effect on August 1st requires that health plans cover sterilization for all women with “reproductive capacity”. That includes teenage girls. According to the new regulation, women must have access to sterilization “without having to pay a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.” So women will not have to pay a single penny out of pocket if they want to get sterilized. Of course this sterilization mandate will make health insurance more expensive for all of us, but the social engineers in Washington D.C. feel that increasing access to sterilization is a very important public policy goal. So why are they doing this? They are doing this because they love death. They truly believe that they are saving the planet by reducing human numbers. That is why “family planning” is always at the very heart of the “green agenda”. They want to sterilize women because that will help keep the population down. And if there are less people running around, there will be less of us to ruin “their planet” with all of our pollution.
The new Obamacare regulation requires health insurance policies to offer 100% coverage for all “approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
But to fully understand what is going on, you have to look at this in context with what is being implemented all over the globe.
Have you heard of Agenda 21? It is an international effort coordinated by the United Nations to make the world a more “sustainable” place in the 21st century.
To the social engineers at the forefront of this effort, the number one threat to “sustainable development” is overpopulation. That is why population control is one of the central pillars of Agenda 21.
So all over the globe, family planning programs are being pushed and funded by the United Nations. In many UN-funded family planning facilities all over the planet sterilizations are being offered for free.
The United Nations seems absolutely obsessed with population issues. In particular, they seem quite determined to get women in poorer countries to have less children. For example, the March 2009 U.N. Population Division policy brief began with the following statement….
What would it take to accelerate fertility decline in the least developed countries?
A statement like that should be setting off all kinds of alarm bells in your head.
Questions like that are only a few steps away from all-out genocide.
But the social engineers at the United Nations are so obsessed with “saving the earth” that the fact that human lives are being destroyed in the process does not seem to bother them.
Many in the environmental movement believe that the number one problem facing the earth is climate change, and many of them also believe that carbon emissions being produced by human activity are the number one cause of climate change.
So that makes all of us the number one enemy of the planet.
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by: Sally Nelson
July 9, 2012
Eighty-three percent of American physicians have considered leaving their practices over President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, according to a survey released by the Doctor Patient Medical Association.
The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients, surveyed a random selection of 699 doctors nationwide. The survey found that the majority have thought about bailing out of their careers over the legislation, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court.
Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65.
By 2025 the shortage will balloon to over 130,000, Len Marquez, the director of government relations at the American Association of Medical Colleges, told The Daily Caller.
“One of our primary concerns is that you’ve got an aging physician workforce and you have these new beneficiaries — these newly insured people — coming through the system,” he said. “There will be strains and there will be physician shortages.”
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by: Paul Craig Roberts
July 8, 2012
In a recent column, “Can The World Survive Washington’s Hubris,” I promised to examine whether the US economy will collapse before Washington in its pursuit of world hegemony brings us into military confrontation with Russia and China. This is likely to be an ongoing subject on this site, so this column will not be the final word.
Washington has been at war since October, 2001, when President George W. Bush concocted an excuse to order the US invasion of Afghanistan. This war took a back seat when Bush concocted another excuse to order the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a war that went on without significant success for 8 years and has left Iraq in chaos with dozens more killed and wounded every day, a new strong man in place of the illegally executed former strongman, and the likelihood of the ongoing violence becoming civil war.
Upon his election, President Obama foolishly sent more troops to Afghanistan and renewed the intensity of that war, now in its eleventh year, to no successful effect.
These two wars have been expensive. According to estimates by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, when all costs are counted the Iraq invasion cost US taxpayers $3 trillion dollars. Ditto for the Afghan war. In other words, the two gratuitous wars doubled the US public debt. This is the reason there is no money for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the environment, and the social safety net. Americans got nothing out of the wars, but as the war debt will never be paid off, US citizens and their descendants will have to pay interest on $6,000 billion of war debt in perpetuity.
Not content with these wars, the Bush/Obama regime is conducting military operations in violation of international law in Pakistan, Yemen, and Africa, organized the overthrow by armed conflict of the government in Libya, is currently working to overthrow the Syrian government, and continues to marshall military forces against Iran.
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by: Brandon Smith
July 5, 2012
I understand the dream of the common socialist. I was, after all, once a Democrat. I understand the disparity created in our society by corporatism (not capitalism, though some foolish socialists see them as exactly the same). I understand the drive and the desire to help other human beings, especially those in dire need, and the tendency to see government as the ultimate solution to all our problems.
That said, let’s be honest; government is in the end just a tool used by one group or another to implement a particular methodology or set of principles. Unfortunately, what most socialists today don’t seem to understand is that no matter what strategies they devise, they will NEVER have control. And, those they wish to help will be led to suffer, because the establishment does not care about them, or you. The establishment does not think of what it can give, it thinks about what it can take. Socialism, in the minds of the elites, is a con-game which allows them to quarry the favor of the serfs, and nothing more.
There are other powers at work in this world; powers that have the ability to play both sides of the political spectrum. The money elite have been wielding the false left/right paradigm for centuries, and to great effect. Whether socialism or corporatism prevails, they are the final victors, and the game continues onward…
Knowing this fact, I find that my reactions to the entire Obamacare debate rather muddled. Really, I see the whole event as a kind of circus, a mirage, a distraction. Perhaps it is because I am first and foremost an economic analyst, and when looking at Obamacare and socialization in general, I see no tangibility. I see no threat beyond what we as Americans already face. Let me explain…
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by: James Hall
July 4, 2012
Hold on to your socks, the part time hiring of employees will become the new normal. The biggest prohibitive hit against job creation is in full motion. The consequences from Obamacare place a drag on the economy that is undeniable. This mugging of small business will guarantee that the primary engine of employment will sputter and knock, as the federal government forces higher and higher taxes on the last semblance of free enterprise.
Do not ignore the significance of this seminal moment. Forget about any economic recovery on Main Street. The unemployment stats will be stuck in a permanent loop, as the gross domestic product stagnates, at best. The more likelihood is that the characterized “double dip” recession will experience a full-blown depression. Government’s response will inflate prices in a feeble attempt to stave off deflation retractions.
Ponder the fallout of this escalated assault on the middle class. Larry Kudlow portrays in John Roberts Is a Super-Taxer the Supreme Court ruling as a dangerous precedent.
“The Roberts court has served up a “tax mandate” that is more powerful than the still-limited Commerce Clause regulatory mandate. Roberts has created a huge new loophole. Instead of new purchase mandates, we’ll have new purchase tax mandates.
Americans for Tax Reform estimates that Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses. Investor’s Business Daily says this comes to a $675 billion tax hike over the next decade.”
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By: Jim Karger, TDV Legal Correspondent
July 3, 2012
The final nail has been driven into the coffin of America’s medical care system (note it’s not healthcare because the system has nothing to do with health).
With the Supreme Court decision last week on ObamaCare, the US has taken its failed venture into socialized medicine, i.e., Medicare, and foisted it upon the general public, most of whom really believe they are going to get something for nothing.
It is as if the U.S. government doesn’t understand that doubling down on a losing bet doesn’t make it a winner. And let’s not forget that Medicare, which came to America as part of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” has been a tragic, unmitigated failure.
US medicalcare is the most expensive care in the world. Some say that is because it is the best. Nonsense.
The overall health of the average American is nothing to write home about. The average life expectancy for a person born in the U.S. today is 78.49 – significantly lower than for people born in Monaco, Macau and Japan, for example, which have the three highest life expectancies at 89.7, 84.4 and 83.9 years, respectively.
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By: Mary J. Ruwart, Ph.D
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