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You are assuming that providers wield more power than insurers do. I don't believe this is the case, Eric. There has been a lot more consolidation the insurance industry than in the hospital industry. No doubt that this has given insurers the upper-hand over providers. But even if private insurers don't wield enough power to cut ER reimbursements, or any reimbursements for that matter, the federal government can. It's worth noting that nearly half of all healthcare dollars now come from the federal government. Maybe you're unaware, but 1 in 3 Californians is now on Medicaid. When all 50 states get on board to expand Medicare, and with Hillary as president this is likely to happen, 1 in 3 Americans will be on Medicaid. This is why Medicaid has become a cash cow for insurers. As you mentioned below, insurers are losing money on managing ObamaCare plans, which, BTW, is somewhat irrelevant given that the number of people on ObamaCare, especially the ones that are subsidy free, is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people on Medicaid. However, they are making up for these losses, minor though they are, by making a lot of money on managing Medicaid plans. Economy of scale can work wonders on your profit margins. Speaking of profit margins, hospitals are known for having razor thin profit margins. Much of this is due to their high labor costs. But as I mentioned before, an increasingly higher portion of their labor costs is due to bureaucratic bloat. If hospitals would cut the number of beancounters and paper-pushers in the back office, their profit margins would fatten up in no time, and without compromising care one bit. Then they will have enough padding to withstand ER reimbursement cuts. Needless to say, though, hospitals can't reduce bureaucratic bloat until we get healthcare reform that discourages bureaucratic bloat. But we can't do that until we shut down the revolving door healthcare bureaucrats in Washington and healthcare bureaucrats in the hospital industry. Hopefully a Trump presidency can do that.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2016 on Health Care at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Amir, You can blame drug-seekers coming into the ER to get their "dilaudid high" on the healthcare bureaucrats in Washington. First they made the mistake of making pain the "fifth vital sign." Then they came up with ridiculous idea to reimburse hospitals and other providers based on how well that treat pain. And no one can figure out why opioid addiction has reach epidemic proportions in the US! Connecting the dots could never be easier. But nothing is gonna be done to correct this problem until the revolving door between the healthcare bureaucrats in Washington and the healthcare entrepreneurs in the private sector is shut down, for good. For instance, the company that came up with the patient satisfaction survey, which includes lots of pain management questions, lobbied to have their survey results tied to reimbursement. So doctors and nurses know that if they don't give drug- seekers the "dilaudid high" that they want and crave, they are likely to get a poor patient satisfaction survey, and thus, in turn, get a lower reimbursement from private insurers, as well as from Medicaid and Medicare. Nevertheless, I still will argue that bureaucratic bloat is the biggest yet least talk about problem facing healthcare. And it's only gotten worse under ObamaCare. Prior to ObamaCare, there were roughly 10 back-office administrators for every doctor employed in the hospital. Now, thanks to ObamaCare, there are roughly 16 back-office administrators for every doctor employed in the hospital. This wouldn't 't be such a problem if somehow all these employees in the back office did something to improve quality of care or reduce hospital readmissions. But that's not the case. Far from it. Quality of care has only gone down and hospital readmissions have only gone up since the passage of ObamaCare. No doubt that ObamaCare has become a jobs program for the US. Which is largely why the Obama Administration doesn't want to do anything to reduce all the bureaucratic bloat plaguing healthcare. If they do, US employment numbers would drop, making the president's record on employment look worse than it already is. But if the Obama Administration wants to be honest with the American people, they would openly admit that all of this bureaucratic bloat in healthcare is putting a drain on the rest of the economy. Simply put, no nation can have a vibrant, sustainable economy and compete successfully in the global market when healthcare is parasitically consuming an ever-increasing share of its GDP. The Obama Administration needs to come clean on this, even if it means death to ObamaCare.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2016 on Health Care at Sic Semper Tyrannis
It's a bit more complicated than that, Tyler. People with "Cadillac" plans and people on Medicaid and Medicare don't have any incentive to not use the ER as a primary care clinic. Then again, they don't deserve all the blame for this. There are not enough primary care physicians to take care of their minor or even their chronic, yet minor healthcare problems -- things like a diabetic with high blood sugar or or a CHF patient in fluid overlaid. This problem is made worse by the fact that most primary care physicians won't work after hours, holidays and weekends. Why do you think ERs are the busiest after 5pm, and on holidays and weekends? My solution to this, at least in the short term, is to reimburse minor ailments in the ER at a lower rate. All medical ailments, from a simple rash to a major heart attack, are already coded for reimbursement purposes. Just divide these ailments into minor, major, and all else in between, and reimburse them accordingly. This would significantly bring down ER costs without compromising care. In the meantime, we can work towards increasing the number of primary care physicians. But that gonna take time -- years, in fact -- which is why I recommend developing a more affordable way to treat primary care problems in the ER, knowing that this is a just a temporary fix.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2016 on Health Care at Sic Semper Tyrannis
There are several reasons why ERs are being overused, Tyler. Profit motive is the number one reason. Insurers reimburse ER visits at a much higher rate than they do primary care visits. Which explains why hospitals are expanded their ER services to include freestanding ERs. In the past three years, for instance, the hospitals in my town alone have build three freestanding ERs. Insurers can put a stop to this very expensive way to deliver care by simply cutting reimbursement for ER visits that are obviously not an emergency -- things like a sore throat or a bellyache. But they have yet to do that. The only thing they have done to discourage people from using the ER as a primary care clinic is up the deductible for ER visits. I have private health insurance through my employer and my deductible for ER visits has increased from $50 to $150, while my deductible for a primary care visit has remained the same at $20. But people with a so-called " Cadillac plan" still have a very low deductible for ER visits, and people on Medicaid or Medicare pay next to nothing to be seen in the ER. Neither of them have the incentive to stay out of the ER. And I don't see that changing anytime soon. People with " Cadillac plans" and people on Medicaid and Medicare are are too politically connected to see their ER deductibles increases to, say, $150. But it doesn't do much good to cut ER services when there are not enough primary care physicians to pick up the slack. Then again, even if we had an adequate supply of primary physicians, many of them won't see patients after hours, holidays and weekends. What attracts doctors to go into primary care is not the money, it's the hours. If that "perk" is taken away from them, they will demand more pay. Which leads me back to what I regard as the best way to solve the ER overuse problem. It is not to reduce their use, but to reduce their costs. And the best way to do that is for insurers to reduce reimbursement for ER visits that are clearly not an emergency.
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2016 on Health Care at Sic Semper Tyrannis
In a strange sort of way, ObamaCare parallels that of ZIRP/QE. ZIRP/QE has made the financial economy very wealthy with very little of that wealth making its way down to the real economy. Similarly, ObamaCare has made the back-office economy very wealth with very little of that wealth making its way down to the front-line economy. Even though the financial economy isn't exactly like the back-office economy and the real economy isn't exactly like the front-line economy, there are enough parallels between the two to make the case that the ObamaCare is profoundly bad for the real economy, the place where the front-line economy is found. Perhaps if the critics of ObamaCare would focus their criticism on the fact that ObamaCare enriches the back-office economy at the expense to the front-line economy, they would make better progress towards discrediting ObamaCare. After all, it's not very hard to make the case that the back-office bureaucrats have little to nothing to do with delivering patient care, much less improving patient care, and the more money is thrown at these bureaucrats, the less money there is to delivery care on the front lines, causing the quality of care to erode even further.
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2016 on Health Care at Sic Semper Tyrannis
In the event of nuclear war, three things will survive with certainty -- cockroaches, banksters and fruit cake. Merry x-mas and peace to all of you here at Mark's place.
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I have no illusions about the Democrats, Ron. I know they are bought-and-paid-for corporatists no different from the Republicans. And I have suspected for quite some time that ObamaCare didn't just emerge out of nowhere. Since you traced its roots back to Reagan, then this probably explains why Obama regards Reagan as his hero. I guess that means that ObamaCare should be renamed ReaganCare. Oh boy, that would get the baggers all fired up! Despite that, I still wish that healthcare would reverse course, a 180-degree turn in fact, shifting it back to the people. Socialism for the people is a lot more appealing to me than socialism for corporations, and it should be for most. Don't mistaken me, for the most part, I have nothing against corporations per se as long as they operate efficiently and contain overhead costs. But I am very much against the government subsidizing corporations. To me, this is what causes them to become highly inefficient and generate excessive overhead costs. But the problem is that if we take the subsidies away from healthcare corporations, very few people will be able to afford healthcare. So what do we do to fix this unaffordability problem plaguing healthcare? We can either keep the profit motive in healthcare in place and remove all government subsidies going to corporate healthcare, thus making people pay for most of their healthcare out of their own pocket, reserving health insurance only for catastrophic care. But this isn't realistic at all. Or, OTOH, we can do the more realistic thing, which is to ditch the profit motive in healthcare all together and ramp up government subsidies to the utter max, thus replacing the system we presently have with some sort of version of a single payer system. Needless to say, by keeping the profit motive in healthcare firmly in place while still generously subsidizing corporate healthcare is what's artificially causing healthcare costs to be much higher than they really ought to be. Let me also add that ObamaCare is largely popular among the masses due to the generous subsidies it provides to the lower-middle working class and the essentially free care it provides through Medicaid expansion to the working poor. Upwards of about 85% of all individuals who purchase health insurance through ObamaCare are getting it subsidized and roughly 70 million Americans are now covered under Medicaid. They got a great deal, and they are totally happy about it. But anyone who's having to pay full freight for health insurance through ObamaCare is getting a raw deal, and they have a right to be extremely unhappy about it. But since they are clearly in the minority, making up less than 15% of all ObamaCare consumers, they and those who stand up for them, people such as myself, are wrongly viewed as irrational troublemakers. But why should it be that people who are simply unfortunate enough not to have generous health insurance through their employer, be it public or private, bear most of the burden of Obamacare? It's just not fair that people who are bearing the burden of ObamaCare the most are doing so only because they lack the political clout to have the healthcare law postponed, less alone changed, in their favor. This lead me to point out the winners and the losers of ObamaCare. The winners are the individuals who qualify for expanded Medicaid and subsidized health insurance, the people who benefits from all the bureaucracy generated by ObamaCare, and the healthcare corporations who get to socialize their losses and private their profits, making them fabulously wealth on the backs of the taxpayers. Besides the taxpayers, the other ObamaCare losers are the individuals who are having to pay full freight for health insurance, and the front-line caregivers, doctors and nurses alike, who are taken on a larger and larger patient load, all because the bureaucratic burden created by ObamaCare is consuming an increasingly disproportionate share of available healthcare dollars. Needless to say, when caregivers lose out, patients lose out as well. The bond between caregivers and patients is too strong to totally disregard the cause and effect relationship between the two. You can't say the same about the bureaucrats in the back office as they relate to patients.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2015 on Links for 09-26-15 at Economist's View
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What ObamaCare has done is take our healthcare system and turn it into the medical equivalent of the military-industrial complex. Even though the medical-industrial complex existed to a certain extent prior to ObamaCare, Obamacare has morphed it into something that rivals that of the military-industrial complex.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2015 on Links for 09-26-15 at Economist's View
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If there are any hospitals going out of business, they are in rural areas. There are various reasons for this. Many rural hospitals lack the patient population to support them or lack the skilled doctors and nurses to staff them. Many of them are also independent entities, meaning they are not part of the hospital plutocracy. It's very hard for any hospital to survive in the ObamaCare World without being part of the ObamaCare-driven, medical-industrial complex. Though I do know of some rural hospitals in my state that are doing quite well, in fact very well, despite not having the skilled staff and the advanced technologies to make them attractive to patients. That's because they have the political clout to call the shots when it comes to being reimbursed by Medicaid and Medicare. Political clout allows a select group of rural hospitals to get away with overcharging Medicare and Medicaid. They strong-arm government bureaucrats into giving them more than their fair share of Medicare and Medicaid dollars. Think of this particular group of hospitals as an organized crime unit that operates outside of the ObamaCare racketeering machine, enabling them to be propped up with profits courtesy of Uncle Sam. What's especially egregious about these profitable rural hospitals is that many of them provide third world medicine. Believe me, you wouldn't want to check into one of these hospitals, especially if you are having a heart attack or stroke. If you do, you'll die. Which is why these hospitals should die as well. There's a rural hospital that's quite profitable just 40 miles from my house that lacks a ventilator. That mean that if you respiratory arrest at that hospital, you die. How any hospital that doesn't have a ventilator on site can get away with calling itself a hospital, much less be allowed to remain profitable, is way beyond me. The only way to make sense of this is think of these hospitals as being connected to the mob, backed up by corrupt government officials.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2015 on Links for 09-26-15 at Economist's View
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Most of us were aware that shortly after the financial meltdown of 2008, schools and law enforcement received a great deal of stimulus money from the federal government, most of which has now dried up. However, very few of us were aware that large hospital systems, public and private alike, were also getting an enormous amount of fiscal stimulus money as well. Then with the passage of ObamaCare, federal stimulus money allocated to large hospital systems intensified, by leaps and bounds. One example among many is that hospitals were given roughly $30 billion in federal grant money to purchase new medical software under the mandated “meaningful use” provisions of ObamaCare. Stuff like this explains why the healthcare sector has out performed all other sectors trading on Wall Street by a long shot. ObamaCare hasn't made the healthcare industry fabulously wealthy because it has introduced more market-based medicine into the system. No, the healthcare industry has become fabulously wealthy because ObamaCare has introduced more corporate socialism into the system. Neal Patterson, the guy who started Cerner, the company which my hospital purchased its medical software from, came from being less than a millionaire to an outright billionaire faster than Mark Zuckerberg did with his launching of Facebook! Besides the huge age difference, the only other difference between Patterson and Zuckerberg is that unlike Zuckerberg, Patterson got his billions by profiting off the government. Don't get me wrong, my hospital needed new software. But that's nothing new. Every business needs to buy new software from time to time, in order to stay competitive and up to date. But no business should be given billions in government handouts to pay for IT software, or any other capital expenditures for that matter. And how much good has Cerner software done to improve patient care or improve hospital efficiency? I would say not much good at all. Oh sure, it has created more good paying jobs in the hospital's IT department. But because hospital budgets are finite, the more hospitals spend on IT, the less money they have to spend on direct patient care. I work in direct patient care and my patient load is at an all-time high and the amount of time I spend plugging in data behind a computer is also at an all-time high. In other words, the ObamaCare stimulus has enriched healthcare IT, but has done so at the expense to patient care, as well as to hospital efficiency. Unfortunately, hospitals aren't taking this stimulus money to build the "New Deal" equivalent of roads, bridges and dams. They instead are taking this money to do the "New Deal" equivalent of digging ditches and refilling them back in again. I could provide many other examples of bastardized neo-Keynesian projects taking place throughout hospitals, but I don't have the time or space to do so right now.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2015 on Links for 09-26-15 at Economist's View
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A 25 basis point move, even 50, would have no material impact on the real economy. It will only impact market psychology that the Fed won't bailout the banks and Wall Street every time their core businesses show the slightest weakness. The real economy does not need rates at zero to 1/2 of a percent to function. Perhaps it is time for you to understand that the real economy has very little to do with the banks and Wall Street.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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This entire stock market bubble has been created, sustained and even promoted by the arrogant Federal Reserve. They used QE and ZIRP "schemes" to prop up insolvent Wall Street banks, enrich corporate executives, and produce the appearance of a recovering economy. Now a third huge FED induced bubble has popped since 2000. That's all the FED knows to do is blow and pop bubbles. What a scam they run.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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The Fed actually needs to raise rates to chase some of that hot money out of the market and back into the real economy. A nominal increase will not hurt the economy, but it will send a signal that the Fed sponsored carry trade is over.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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In 2000 and 2008, the Fed burst the bubble by raising rates between 8 and 17 times respectively to pop the stock market and real estate bubble. This time, the Fed hasn't raised rates once. If a recession hits, it's QE4 to the rescue. They have no other bullets, the main reason they wanted to raise rates in the first place was to reload. Too late!
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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I agree with Roger on this one. There won't be a rate hike. The FED policy right now is best for the banksters and that is whom they work for. Stealing from the elderly savers to give to the banksters is just too good a gig to end.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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If the economy, which we've been told for years now is strong and humming along, cannot handle a measly .25% hike in interest rates, then I believe the economy is the joke many have been saying, propped up with smoke and mirrors.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on 'It’s Getting Tighter' at Economist's View
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Here's an interesting article that I believe is well worth reading, and it's not from Yahoo news either, Rusty ;~) "The Corporate Bond Market Foreshadowed a Stock-Market Rout" http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-sector-foreshadowed-a-bloodbath-in-stocks-2015-08-25 [Come to think of it, I distinctly remember hearing that prior to the 2008 meltdown, bond spreads widened out big time while equity volatility, i.e. the VIX index, remained relatively calm. This occurred several months prior to the VIX surging to record highs. If you had waited until the VIX surged prior to the meltdown, you wouldn't have had enough time to exit the stock market without racking up huge losses. But if you knew about bond spreads widened out and how that combined with a relatively calm VIX foreshadows a meltdown in the stock market, you would have had plenty of time to exit the stock market with minimal losses. The lesson here is that if you want to foresee either a major correction or a major crash in the stock market, monitor bond spreads as they relate to the VIX. And if monitoring this is too time consuming or too overwhelming for you, hook up with some friends in the bond market that'll do it for you. ;~)]
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2015 on Links for 08-26-15 at Economist's View
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The only reason health insurers have more customers is because most of them are receiving huge federal subsidies to purchase their insurance plans. I read somewhere, though I don't recall exactly where, that over 75% of all insurance plans purchased through ObamaCare are being subsidized by the taxpayer. Take away these subsidies and most of these plans will be dropped. That's one way to take the obscene profits away from the health insurance industry. This will also have the added effect of making heath insurance much more affordable for the average customer, which will ultimately result in lower healthcare costs for everyone. More free care through Medicaid on top of subsidized care through ObamaCare is the driving force behind higher healthcare costs. Anytime the government, especially at the federal level, subsidizes the cost of just about any kind of service on a grand scale, the cost of that service artificially goes up. You first saw this happen in the military-industrial complex, then it began to happen in the education-industrial complex, and now it's starting to happen in the medical-industrial complex. This is why anyone who opposes the military-industrial complex should also oppose ObamaCare.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2015 on Surprise! at Economist's View
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First off, what evidence do you have that "healthcare inflation would have been higher if the ACA did not occur"? As I stated before, take out administrative costs, most of which has nothing to do with improving patient care, and healthcare inflation might be a bit lower. But that would mean healthcare is less costly ONLY because there are fewer healthcare dollars being spent at the direct patient care level. That, in turn, means that quality of care will only get worse under ObamaCare. Who wants a healthcare system that creates additional administrative costs, leaving fewer and fewer healthcare dollars to be spent on patient care. That's what ObamaCare is doing to our healthcare system. And what in the world makes you think that health insurers have become less profitable under ObamaCare? Let me give you a dose of reality: the health insurance industry has never been more profitable. There is no other reason to explain why health insurance stocks are at an all-time high. Oh sure, the millions of Americans that qualify for Medicaid and subsidized plans through ObamaCare are better off. But that's only because the federal government is picking up the tab. What will happen when all these qualifiers for Medicaid and subsidized insurance plans are weaned off of the ObamaCare gravy train? Then again, if it's true, as you say it is, that healthcare providers such as myself and others provide such lousy care to the point of being hazardous to your health, why in the world would anyone want to access our healthcare system in the first place? You remind me of the type ungrateful patient who constantly claims to hospital administrators about how the doctors and nurses give him such lousy care, yet when it's time for him to be discharged from the hospital, he refuses to leave. If we had fewer patients who make unjustifiably claims about their care, then we could justify a significant reduction in the number of hospital administrators.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2015 on Surprise! at Economist's View
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Even if you can find some evidence that ObamaCare is reducing healthcare costs, that's probably because you are ONLY looking at direct patient care costs. The indirect costs of healthcare have ballooned, big time! Work in the trenches alongside me and you will have little doubt that that's absolutely true. ObamaCare has loaded me down with even more paperwork to do, causing me to spend even less time caring for my patients. In fact, the paperwork has become so enormous and burdensome that providers such as the hospital where I work has had to hire people who do nothing but paperwork. And these jobs don't come cheap. Low-wage clerical staff are NOT doing this rather mindless paperwork. No, not at all. Overpaid, highly benefited RNs with some "care management" training are being hired to do this work. Perhaps you don't see these so-called "care management" costs because they are hidden deep inside of the hospital's administrative budget. Nonetheless, this is causing providers to spend more and more money employing people to do costly paperwork, leaving them with less and less money to employ people to care for patients. And you are sorely mistaken if you think that someone sitting behind a desk doing mindless paperwork is gonna improve quality of care. All of this additional administrative costs is causing quality of care to suffer as well. You can also see the administrative burden bearing down on the insurer side of things as well. For example, I recently read (see link below) that the cost of running California's insurance exchange is so ridiculously high that a $13.95 fee is tacked onto every monthly premium purchased on this state-run exchange. California is not a lonely outlier here, either. Other state-run insurance exchanges, like the ones run in Hawaii and Colorado, are also generating ridiculously high administrative costs. People who buy ObamaCare insurance are already overly burden by the administrative cost generated by private insurers. The last thing they need is to also be overly burden by the administrative costs generated by state-run exchanges. At this point, my only hope is that this middle man sitting on top of another middle man will cause this whole ObamaCare thing to tumble and fall into a crashing mess! http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2015/05/covered-california-obamacare-slashes-budget-2016.html
Toggle Commented May 24, 2015 on Surprise! at Economist's View
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I couldn't agree more, Rusty. It's also my guess that the Supreme Court will, once again, rule in favor of ObamaCare. That's because the Supreme Court, both left and right, is very much a pro-corporatist court and ObamaCare is very much a pro-corporatist law. Oh sure, providing federal subsidies to purchase health insurance greatly benefits poor and low-wage working class families, but above all else, these generous subsidies greatly benefit the corporate healthcare industry. Ever since the passage of ObamaCare, there is no other legitimate reason to explain why the healthcare sector has been, by far, the bigger gainer on Wall Street. This is NOT because ObamaCare has mandated that more free-market principles be introduced into the business of providing healthcare. No, not at all. It's because ObamaCare has mandated that more corporate welfare be given away to the healthcare industry, both provider and payer alike. Thanks to ObamaCare, the healthcare industry has now surpassed the defense industry as the bigger beneficiary of the corporate welfare state. I suspect you'll hear the term "medical-industrial complex" being thrown around more often to describe our healthcare industry. But unfortunately, we don't have anything equivalent to the antiwar community to vocally oppose these corporate giveaways. And because ObamaCare does absolutely nothing to reduce overall healthcare costs, it is also harming our competitiveness in the global economy. However, labor unions won't complain about this as long as they continue to receive generous healthcare benefits. And industry leaders outside of healthcare won't complain about this either as long as the "employer mandate" remains on hold. This leaves the largest bulk of ObamaCare now being paid for by the taxpayer, who's spread too thin to have a meaningful voice against ObamaCare. Healthcare costs are being shifted in a very seismic way onto the taxpayer, but no one speaks out about this because the taxpayer doesn't fall under any particular interest or lobbying group. Perhaps if taxpayers would see themselves as as a special interest group to lobby against ObamaCare, we will finally see an end to this job-killing corporatist law!
Toggle Commented May 23, 2015 on Surprise! at Economist's View
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Sec. Kerry was on CNN yesterday and characterized the pro-Russian soldiers at the crash site as "drunken separatists." Yes, they are separatist, but evidence is needed to back up the claim that they were drunk. What evidence does he have that they were drunk? Was a sobriety test done on them to prove they were drunk? Kerry with his supposed "expertise in international diplomacy" should know better than to accuse anyone, especially someone from another country, of being drunk without any evidence to back it up. My guess is that he characterized them as "drunken separatists" because of the age-old stereotype that Russians are all a bunch of drunks. Injecting cartoonist stereotypes into a propaganda campaign to make it stick just going to show how desperate the man is to, once again, sell a flat-out lie to the American people! Benjamin Netanyahu was also on CNN yesterday and stated specifically that "6 million" Israelis are under attack from rockets being fired from Gaza. Yes, he's kinda right, there are about 6 million Israelis living in Israel, but that's only true if you don't include the million and half or so Arabs also living in Israel. So why did he selectively choose to mention "6 million" Israelis? He did this so that American viewers would conjure up ghastly images of the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany and then apply them to what's going on in Israel today. Only a butchering war criminal with a twistedly evil mind could cook up such vile and dishonest propaganda! The irony in all this is perfectly transparent: it is not the Jews but the Palestinians being gassed in the concentration camp, and it is the Jews that are gassing the Palestinians, just as the Nazis did it to the Jews over 70 years ago.
The US, after invading Iraq in 2003, deliberately broke apart the institutions and infrastructure that supported a unified Iraq, and encouraged the very sectarianism now plaguing the region. It's not just Iraq that Western nations seek to tear apart and put together again in ways that facilitate exploitation of Middle Eastern resources, primarily oil, by Western corporations. Michael Chossudovsky has a long but very informative article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-destruction-and-political-fragmentation-of-iraq-towards-the-creation-of-a-us-sponsored-islamist-caliphate/5386998 What's happening in the Middle East is not some random series of disconnected events, but a deliberate strategy to redraw the map of the Middle East. It's no secret that the US and its allies are arming and supporting both sides of the conflict. H/T: antiwar.com
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2014 on Links for 7-06-14 at Economist's View
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Millions of US citizens would also like to know the answer to Putin's question: "Why, in Syria, are the Americans on the same side as the people who took down the twin towers?" http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/06/17/their_war_not_ours_123007.html The reason we've so far been given, after denial of the facts stopped working, is that "Assad is killing his own people." But that doesn't seem to matter in Ukraine, Egypt, Libya, or anywhere else a USG approved government has been installed, including Iraq. If ISIS forces are driven back into Syria, will the USG declare that, having crossed the border, ISIS fighters are suddenly transformed into "moderate" al-Qaeda fighters, and are once again US allies? In Iraq/Syria, USG hypocrisy has been starkly exposed, and it's not a pretty sight.
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2014 on Links for 7-06-14 at Economist's View
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Although interest rates can affect employment, the overall trend towards higher unemployment (as reflected in labor force participation rate) is due more to the worldwide phenomenon of business seeking the lowest cost manufacturing wages. Off shoring jobs will cause continued job losses in developed countries and of the jobs remaining, the trend will be towards lower wages and fewer hours. Even ZIRP won't bring these jobs back. Increases in GDP may sound great, but what good is this when the economy does not benefit 80% of the population?
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