This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse
Our health insurance system is theoretically supposed to prevent Americans from going bankrupt when they are hit by huge medical bills. But in case after case, that is simply not happening. Even though more Americans are “covered by health insurance” than ever before, a new study has found that “about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses”, and most of those families actually had health insurance. These days, most health insurance policies closely resemble Swiss cheese because they are so full of loopholes, and health insurance companies have become masters at finding ways to wiggle off the hook. So every year hundreds of thousands of American families find themselves facing huge medical bills that they did not expect to be paying, and as a result medical expenses are the primary factor in 66.5 percent of all personal bankruptcy filings in the United States…
For many Americans, putting one’s health first can mean putting one’s financial status at risk. A study of bankruptcy filings in the United States showed that 66.5% were due, at least in part, to medical expenses.
The study, led by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, indicates that about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses. It’s the first research of its kind to link medical expenses and bankruptcy since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.
But wasn’t Obamacare supposed to make things better?
Yes, that was what we were promised, but the authors of the study discovered that the percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical bills actually went up by 2 percent after Obamacare went into effect…
The current study found no evidence that the ACA reduced the proportion of bankruptcies driven by medical problems: 65.5% of debtors cited a medical contributor to their bankruptcy in the period prior to the ACA’s implementation as compared to 67.5% in the three years after the law came into effect. The responses also did not differ depending on whether the respondent resided in a state that had accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers noted that bankruptcy is most common among middle-class Americans, who have faced increasing copayments and deductibles in recent years despite the ACA. The poor, who were most helped by the ACA, less frequently seek formal bankruptcy relief because they have few assets (such as a home) to protect and face particular difficulty in securing the legal help needed to navigate formal bankruptcy proceedings.
Even though more Americans are “in the system” than ever before, clearly what we are doing is simply not working.
As I detailed in my article entitled “$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams”, our health care industry has become all about grabbing as much money as humanly possible. We are being taken advantage of when we are at our most vulnerable, and the level of greed that we see in the system is absolutely sickening.
As Dr. David Himmelstein has astutely observed, most Americans are “just one serious illness away from bankruptcy”…
Dr. David Himmelstein, the lead author of the study, a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School commented: “Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, copayments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss – just when families need it most.”
You may think that your health insurance policy is somehow different.
You may actually believe that your health insurance company will be there for you when you need them the most.
And they might be. But the truth is that hundreds of thousands of American families have discovered that most health insurance companies will turn on you the moment it becomes advantageous for them to do so.
It turns out that most doctors dislike the health insurance companies too. Just check out these numbers…
Are health insurance policies creating nightmares for physicians and hazards for their patients? A new study finds that nearly nine in ten doctors believe barriers set by insurance plans have led to worsened conditions for patients in need of care.
Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.
If health insurance companies acted with compassion and always fulfilled the promises that they made, then the rest of us wouldn’t be so hard on them.
But of course the health insurance companies look like saints when compared to the ultra-greedy pharmaceutical companies. When one pharmaceutical company recently hiked the annual price of a low-cost drug to $375,000, it just about caused Senator Bernie Sanders to cough up a lung…
Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a blistering letter to a pharmaceutical company on Monday, demanding answers about its decision to charge $375,000 for a formerly low-cost drug and calling it corporate greed at its worst.
“Catalyst’s decision to set the annual list price at $375,000 is not only a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers, but is also an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication,” the independent senator from Vermont wrote. “Simply put, it is corporate greed.
“I am profoundly concerned that Catalyst’s actions will cause patients to suffer or die.”
Fixing our deeply, deeply broken health care system has got to be a top national priority, but at this point neither party has a plan that will turn things around.
So we are stuck with what we have currently got, and it is getting worse with each passing day.
Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.
Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream.
If you want to know what is coming and what you can do to prepare, read his latest book [amazon text=Get Prepared Now!: Why A Great Crisis Is Coming & How You Can Survive It&asin=150522599X].
People with a diagnosis of Cancer do not necessarily die if they just do nothing. Doing nothing is often better than going through toxic and expensive treatments. An elderly person is going to die soon even if they are healthy. Why waste good money that could be used by the grandchildren to purchase a home or buy a car. Besides, there is a great deal of evidence that Cancers go into remission just by becoming more joyful, less resentful, more grateful, and less stressed. Do some detox, walk in beauty, and love your neighbor.
Yep, the treatments for cancer killed both my parents many years ago. Meanwhile, the scum illegals have no medical bills to pay no matter where they go or what is done.
The over-charging by the medical industry is tremendous. It is funding a massive building program by them everywhere. No matter what city you go to, you see the hospitals and “Health care groups”, building massive facilities with the over charging.
They bill massively because they CAN. It’s a gigantic con game, the only place where you go in and buy something without cost discussed. They dont even know what it will cost, no one can tell you. Then when you get the bill, the figures are astronomical and are based on, “what everybody else is charging”. Not what it costs them, with a reasonable profit.
If you are a property owner, get your proerty in a trust, if your state allows it. Otherwise if you have a persoal SHTF the Hospitals will kick the bill to collection agencies who will foreclose your house and kick you out into the street.
Stop eating so much you won’t have medical problems.
So you’re saying grandchildren would rather have a house or a car than their grandparents. Chilling. I wish it was so easy that a cancer patient just needed to be joyful. Clearly you have never experienced this yourself.
“People with a diagnosis of Cancer do not necessarily die if they just do nothing”
This is true and smokers don’t necessarily get cancer either. It’s just far more likely. More people today survive or live longer after being diagnosed with cancer than ever before. That is not the result of doing nothing.
“Catalyst’s decision to set the annual list price at $375,000 is not only a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers, but is also an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication”
One has to ask, who pays for this medication? If you have something for sale and no one can afford it, then your price is too high. If some doctor told me I need to spend this much money to stay alive, I’d spend my money on beer, pain killers, some good food, and wait for my end. I’ll be in a much better place when I die and I can’t see giving all my money to some fu ckface to prolong the inevitable.
The problem is the government getting involved in medical care.
Medical people are business people and deserve what pay the market will bear.
Lost a line,
“Medical people are business people and deserve what pay the market will bear, not what the government may grant.”
Good applicants are turned away from US Medical Schools who then go overseas to Med School, come back and get board certified. My wife’s OBGYN was in that position and went to Med School in Mexico City and couldn’t speak Spanish. Upon return to the States he got board certified and later specialized and is now the Department Head. The “supply and demand” is false thus decreasing the former and making the latter more expensive. Pharmaceutical companies raising rates until the breaking point is a similar pattern. Electricity was regulated and it’s service expanded across the US. Sometimes things need a boost and allowing the AMA control of the supply of physicians is in effect the butcher putting his preverbal “thumb on the scale”. Personally if we can pay for Military Officers education in the service academies with a 6 year for 4 payback we can do the same with Physicians. Once serving they can go into private practice. Once the market is saturated with every qualified person their pay will drop and less people will come in. That is true “supply and demand not the AMA version.
Comparing doctors time to military is like apples and oranges(I was nominated to several military academies but didn’t make the final cut).
I agree that we should as a society facilitate medical training and not make it so expensive for the students, in return for a length of service afterwards. There are some rural towns that will fund your education if you agree to stick around for “X” time as a GP to doctor the locals. You don’t become a doctor for the money, but you do need to be fairly paid for your efforts and skills. My uncle, a plastic surgeon, had as his biggest complaint, was the cost of his Malpractice insurance( he was never sued) that was $400 per day in 1975. Tort reform would save America millions.
AMA is a problem also.
We are asking the wolves to guard the sheep.
Health care can be reasonably priced, and providers fairly compensated, if we get the government out of it and kill the wolves.
“Comparing doctors time to military is like apples and oranges’
I don’t believe that we are understanding each other. There are more qualified applicants for US Medical School than there are openings which drives qualified applicants overseas. If the AMA won’t create additional school space then Uncle Sam can. The graduates pay back their education with x years at x pay and no debt. After that out to private practice.
“You don’t become a doctor for the money”. I’ll give that a big time GTFOOH that is laughable. Next tell me that good looking nurses don’t get into the field to marry a Physician. A close friend of the family along with another physician I know spoke of the party’s upon graduating from Med School. Once they graduated nurses were throwing pussy at them. Why? $$$$ marry one. I’ll show you plenty of physicians that make a million / yr. I know what they own, the several houses, what they’re worth. As Jack Swaggart said in Apollo 13 “I can add”.
Ask physicians how they actually make money. Typically it’s due to having a decent line of credit and investing in real estate. It’s not from receivables. They have to write off a lot of unrecoverable medical debt from indigent patients.
And those are the old physicians in their 50s-60s. Young one are scrambling. Typically they try just foregoing a practice and work as a hospitalist to save money rather than run an office.
In the old days, a physician could hire physician’s assistants and cut corners that way. Then most cases go to them and he/she handles the complicated ones with potential legal difficulty as well.
The physicians I know are in their 50s & 60s and they did struggle (unless their father was a physician which is coincidentally very common) in their 20s & early 30s too. Look out after that. Many make a million / yr. The AMA intentionally keeps the supply low playing with “sully & demand”.
supply & demand not “sully & demand”
Capitalism functions quite well until groups gather and essentially put their finger on the scale to give then economic advantage. It’s both their unjustified unearned rise and holing back the justified that throw sand into the gears. The ABA is but a small example, the greatest is the Central Banks manipulation of the money supply thus divorcing it from value.
My wife got a knee replacement, cost $14,500. Just having Medical Insurance dropped it by $12,500, I kid you not! So if you did not have insurance you, on your own pay $14,500. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.
Let me clarify. Insurance was not billed $12,500. The price dropped by $12,500. Insurance picked up virtually the remainder.
My experience with the medical world is that if you tell your knee surgeon’s admin staff that you will be paying it all and not using insurance, the Price of the Op will be much less than $14,500.
There has been a multi-tiered Pricing System in Medicine for a long time.
Recently had a case of gout after stubbing my toe, big time. Understand my sister recently stubbed her toe, but broke it. She hobbles along, the break in a toe joint heals, breaks, heals breaks, repeat. She is now essentially crippled for life.
I hit the emergency ward, the local CVS can’t do an X-ray. I go to emergency ward, get an X-Ray . They confirm Gout, they give me a two hundred dollar anti-imflamitory pill. I get 30 of them at my CVS for $3.
Check the Internet, change diet, no more gout. My bill for going to the local emergency ward, $14,000. And I saw this flake doctor who knew crap for less than a minute and a half.
Hospitals, are nothing more than legal money laundering operations.
Gout is best described as NEEDLES of sharp uric acid crystals. The amines on the end of amino acids that form proteins then fail to be taken up by the kidney, but the liver and the formation of enzymes could be involved. Those are the two most common that are implicated.
And since as you age, your veins get incompentent it the musculoskeletal pump that when you exercise pushes blood back to the heart gets weak, so you get varicose veins. And that pooled blood causes those NEEDLES of uric acid to form in the feet.
You need massage so that stagnant blood gets back into circulation and take care of excess protein in the diet.
Any excess protein is flushed out anyway, not stored. It stinks but that means less meat consumption.
Heck, if there are no contraindications, I would take milk thistle to bolster your liver as it might be that not making the enzymes. Plus it’s cheap.
Low magnesium can trigger gout, but most magnesium rich foods are proteins like legumes and nuts, so an alternative is small amounts of very pure high quality dark chocolate even the bittersweet kind. Like Green and Blacks.
This also is very powerful medicine for your heart. Some claim it’s as good as heart medication.
If every heart patient would cut their caffenated coffee in half, and drank decaf with a big dose of pure cocoa in it,I would bet their BP drops.
Being overweight presses belly fat on the descending aorta and that alone is like a pinched garden hose which builds pressure.
Then people are stressed out. Their lives are unnatural and they don’t do anything calming. When with their spouse and talking more than 15 minutes, instead of smooching on the couch, then perpetually ARGUE.
No wonder they are stressed out.
I had a gout attack in Summer 2009 and again in Sept 2013.
I had several attacks before 2009, but I don’t remember the frequency.
After the 2013 attack, I started taking Black Cherry Extract in pill form daily after conducting some gout research.
Almost 6 years later and I have had no more attacks and my uric acid levels are high normal.
Now I’m well enough trained in statistics to know that I can make no claims that are meaningful. If I make it out to something like 10 years maybe we can start.
Another thing is that I have been making other changes in my lifestyle and diet.
So I don’t know if the Cherry compounds are having the total effect.
Hardin’s Law: In a complex system, you cannot simply change ONE thing.
Try a couple pieces of quality dark chocolate, and a cup of rich cocoa in your coffee once a day. I BET your uric acid drops to normal.
They sell the cherry concentrate in health food stores and Knudsen surely makes it as well (though that’s expensive) It tastes good as a treat.
Certain cherries are very high in vitamin C. Your comment peaked my interest.
Note that it’s supposed to be helpful as a prevetative for arthritis. Those Rhematoid Arthritis sufferers sure need help because they can be miserable.
It’s presumed that the synergistic effects of flavonoids and antioxidants are why pure cocoa as found in bittersweet chocolate is powerful natural medicine.
After glancing at the above article, here is my two cents, many yrs ago, I was a military rserveist with 19 and a half yrs and was thinking about getting out when a friend talked me into staying another yr in order to qualify for tricare for life and I ended up staying another 8 and 1/2 yrs and I’m glad I did. At age 60, both my wife I started using it as a supplemental health insurance. then 3 yrs ago, my wife was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and we used the heck out of it. I’m glad we had it, but 4 months of hospis care did set me back between 20 to 25 k.But I’m still paying on some of it yet.
We have put doctors dentists and other professional types on a high pedestal for no good reason.
I sell health insurance and the problem is very complex, I will list several concerns.
1. You sould try to lower your income and use the ACA with a high deductible
You should own life Insurance with living benefits and a cancer plan.
2. You should shop of drugs at local pharmacy or Canada one.
3. You should pay cash at the doctors and pick a good one.
4. Insurance should be cheap but good and used for high dollar losses.
5. If you make less than $15,000 per year just quit working altogether.
At 100-135% of poverty move to a state with Medicaid and Welfare
I kept getting error code 404, so as a board certified orthopedic surgeon I am not going to waste my time trying to submit my lengthy analysis.
Point to anything in the US Constitution saying heaktcare is a natural right.
Next thing you know, owning a house will be a natural right.
To even consider these looney tuney ideas, you would need a CONSTUTIONAL AMENDMENT, which needs approval by 2/3 of Congress, then passes a veto check by POTUS, then 2/3 of state legislatures have to sign off on it.
Sorry but facts are facts.
Every single person willeventually die and most by heart disease and cancer. There is no money to pay for all of that.
Modulate your expectations as did our ancestors. There was no nursing care, and few physicians, and people took care of kin as best they could. Or they died.
The only reason hospitals exist is because they were started by Christians. The same is true for universities.
Show me large scale atheist movements to use their own money, their own skills, and donating their hours to man a hospital.
Athests are the LEAST altruistc people. They are selfish creeps.
How many soup kitchems, foodbanks, clothing closets, prison visitation, medical missions, are run by atheists? Not many.
How could we have catastrophic medical care? Insurance that was purchased at birth, most likely, as the catastrophy is most likely happening at the end of life. And honestly, what quality of life exists there?
We could have “pools” in medical insurance as we used to in the fifties where the risk was spread across a town so everyone paid a little more, and then the rates were lower and so some cancer could be paid for.
But as people get older, you are most likely going to get advanced decrepitude, and so that means heart disease and cancer.
You don’t take your medicine. You got fat. You ate garbage. You drink bad water. You smoke. You drink too much. You have random hookups with whores. And then you get sick. Maybe, you ought to take better care of yourself?
Folks,this is off topic but we are Oscar Mike right this second. That is as much as I can say. Anyone who has active duty in your family, I’m praying for them and you in Jesus’ name.
This will the front page story tomorrow.
10 hours old intel that leaked…probably on purpose.
There is fresher information but obviously you have to wait until it goes public due to embedded journalists.
3.5 hour old intel.
In related news, recall the 20 tons of gold that was airlifted out plus a second plane with 15 tons. It made it’s way to Turkey.
There is active chatter that several Venezuelan military brass will defect to Guaido to get amnesty for corruption issues.
The DNC is pressing to block approval so POTUS may use the War Powers Act of 1973.
The Brits just leaked the news.I’m surprised it didn’t get press yesterdsay.
He says the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, embarked on the USS Boxer, are “only 5-7 days’ sailing time” from the Columbian port of Cartagena near the border.
“An MEU deployment to Colombia would also represent an appropriate balance between deterring Nicolas Maduro’s regime and threatening invasion,” he says, adding: “A significant US naval and marine presence is now operating in proximity to Colombia and Venezuela. Whether coincidental or not, these deployments afford the White House an increasing range of options”.
May I introduce you to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Nicholas Maduro, quit NOW, or you are getting your ass-kicked.
He is in for a world of hurt and humiliation.
These C-17s can carry humanitarian cargo or armaments and troops and have been flying in for two weeks SOLID.
We need more emphasis on preventive care and healthy living. One critical area is in oral healthcare. Research is finding a relationship between gingivitis & periodontal disease. The bacteria that live in the mouth and produce biofilm as a defense against our immune systems. This is what starts the process of forming plaque. We are talking about artheriosclerosis, hypertension, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly alzheimer’s. Regular trips to the dentist, brushing, flossing, the works can help prevent more than tooth loss. Any source of chronic inflammation promotes problems elsewhere.
The medical system needs to be revamped real bad now that baby boomers are getting up there.
I see home remedies coming back.
Medical costs have been the major cause of personal bankruptcy’s for a long time, decades on decades.
yes, a long time
Luke 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any…
For profit medicine needs to go. I don’t care what anyone says. Average $750,000 for a heart attack. My as well just shoot yourself.
If we start deciding for-profit medicine needs to go, then RNs and physicians and techs will abandon ship.
If you insist on that, you are a communist and you are my enemy.
Then every other profession that is for-profit also needs to go.
Would anyone ever say “for profit farming needs to go”? How about plumbing or electrical work? How about being a roustabout? How about roofing and carpentry?
No profit??? NUTS! Why bother if there is no profit?
The only reason hospitals originally were nonprofit was Christians started them as charities and often did much of the work and donated money to keep them afloat and had wealthy donors. That time has come and gone.
These “nonprofit” hospitals were mostly for the poor as the wealthy paid for healthcare. There was both. The expectation grew that this nonprofit could persist even though they lacked donors and Christian volunteers or even nuns to stay afloat.
I’m going to write something graceless and fatalistic.
I have thought, for a long time, that people are made like lots of tiny seeds, most of which are vestigial. Think banana seeds. Or, those turtles than never make it to the ocean. It’s why third worlders have too many kids, on purpose. Most are sick and failing. That’s what we’re spending every last penny on Earth to fix.
Noone answered that you can intentionally refuse medical care.
I plan, in the ease of this moment, to refuse to impoverish my Wife and deny any inheritance I’m might pass along to her and the rest of my Family for an extra X months, of likely, low quality life.
Your point is well taken. You are not required to take massive, expensive measures to fight on to the very end of a likely fatal condition.
There are intermediate steps and palliative care which are available at non-bankrupting prices.
As the Vince Gill song says – “Threaten Me With Heaven”
Just don’t want to claw my eyes out in pain during the transition…
If people had to be able to afford your services, first and foremost, you would be efficient, resourceful, available, or out of business.
No Unobtainium, fountain of youth, or unicorn products.
You would have to use what is at hand, in a cost-effective manner, with a successful outcome, or noone would believe it.
Measure success rates, people who like to measure. In these post-op support groups, they are not allowed to discuss complications. Did you know that? You might want to refuse treatment, or the doctor, in order to reduce medical bills.
The doctor might want to refuse a patient.
I hate to state the obvious, but we are all paying for those who cannot pay. Many use the emergency rooms as free clinics. We already have universal healthcare…..after a fashion. Those with insurance get care. Those without get emergency care only. Those here illegally get everything for free. Fair? No. But that is what we have. Send your kid to medical school. That is what my parents did. Then he stole the inheritance. It is what it is. Life sucks and then you die.
This makes as much sense as saying, “I deserve to drive a Porshe because it’s my natural right to transportation…” regardless of my income level.
Meanwhile I am perfectly healthy and take no medicines. Who says that old people are sick and weak? I bet I could outwrestle many of you.
My grandparents bicycled, all over town, and did hard labor.
It must skip a generation.
This isn’t a new study. This is something which has been known since at least the early 1980’s.
In the USA, there has been concerted effort to increase the number of medical students in large enough amounts to actually benefit the citizens. For that to happen, unversities with graduate programs would have toeither switch to more physicians than medical researchers or double the number of slots.
You bellyache about physican’s income when they make LESS due to inflation. The same inflation that hurts you hurts them.
Meanwhile they get paid a smaller percentage than their predessors. Plus you despise them. Plus you are more likely to sue them which most often gets settled out of court and costs an enormous amount of money.
Do you have any idea how many physicians have quit? Do you know any physicians who are encouraging their children to take the practice. I don’t.
You added million under rotten coverage that didn’t statistically need insurance. How many doctors did you add? ZERO.
You want a superduper, cheap, magic pill that will keep you thin, stop you from drinking, cure every infection, stop all STDs, make you happy, allow a 60+ year old hours of sexual intimacy, etc. Did I get that right? And statistically 70-80% of you won’t take it as directed.