The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Health Reform]

This sort of conduct in which collusive practice and evasion of posting a price is the only means by which anyone could get away with this implicates consumer protection and anti-monopoly laws -- bodies of legislation that govern all sorts of commercial activity from the sale of milk to gasoline to roofing services.

So why is it that hospitals get away with this?

Fifty hospitals in the United States are charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, according to research published Monday.

Done yet folks?  Oh, the average is 3.4x.

Contemplate this -- would you need "health insurance" if the cost of your medical care was one tenth of what it is today?  What if it was 29% of what it is today?

Note that co-insurance in many if not most so-called "health insurance" policies, including Medicare, is typically in the 20-30% range, meaning that if you are treated at an "average" hospital, not one of the worst, and this practice was stopped you would pay almost exactly the same amount of real money for the procedure without any insurance at all.

Got that folks?  Your so-called "insurance" is almost-entirely worthless and exists only due to this sort of rapacious pricing practice -- and for many people consumes 10% of their disposable income.  Worse, these practices drive up the cost of workers compensation and your car insurance, with the latter being utterly ridiculous as a consequence.

Done yet?  No, you're not.  I've been writing on this since before Obamacare was passed, now totaling some six years, and yet the outrage necessary to put a stop to it..... where is it?

For how long will you continue to consent to being financially screwed, intentionally and openly?

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Well, duh!

At least seven of the 29 states (and the District of Columbia) that expanded coverage have experienced significantly higher-than-expected enrollment. The expansion of Medicaid, the government health care program for low-income people, now allows most low-income adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. An estimated 1.4 million more people than expected have signed up in those seven states since enrollment opened in October 2013 -- with Illinois, Kentucky and Washington state more than doubling their projected numbers.

The problem with this sort of expansion is clear in the Obamacare law itself -- the federal government only picked up that additional cost for a few years -- a time period that is about to expire!

Let me remind everyone that Medicaid is optional at the state level to begin with.  That is, no state is forced to participate.  But if you do participate, just as "if you do expand it" you get stuck with whatever part of the cost the federal government does not pay for.

May I also remind you that Medicaid is 100% unfunded; that is, it has no associated tax anywhere in the federal budget.  It therefore is a pure welfare program, full-stop, and one where one's own complicity or even intentional conduct that raises the expense undertaken is in no way constrained.

Since the Federal Government could not coerce the states into having to pay for this (that would have been ruled unconstitutional) they instead provided convenient political "hooks" from what the states would find immediately impossible to extricate themselves from.  Again, no state is required to maintain Medicaid; it can "opt out" at any time.

But the program is a take-it-or-leave-it one; you can opt out or in but only in the entirety and only a piece of it is paid for in the Obamacare "expansion."

This was a clever dodge by Congress to prevent Medicaid expansion from instantly detonating the federal deficit a couple of years down the road, when they knew the so-called "savings" from the underpricing of "risk corridors" would run out as well.

In short it was all a clever scam that Congress and Obama managed to cram into the bill and while the states that opted out appear to have done so along ideological lines the arithmetic in fact backed up their suspicion that it was indeed a trap.

Welcome to the scam called CONgress, Blue States.  May your residents enjoy basking in the destruction of your state finances driven by the medical scams that in virtually any other line of business would lead everyone involved to be under indictment for felony violations, along with civil prosecution, under the Sherman and Clayton Acts.

smiley

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