It isn't often that three bogons show up in quick succession, but we've got it here from the so-called paper of record of the scam machine known as Wall Street.
First, let's deal with the so-called Obamacare Escalator.
On Wednesday the actuaries at Health and Human Services released their new annual projected measurement of national health expenditures for last year and through 2023. Spending in 2013 grew at a relatively low rate in historical terms for the fifth consecutive year below 4%, though at 3.6% it still outpaced real economic growth. They expect the rate to climb to 5.6% in 2014 and continue rising by 6% a year on average through the decade.
Health spending as a share of the economy rose to 17.2% in 2013 from 16.2% in 2007 and will hit 19.3% in 2023, assuming that GDP grows as smartly as the auditors project. In other words, health care will soak up nearly one of every five U.S. dollars instead of one of six. Taxpayers will finance 48% of that spending a decade out, up from 41% in 2007. Thank you, Peter Orszag
So let me see if I get this right.
Health care spending as a share of the economy will go to 20% within the next 10 years. It's bad because that will hit the Federal Budget. But it would be "good" if it didn't, and instead skullfucked everyone in America who isn't Michael Jordan or Bill Gates within an inch of their lives?
The mental gymnastics required to get there are beyond ridiculous. Oh, and guess what -- they even try to justify it:
Medical spending is valuable to the extent Americans are buying longer and healthier lives and financing innovation in treatments and therapies.
Would spending on gas be "valuable" if the fuel was $30/gallon to the extent you could get to work using it?
Well, maybe. But shouldn't we instead be asking why it's $30/gallon instead of $3 when the only reason it's $30 is the monopoly protections that the government provided for in the form of specifically enabling price-fixing of various sorts?
How do we know this? We know it because hospitals claim it's perfectly reasonable to charge $9,000 to bandage a finger and $60,000 for two $100 vials of scorpion antivenom that can be purchased over the counter a couple hundred miles to the south. We also know this to be true because a common test that can be purchased for $20 is charged out at $10,000 by some hospitals.
It is in fact laws that make criminal the sale and possession of said anti-venom without a valid license from a cartel-controlled group that enable said $60,000 price, just as it is laws that make a crime your attempt to have such a test done for $20 on yourself without a valid prescription by a member of that very same cartel.
Those acts -- restraint of trade where market power exists -- are supposed to be felonies according to The Sherman and Clayton Acts. They in fact result in prices that are thousands of percent higher than the market price for said commodities and services. It is in fact these acts that leads to an entire industry being required for most people and having a reason to exist in the first place (that is, the medical "insurance" business), a situation that is facially a close analogue to a mafia protection racket.
Then there's this ditty on Disillusioned Doctors....
This economic interaction fostered a better physician-patient relationship. Unfortunately this is lost in U.S. health care, where third-party payment dominates and physician allegiance is divided between trying to take good care of patients while adhering to demands of government agencies and insurance companies which pay the bills.
You know what happens when you allow yourself to be used as a pawn akin to a drug mule for a cartel?
You get fucked, that's what.
Doctors really thought they could be a part of the above crap, actively participate in fucking their customers out of trillions of dollars at the behest of and for these other actors and come out ahead in the long run?
Oh sure, it worked great for a while. Being a doctor used to be a solid middle-class profession. Then it turned into one that got you a Porsche and a mansion when you began robbing people. That was a carrot -- the stick is that you weren't going to be able to keep any of it long term because you were cooperating with and enabling the devil.
I was proud to see the health-care system working, to see academic medicine working, and most of all to see my son run as fast as he could out of the ER two hours later.
Then the bill arrived, and you know where this is going: $20,000. Our insurance had already paid $17,000, and we owed $3,000 out-of-pocket. What for? Among the items listed on the printout was a $10,000 charge for a "trauma team activation." This made me want to give consumers some very simple tips on how to fight their health-care bills, so here goes:
The rest of the article is a bunch of arm-waving about how he got rid of the bogus $10,000 charge.
Bogus, I say, because no such activation of said trauma team occurred and if it had it would have been in direct violation of published regulations.
He finishes with (after getting the bogus $10k charge removed) "be graceful in victory and realize you got lucky."
You see, billing someone for a thing when you didn't do it has a name -- F.R.A.U.D.
When that is systemic, that is, intentional and widespread instead of an occasional "mistake" how do you argue against a position that you're operating a criminal enterprise.
And that means that everyone involved would be engaged in the felony known as Racketeering, which in turn means treble damages, huge fines and prison time for everyone involved from the Hospital Administrator on down to the doctors and clerks who were fully aware that they billed out for services they didn't perform.
All in my opinion, of course, since that would be the outcome if we lived in a world where there was actual Equal Protection of the Law.
I will remind you that we're supposed to live in that world because our Constitution via the 14th Amendment says:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So there is supposed to be one law for everyone. So says Amendment 14.
You and I go to prison when we rip people off for 10 large, especially when we do it daily on a systemic basis.
So here's my position on all of this:
If the hospital, doctors, billing clerks and administrators don't have to obey the law why should those people expect anyone else to obey the law in their dealings with them?
You want to know how we get Mad Max in this country? Keep playing this game long enough, keep making excuses for what ought to be hard-time felonies, and eventually you'll piss off the public enough to find out.
I'm not looking forward to that day and if you have any common sense you're not either.
Cut the crap and stop making excuses.