Prognostication: Here It Comes

I claim no special power here, nor any inside information. This is simply arithmetic coupled with logic. I’ll give you a “decision tree” sort of format with the critical points outlined.
Note that if you’re going to mitigate any of what I see coming around the bend you need to do it right damn now, not wait. By the time you get to those critical points it’s too late. For many people it’s already too late, but if you’re not in that batch then you need to make your lifestyle changes today.
I am operating on the premise that the rank corruption that I outlined in the Ticker here will not be addressed. It will not be addressed for the same reason the 17th Amendment will be cited as the reason the American political experiment failed when the book on America is finally closed, as that Amendment permanently removed the ability of the States to call a hard-stop on any expansion of Federal Power they did not consent to. That was designed in to our government by the founders and it was removed intentionally by the 17th Amendment. That balance of power can never be restored absent a Revolution because to do so The Senate would have to literally vote themselves out of a job at a supermajority level which they will never do and there is no means to compel them to do so.
For the same reason the 30-year trend in Medicare and Medicaid spending will not be stopped. It may be tinkered with around the edges but it won’t be stopped because to stop it without literally throwing people into the street and letting them die you have to break the medical monopolies and in doing so you will inevitably (1) destroy the graft machine that drives a huge part of DC and at least half of the jobs inside the Beltway, along with the asset values they support, (2) create an immediate and deep (15% of GDP, but temporary) recession on purpose which neither Congress or Trump will ever voluntarily initiate as it would cause a guaranteed 70% stock market crash along with the immediate detonation of about 1/3rd of all in-debt corporations in the United States and (3) expose the outrageous theft of trillions of dollars from taxpayers over the last several decades to fund the medical scam machine at all levels.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-04-17.

“Stinging Defeat For Trump”: House Delays Health Care Vote On Doubts It Can Pass

Lengthy standing ovation from the Freedom Caucus when @POTUS walked into the Cabinet Room just now. Big momentum toward #RepealAndReplace. pic.twitter.com/N1FLGAVFMN
— Cliff Sims (@CSims45) March 23, 2017

Summary of the chaotic day’s key events:
GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” which as AP put it was a “stinging defeat” for Paul Ryan and President Trump in their first major legislative test. The decision came after Trump failed to reach agreement with a bloc of rebellious conservatives. Moderate-leaning Republican lawmakers were also bailing on the legislation, leaving it short of votes. At least 30 Republicans said they opposed the bill, enough to defeat the measure. But the number was in constant flux amid the eleventh-hour lobbying. The bill could still come to a vote in coming days, but canceling Thursday’s vote is a significant defeat. It came on the seven-year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, years that Republicans have devoted to promising repeal. “No deal,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N. C., said after he and his group of more than two dozen rebellious conservatives met with Trump to try to get more concessions to reduce requirements on insurance companies. The Republican legislation would halt Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners, which the Obama statute had expanded. It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama’s statute provides. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies. The measure would also block federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year, another stumbling block for GOP moderates.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 23, 2017.

Trump Vows “Full-Court Press” As Opposition To ‘RyanCare’ Mounts

As the U. S. House of Representative marks up Paul Ryan’s American Healthcare Act, the battle between the moderate and conservative factions of the Republican Party continues to mount behind the scenes all while opposition from a variety of advocacy groups is also growing. ‘This is what good, conservative health-care reform looks like,’ House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday. ‘It is bold and long overdue. And it is us fulfilling our promises.’
Despite the public bickering, Republicans scored a victory early Thursday, pushing a measure through the House Ways and Means Committee repealing tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance but otherwise progress on the bill has been slow.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Ryan and House Republicans have to thread a very fine needle on healthcare legislation that appeals to a sufficient number of conservatives to pass the House while not alienating the more moderate factions of the party in the Senate.
House Republican leaders are under pressure to ease passage through the House by making changes that appease conservatives who want a more aggressive repeal of the ACA. Those changes risk further jeopardizing support in the Senate, where centrist Republicans have said they are concerned the proposal will cause too many people to lose coverage, particularly those with low incomes.
Underscoring the Senate’s central role, a group of Republican governors representing states that expanded Medicaid under the existing law have largely given up on lobbying the House and instead are focusing their efforts on the Senate, according to two people familiar with their thinking.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 9, 2017.

Government Rules Which Trap Millions of Americans in Poverty

Susanne Brasset has $5 in her bank account. She’s scared to save more.
Brasset, a 39-year-old freelance photographer in Denver, has cerebral palsy, which limits her ability to work. To pay her bills, she relies on Social Security, which she gets because of her disability.
But the program monitors her bank accounts to make sure she’s not putting away too much money. With more than a few thousand in the bank, she’d be disqualified for the program, as well as for Medicaid and other crucial benefits. Unable to plan for the future, Brasset said her finances put her in a ‘constant state of anxiety and fear.’
‘There’s more money I could be making,’ she said. ‘But I’m discouraged by all the rules I need to adhere to.’
Brasset is caught in a bind familiar to many people with disabilities. Their well-being relies on government benefit programs, but these programs impose strict limits on how much recipients can earn and save. Rules intended to bar freeloaders end up keeping disabled people in a permanent state of poverty, unable to put money away for emergencies, retirement, and other life goals.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By Ben Steverman, Bloomberg Business ‘ August 3, 2016.

USA Watchdog Interview

Greg Hunter does a nice job, and asked me to appear — here it is, embedded at the bottom.
The take-away from this, if you don’t feel like watching the interview, is quite simple: Without the Rule of Law we have nothing, and our nation currently faces a critical fiscal emergency at the federal level just a few years down the road — certainly, during the next President’s term.
There is no way out of that box without taking on the medical monopolies. None.
That’s the math.
2009 / Obamacare was an attempt to “buy more time” along with protecting said monopolies from a market-driven incipient collapse. This was rank public corruption on a grand scale, and it did nothing more than add a small amount of time, much like closing “watertight” doors on the Titanic when the water can cascade over bulkheads (as I expected it would and wrote on at the time) because all it could do is force more people onto a sinking ship. The compound growth nature of federal spending on medical care has remained unaltered; it was not flattened to zero, or even to the expansion of nominal GDP. Worse, the expansion rate for Medicaid, several years after its one-time expansion under Obamacare (in other words the one-time effects are gone), exceeds that of Medicare — so those who claim the cost escalation is due to people getting older are lying through their teeth.
The bigger-picture issue, and the one that threatens to turn this entirely-predicted fiscal catastrophe (one that I’ve talked about for 25 years and written about pretty-much continually for the last 8 right here in The Ticker) into an economic and social disaster never before seen in America (but seen repeatedly in other nations such as Venezuela and Argentina!) is that innovation has effectively collapsed at the same time.
Why?

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2016-07-31.

77% Of Swiss Voters Get It – -Reject $31,000 Guaranteed Annual Income

Give Swiss voters credit – well, at least 77 percent of them. In a recent national referendum, they overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have guaranteed each Swiss adult a monthly payment of $2,560 from the Swiss government. Just think: the payment was going to be free, just like Social Security, Medicaid, farm subsidies, food stamps, and education grants are free here in the United States.
So, why do I say those Swiss voters are smart? After all, what’s smart about rejecting free money, right?
They’re smart because they understand that that generous monthly payment wasn’t going to be free after all. In order to make the payments, the government would have to first collect the money from the Swiss citizenry through taxes.
So, let’s see: Under the plan a Swiss citizen would get to receive $2,560 in free money, but first he would have to pay $2,560 in monthly taxes so that the Swiss government would have the money to send him the $2,560. In actuality, he’d probably have to pay around $3,000 per month in taxes because the government would have to pay salaries to government bureaucrats and incur other expenses for performing this service.
Do you see why I say that those 77 percent of Swiss voters are smart?
Of course, an American statist might come back and say, ‘Jacob, it didn’t have to be that way. The Swiss government could have taken all the money from the rich so that the money really would be free for most of the people receiving it.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 9, 2016.

HillbamaCare Isn’t Working – -Five Charts Which Show Why

Six years ago Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. Since then, Americans have seen their premiums increase, a dozen nonprofit insurers have closed their doors and the number of people on the Medicaid rolls has expanded.
Americans nationwide have both praised and cursed the law since the federal and state-run exchanges launched in October 2013.
Many credit the president with giving them access to coverage – the result of Obamacare’s provision prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Others, meanwhile, have reported high premiums and deductibles, with the cost of their coverage increasing annually.
And for some, the cost of premiums has increased enough to leave them choosing between paying for insurance or paying the fine and going without.
Here are five graphs charting Obamacare’s six-year history.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on May 23, 2016.

Obamacare Bushwhacked – -Three Big Blows In One Week

Health Reform: ObamaCare rates will skyrocket next year, according to its former chief. Enrollment is tumbling this year. And a big insurer is quitting most exchanges. That’s what we learned in just the past few days.
Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, revealed that she expects ObamaCare premium hikes ‘to be higher than we saw previous years,’ including last year, which saw double-digit rate increases across the country.
Tavenner, for those who don’t know, was head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services until early 2015, which means she helped bring ObamaCare to life. In November 2014, she was boasting how ‘the Affordable Care Act is working to improve competition and choice among marketplace plans.’
Now that she’s jumped to the other side of the fence, she’s discovered the dark side of the health reform monster she helped unleash.
Why will 2017 rates spike even higher? In addition to the cost of complying with ObamaCare’s insurance regulations and mandates, there’s the fact that the ObamaCare exchanges have failed to attract enough young and healthy people needed to keep premiums down. Plus, two industry bailout programs expire this year, Tavenner notes.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 25, 2016.

This Morning on BubbleVision

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day and streaming video with people talking about the impending budgetary disaster in health care entitlements of all sorts, whether Medicare, Medicaid or pension programs.
But….. not one person talked about 15 USC, medical monopolies or similar. All were talking about how these plans are economically unsustainable due to being underfunded instead of where the real problem lies — that the “benefits” being promised are increasing in cost due to acts that, in virtually any other industry would be considered felonies across the board, whether it be a refusal to quote a price, billing out at 2, 3, 5 10x or even more than the claimed price, discriminatory pricing that is flatly illegal under Robinson-Patman for anything that is a tangible good and more.
The simple matter is that while wider discussion is (occasionally) happening on what is about to happen nobody in either the BubbleVision or political field is talking about the why, nor proposing the most-simple of solutions: Enforce the damned Rule of Law.
This issue is not difficult to resolve in terms of how to fix the problem. The issue is simply this: If you take this issue on in an honest fashion then a large percentage of GDP instantly disappears. While that will very-quickly shift to other areas of the economy and in fact will lead to a huge growth boom as it will make the United States far more competitive on the world economic stage that shift will not be painless and the firms and individuals that will lose their “special snowflake” status that currently allow them to rob you blind with impunity spend a hell of a lot of money lobbying Congress to both establish and protect those privileges.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2016-04-11.

CBO Update On Obamacare – – -Major Impact Is Massive Increase In Medicaid, Reduced Private Health Coverage

Last week’s Congressional Budget Office’s Updated Budget Projections: 2016 to 2026 significantly reduced estimates of Obamacare’s benefits, relative to CBO’s estimates published in 2010, when the law was signed:
‘ In 2010, CBO estimated Obamacare would leave 22 million uninsured in 2016 through 2019. This month, CBO estimates Obamacare will leave 27 million uninsured through 2019 – an increase of almost one quarter.
‘ In 2010, CBO estimated Obamacare would leave 162 million with employer-based health benefits in 2016 through 2019. This month, CBO estimates Obamacare will leave only 155 million with employer-based plans. The number will decrease to 152 million in 2019.
‘ In 2010, CBO estimated Obamacare exchanges would enroll 21 million people in 2016, increasing to 24 million in 2019. This month, CBO estimates Obamacare’s exchanges will enroll only 13 million people this year, and 20 million in 2019.
‘ In 2010, CBO estimated Obamacare would result in 52 million Americans remaining or falling into dependency on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the welfare programs jointly funded by state and federal governments that subsidizes low-income households’ health care, in 2016. CBO estimated that figure would drop slightly to 51 million in 2019. This month, CBO estimates 68 million will be dependent on the program this year through 2019 – an increase of almost one third in the welfare caseload.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 2, 2016.

Obamacare May Force Employers To Pull Plug On Millions of Health Plans

March 30, 2016
In the latest report to undercut President Obama’s ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ promise, the Congressional Budget Office projects millions of workers will leave employer-sponsored health plans over the next decade because of ObamaCare.
Some will opt to go on Medicaid, but others will be kicked off their company plans by employers who decide not to offer coverage anymore, according to a new CBO report titled, ‘Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2016 to 2026.’
‘As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted,’ the report, released Thursday, said.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Fox Business ‘.

Thanks Obamacare – -Health Care Spending Hits Record 17.5% Of GDP

U. S. health-care spending jumped 5.3 percent last year, the biggest increase since President Barack Obama took office, as millions of people gained insurance coverage under Obamacare.
Spending on hospitals, doctors, drugs and other health-care expenses hit $3 trillion in 2014, or 17.5 percent of the economy, according to a studyreleased Wednesday by government actuaries. Enrollment in private health plans increased by 2.2 million people to 189.9 million, while 7.7 million more people were covered by Medicaid, the U. S.-funded, state run program for the poor, bringing the total to 65.9 million.
The U. S. had seen years of slow health-care cost growth after the economic downturn that ended in 2009. The 2.9 percent rise in 2013 was the slowest in the 55 years that the U. S. has studied the figure. Actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, estimated in July that spending will rise an average of 5.8 percent a year over the decade through 2024.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on December 3, 2015.

Why The Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing

I reported earlier this week that the Obamacare Marketplace is slowly failing. Three days later the largest health insurer in America, UnitedHealth Group, announced it expects to lose $500 million on exchange plans next year and may exit the market in 2017.
The issue for many insurers is they were encouraged to participate in the exchange in return for a temporary risk sharing program called Risk Corridors. Under this program, all insurers paid into a pot of money and the firms suffering excessive losses were to share the funds based on a formula. However, a budget deal passed late in 2014, the ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill, required the program to be budget neutral. The losses far exceeded the pot of money collected by the program. Insurers have only received about $0.13 cents on the dollar of what they would have gotten under an opened-ended program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has affirmed insurers will get their money. But the question is: where it is going to come from? CMS has $363 million to divvy up while insurers have requested $2.87 billion.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 25, 2015.

Unaffordable Care Act Update – Double Digit Premium Increases Next Year

The third Obamacare Open Enrollment period began November 1st. As a result, many families are faced with a tough choice: purchase coverage they cannot afford with few tangible benefits, or pay an equally unaffordable penalty and hope they do not become sick. The Internal Revenue Service determined that 7.5 million individuals opted to pay the penalty rather than purchase health coverage in 2014, far more than originally projected. The penalty for going without coverage in 2014 was only $95 or one percent of income, whichever was greater. Yet the tax year data found the average penalty paid was double the minimum. This suggests it wasn’t the poor who were going without coverage; the poorest individuals either qualified for generous subsidies, Medicaid or got an exemption from the penalty. Many of those who paid the penalty were likely individuals who did not qualify for subsidies and could not afford Obamacare coverage due to the costly mandates. To make matters worse, the costs are rising fast.
According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums for coverage in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma and Tennessee, for example, will rise by about one-third in 2016. Rates in Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and West Virginia will increase by 20 percent to 25 percent. Residents in Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Utah will see increases of above 10 percent or more.
No one will escape these rising costs. Americans with employee health plans also experience rising premiums when insurers are forced to sell bloated policies in unprofitable markets. Individuals who forego insurance and chose to pay the penalty will face a greater fine. In 2015, the penalty more than doubled from 2014; in 2016, it will increase yet again. Those failing to obtain health coverage in 2016 will face a penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 6, 2015.

The Cost Of Over Insurance: National Health Expenditures Rising Again

Actuaries at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs those programs, have released their estimates of national health spending for 2014 through 2024:
Health spending growth in the United States is projected to average 5.8 percent for 2014 – 24, reflecting the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions, faster economic growth, and population aging. Recent historically low growth rates in the use of medical goods and services, as well as medical prices, are expected to gradually increase.
The health share of US gross domestic product is projected to rise from 17.4 percent in 2013 to 19.6 percent in 2024.
It is a little too easy to say that this outbreak of higher health spending is just due to Obamacare. To be sure, Obamacare has increased health spending with only marginal improvement in access to care. However, the population is aging, too; and the actuaries also take account the positive relationship between economic growth and health spending. The actuaries expect the economy to be relatively strong over the next decade, and estimate the rate of growth of health spending will exceed the rate of growth of Gross Domestic Product by only 1.1 percent. This is less excessive than in most recent decades.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 6, 2015.

If You Like Soaring Medical Bills You Can Keep Them – – -Feds Forecast Health Care Spending Will Hit Nearly 20% Of GDP

WASHINGTON – Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday.
The return to bigger growth is a result of expanded insurance coverage under the 2010 health law, a revived economy and crunchtime as Medicare’s baby-boom beneficiaries enter their 70s.
American spending on all health care grew 5.5% in 2014 from the previous year and will grow 5.3% this year, according to a report from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicespublished in the journal Health Affairs. In the years through 2024, spending growth is expected to average 5.8%, peaking at 6.3% in 2020.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 30, 2015.

GAO Finds $60B Medicare Errors – – 23,400 Potentially Fraudulent Physician Address, Including Dozens Of Practice Locations Inside UPS Mailing Stores!

On July 21, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced the systems Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses to detect fraud and abuse might not be working properly. According to the report, ‘Two of CMS’s procedures appear to be working to screen for providers and suppliers listed as deceased or excluded from participating in federal programs or health care – related programs. However, GAO identified the following weaknesses in the other two procedures: CMS’s verification of provider practice location and physician licensure status.’ Today’s Top 5 Things To Know will take a closer look at the report.
In Total, Medicare Paid $554.2 Billion For Health Care And Health Care-Related Services During Fiscal Year 2014. According to the GAO, ‘Medicare is the federally financed health-insurance program for persons age 65 or over, certain individuals with disabilities, and individuals with end-stage renal disease.1 In fiscal year 2014, Medicare paid $554.2 billion for health care and health care – related services.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 23, 2015.

A Complete Farce: Ex-Obamacare Head To Lead Health Insurance Lobby

If there was any doubt just who Obamacare was created to serve from day one (spoiler alert: it was never America’s population), we now have the answer and it is so simple, even a 5-year-old can get it. Moments ago Politico reported that former Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner, and the infamous former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who was responsible for writing many of Obamacare’s rules and regulations for the insurance industry, only to be fired following the disastrous rollout of the HealthCare.gov enrollment website, has been hired as the new CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the “powerful K Street lobbying group.”
Cited by Politico, AHIP board chairman Mark Ganz in a statement that”There is no better individual than Marilyn to lead our industry through the increasingly complex health care transformation that is underway. She has the respect and trust of policymakers and stakeholders from all sides, and a personal commitment to advance meaningful solutions for improving access to quality, affordable care for all Americans.”
Well, maybe for some Americans: those who are shareholder or employees of US health insurance companies, which as it now emerges, are the biggest benefactors of Obamacare because from the very beginning, they had their own operative setting up the rules and regulations of the biggest US healthcare overhaul in history to benefit, drum roll, them.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 07/15/2015.

How Medicaid And Pensions Are Crushing State Budgets

It used to be that when economic times got tough, people sought out public employment. The pay was less than in the private sector, but the job security was pretty good, and at the end you got a pension.
Nowadays, when including all the benefits, public sector pay is higher than what you can get in the private sector, so the jobs are that much more attractive.
Unfortunately, those jobs are harder to get today than they were in years past, and chances are they won’t come back anytime soon.
This usually isn’t the case coming out of a recession, when public employment typically grows faster than the private sector. When the economy turns down, people depend more on public services. That creates even more demand for what governments provide, and requires more workers to meet those needs.
In fact, this is exactly what has occurred since the 1950s… until now.
The Rockefeller Institute studies the financial aspects of state and local government.
According to their research, public employment six years after the end of a recession was always higher – and sometimes much higher – than when the recession started, going back to 1957.
The years of the recessions they reviewed, and the employment change six years later, are as follows.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on July 10, 2015.

Oh Nonsense (Republicans and Entitlements)

The newsspeak is completely out of hand here.
The Senate GOP budget released Wednesday calls for saving $5.1 trillion over 10 years, including $4.3 trillion by repealing the Affordable Care Act and curbing entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.
But one of the most notable elements of the Senate budget was what it omitted. The plan, the first budget from Senate Republicans since they took control of the chamber, provides few details on how or where Congress would produce those savings from Medicare and other so-called entitlement programs.
“Compassionate suicide” anyone?
Then there’s Bernie Sanders’ latest, which you read if you’re on his email list:
The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday began to debate a plan drafted by the new Republican majority. The bad news is that they want devastating cuts for working families, children and seniors. They want to throw millions of Americans off health insurance. They would cut aid to college students.
As bad as those and other cuts would be, what the Republican budget leaves out may be even worse. It doesn’t create any jobs. It doesn’t address the 11 percent real unemployment rate in the United States. It doesn’t fix crumbling roads and bridges. It doesn’t make college more affordable. It doesn’t raise the minimum wage. It does nothing, despite Republicans’ professed worries about deficits, to close tax loopholes that help the rich and profitable corporations avoid paying their fair share of taxes and make deficits worse.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2015-03-22.