Category Archives: healthcare

Turn 65 and you are forced into Medicare and pay a fortune more for health insurance with less benefits

What a difference a year makes.

You are one of the millions of Americans, who don’t have company health insurance. Damned with a pre-existing condition, you carry so-called Obamacare (www.healthcare.gov).

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Oh no, not Medicare!

Next year, you turn 65 and must enroll in Medicare.

There’s no good news, just bad news for you. Obamacare is a far better plan than Medicare and costs at least $1,800 less a year.

Worst of all, there’s no limit on how much you might spend on healthcare and then face bankruptcy. Continue reading →

Privatized healthcare for Americans costs too much, plus our lifespan is shorter than in 25 other nations

America’s dirty little secret – as a nation, we pay more for healthcare and the results are far from worth it.

All of the top 50 major nations have far lower per capita healthcare costs. More than half enjoy much longer life expectancy. None of them, except Switzerland, are privatized, and their per capita medical costs are often a tiny fraction of what America pays.

There are not just a few isolated cases of countries paying less and their citizens living longer than us.

It occurs where you might expect: United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, France, Canada, New Zealand, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Italy and Spain. The difference between them and us – no profit motive there by pigs in boardrooms, or media bull from Wall Street. Continue reading →

Hospital room here now costs about 20 times as much as in country with longest life expectancy

Do you suffer from a really bad heart, cancer, or need dialysis, and still want to buy health insurance?

If you can find a company in the U.S.A. that will cover you, the price will be many thousands of dollars a month with a cap on total payments, plus co-pays through the roof. If you don’t die rather quickly, our health system will devour your savings, house, car and force close relatives into poverty.

One alternative is to move to Japan, stay with a visa good for more than three months, and you will become part of their health system, which means: Continue reading →

A half million will sleep on the streets tonight, but nothing seems to wake up Congress to this tragedy

The smoking guns in mass killings may not be just the weapons, but also the danger posed by the untreated mentally ill, who are responsible for ten percent of homicides in the U.S.A., according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.

And many of these mentally impaired are nearly dead, forgotten, sleeping in cardboard boxes, homeless because of a federal program launched in 1963 by JFK, that has become deadly, useless and exorbitant.

Our do-nothing Congress knows the danger, but the homeless don’t vote or give politicians payoffs.

The National Institute of Mental Health focuses on the problem this way: Continue reading →

My Humana monthly statement left me twitched, bothered and bewildered in the quest for answers

The two thick envelopes arrive monthly for the wife and me, each 12 pages of lists of what drugs we bought that month, how much we paid, plus the amount Humana insurance contributed. If you just file this document, and don’t check the numbers, it may cost you a load of money.

I learned this when I reviewed my January 1 to 31 Humana recap for 2018, and found that the total for prescriptions in the year was about twice the total for the month. One month in the year expense should always equal the year-to-date total.

This same error appeared three times in my statement, and the higher annual total would take me into the Medicare prescription donut hole faster by nearly $400. The hole is where you pay 35% of the list price of drugs, rather than lower co-pays.

I decided to call Humana the Saturday I discovered this anomaly, and that’s when everything started going downhill.

A robot answers. It asks me for my date of birth, and the machine keeps telling me to repeat, because it doesn’t understand. I try using a Bombay accent, but still no luck. Finally, I get to a stage where I can enter birth date on phone number pad, and then I learn the bad news.

There is no phone customer service on Saturday or Sunday, only weekdays.

Can’t Humana afford someone to answer the phone on weekends? The company managed $4,100,000,000 in operating cash flow last year, including an expense of $148,000,000 for “charges associated with voluntary and involuntary workforce reduction programs.” Continue reading →

Should drug company execs get life in prison for their predatory pricing that endangers our lives?

Illegal drug dealers, who are designated as major suppliers, will face the electric chair or gas chamber if President Donald Trump has his way. Our sometimes alert members of Congress voice agreement, now suddenly aware that criminals who sell opioids, like heroin and oxycodone, deserve more than slap-on-wrist fines or jail time.

Don’t bet on the death penalty just yet for these creatures. With decades of litigation possible, it’s easier to prescribe life in prison.

Martin Shkreli, smug former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC

And speaking of prescribing, when are we going to deal with the legal drug dealers, whose companies have priced life-saving medicine in the stratosphere, so that only the very rich, or those with golden health plans, are able to afford?

An illegal drug dealer who hooks 200 victims deserves their fate.

A legal drug dealer who ruins the lives of millions deserves no less a prison term.

Which brings me to the example of Hepatitis C and the story of Marsha Lecour, who contracted the condition when she was four, after open heart surgery that exposed her to contaminated blood. Lecour is a native of Canada, the only nation, other than the U.S., which doesn’t have government-provided prescription drugs, where there is national healthcare for everything else. Continue reading →

If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, it’s time to borrow $6,400 or pay 1/3 price in India

Visit Victoria Station while in Mumbai for implants

If our politicians ever make the effort to visit the “little people” – those neglected voters, who don’t live in gated communities and suck gin in the Capitol – our selected leaders will see smiles without front teeth. And that is just the beginning of their constituents’ dental problems.

Some 140 million Americans have no dental insurance, and for most who do pay premiums, the coverage won’t cover the cost of replacing those two front teeth with implants

Medicaid and Medicare will pay nothing.

If you search the web for how to afford dental implants, the usual answer is borrow the money. A few suggested contributing more to your Health Savings account (as if everyone has an account). One advised asking for charity on the Internet. I am surprised no one said: write a check or pay with cash. Continue reading →

How the “free market” in toilet tissue tricked you

Sometimes you have to cringe when a Capitalism fan praises the wonder of the “free market.”

For example, “free market competition lowers prices…”

Sounds great, but visit a store and compare the price of batteries from various companies – each one is within a penny of the other.

Listen to the CEO of a major airline who explains: “we no longer compete on price because that’s bad for profits for the entire industry.”

Or, be amazed when the generic drug you are prescribed is made by the same manufacturer as the brand name version and the price of both is nearly identical.

Ah…the “free” market. Some politicians salute this as the cure for rising middle class healthcare costs. Is medical services shopping fun as you put your heart attack on pause to consult with various institutions and learn they have no set price, just schedules of charges that all fall within a close range? Continue reading →

Americans suffer while drug companies make a fortune because FDA isn’t timely approving generics

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year had 4,036 generic drug applications waiting for approval. In October 2012, there was a backlog of 2,868 drugs. It now takes a median 47 months to approve a generic drug by the FDA – nearly four years.

What does this mean to the healthcare consumer?

drugsalesFirst, it allows a drug company to continue selling their “brand name” drug because there is no replacement on the market. Brand name drugs are sold at incredible prices, pushed up by obscene profits, as well as constant advertising, plus promotion of drugs by medical professionals. To many in the health business, brand name drugs are the real money makers.

By comparison to the United States, the European FDA – the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – has just 24 generics awaiting approval. It takes about a year to get approval in Europe, one quarter the time of the U.S.

Why would it be faster to approve generics in Europe than here? The answer is that patients in America pay for their drugs, either directly or through health plan premiums. In Europe the government negotiates drug prices, because they are working to lower costs to benefit their citizens and reduce spending. It’s the difference between healthcare for profit or Continue reading →

Fracker’s friend frets that you might retire and get your Social Security, instead of working to death

When Libertarian Gary Johnson proclaimed that Americans should not get their Social Security until age 72, he was actually condemning many to death before receiving any of their “earned benefits.”

garygoofyThat’s because the average life expectancy of a Black male in the U.S. is 68 years, meaning death four years before Gary would grant retirement security. While the average life expectancy for men in general is 76.9 years, men in the middle and lower income levels die five years sooner, or at 71.9. With a 72 retirement age, most men would die before that first Social Security check.

As an aside, male life expectancy in this country, where we work so long and hard, is ranked 32d in the world, behind such places as Costa Rica, Chile, Greece, Slovenia and Korea, as well as most members of the EU. We did tie with Cuba – for what that’s worth.

David Barton, another Johnson/Tea Party type, personified the big business view of Continue reading →

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