Category Archives: Medicare

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 →

CNN, Paul Ryan, Cato, NY Times, Paul Krugman, Heritage – one establishment voice against tariffs

Rich or poor, religious or not, every leader of every Southern state in 1860 opposed tariffs and embraced slavery. In the North, where there was no slavery, everyone favored tariffs to protect both American industry and wage earners from unfair foreign competition.

Today, Paul Ryan, Cato Institute or Heritage Foundation invariably promote cutting Social Security, Medicare, Minimum Wage, in fact they despise anything that helps the middle class. On the other side, CNN, Paul Krugman, WAPO and the New York Times say they oppose cuts to these necessary programs.

So, what’s happening here. Why are the leaders of the far left and far right joined together to fight against America seeking fair trade through fair tariffs? Continue reading →

If Trump had kept his campaign promise, a $50k couple would save an extra $2,739 in 2018 taxes

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s new tax law will save less than $9 a week for most working Americans, and many may receive cuts as little as $2.70. Meanwhile, a $1 million filer will gain $628 a week. The GOP plan smells like a few peanuts for the middle class and the elephant’s share of the tax cut designated for the very rich.

Let’s examine how the 2018 income tax really works, compared to what we were promised during the election campaign.

Current law now taxes a married couple for every dollar earned that exceeds $24,000 a year. Last year’s tax floor was $20,800, or a difference of $3,200.

Anyone earning exactly $24,000 in 2018 will save income tax of 10% of that $3,200, or $6.15 a week, versus last year.

What do you do with this $6.15 tax cut? If you are taking Xarelto for heart problems, as millions do, your tax bonanza won’t cover that drug’s $80 a month increase, or offset higher gas prices, or, or…

But what would have happened if candidate Donald Trump’s original tax plan had been adopted? Continue reading →

President Trump has a chance to save mucho money if he just takes my amateur purchasing agent advice

Dark coat waving, tie curling, eyes focused in imperial triumph, what could be more awesome than the American Don alighting from Air Force One? This is not the Don of The Godfather, who measured his might in mere horse heads and bedposts. This is our President Don, who commands the mightiest military in history.

But Don has a problem. The fridges are acting up on both Presidential Boeings, not being cool, when they should. Call them undependable deplorables, needing replacement, like Senator Lindsey Graham at a voice-cracking contest. Warm beer, anyone?

The specs call for 70 cubic feet of space, doors, a little light inside, and I suppose stainless steel might be nice. These coolers would be like a big version of those 24 cubic foot jobs, that Sears would like to sell you before all their stores close.

Why am I so concerned about saving money on flying fridges that only have to last a couple years until the new ($2,000,000,000 each) Air Force One replacements arrive?

Any country that has to hike Medicare premiums on the poorest of its citizens by 24% this year is in financial trouble. The reason for this seemingly callous action is our national need to fund the growth of the military 2018 budget to $700 billion, which Senator Graham says is vital for defense of our 330 million well-armed Americans from an attack by 25 million emaciated, near-sighted North Koreans.

Continue reading →

Middle class seniors forced to pay for that 40% corporate tax cut with reductions to Medicare

Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.

Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.

The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.

All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →

Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, begins with a simple question: Who is John Galt?

The answer comes in the last third of that 1957 book, where Galt emerges as the champion of capitalism and defender of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, which has opposed:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Head Start
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Nationalized Health Care
  • School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  • Social Security
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Galt was not real, but he was a hero to the children of many wealthy families. These sheltered capitalists-in-training saw Ayn Rand as a hero, because she espoused that caring for nobody but yourself was not selfish, but a virtue. 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 →

$4,000 Wage hike “Fake News” from the White House – whatever happened to Trump promise of “no taxes for a couple earning less than $50,000”

UPDATE to April 2017 post, Russian Dossier with complete text: DNC and Clinton campaign paid for Fusion GPS  report used by FBI to investigate President.

The following was emailed to me on Saturday from the White House.


President Trump is working harder than ever to bring tax reform to middle class Americans, including the biggest tax cut in American history. This week, the President took his case to conservative leaders, seeking their support in pushing Congress to pass a tax reform bill, he said, “We need…help…to get our tax cuts through the house, through the Senate, and to my desk for signature.” Now is the time for all Republicans in Congress and maybe even patriotic Democrats to come together and support major tax reform that will boost wages and deliver families a $4,000 annual pay raise. We must get Congress on board, in order to deliver tax relief to hard-working Americans. Call and remind your Representative and Senators to support the President’s Middle Class Miracle today.

Although I am retired and there is no boss to give me a pay raise, I imagined that, at least, my children and grandchildren would benefit, and perhaps send me a fancier birthday card or buy me a funny hat with all the extra cash in their checking accounts.

And after learning that I am a “Real American”, according to this government email, I wondered: “could this $4,000 pay raise be real?” I turned to YouTube, where your computer screen seems to come alive with the voice of Mr. Trump and Bill Nye, among others, and found the President making this same promise: Continue reading →

GOP House passes plan to raise Medicare eligibility age to 67, then turn it over to insurance companies

Time after time, Mr. Donald Trump promised no cuts to Medicare and Social Security, but the current leader of the nation and Republican Party now seems to have a change of heart – to put it very kindly – or he has just wandered even deeper into the swamp.

It could be the President is distracted by his fake plan to lower taxes for the middle class  and so he hasn’t noticed the GOP-dominated House passed its 2018 budget resolution on Thursday by a vote of 219-206. The cunning House Speaker Paul Ryan led his swarm to approve  cutting $1.5 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid. Eighteen Republicans voted against the resolution, along with all the attending Democrats.

Robert Roach, who heads the Alliance for Retired Americans, was furious at the news: 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 →

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