Category Archives: Medicare

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 →

Sick seniors or the disabled may not be allowed to buy guns for self defense under new Obama rule

71-year-old man shoots robbers at internet cafe in Florida

Last week, it became more dangerous to be old or disabled.

That’s because the Barack Obama brain trust ordained a rule that will force the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share records with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look for so-called disabled or impaired individuals.

The government then decides whether or not to ban them from buying a gun.

The SSA maintains that “under our representative payee policy, unless direct payment is prohibited, we presume that an adult beneficiary is capable of managing or directing the management of benefits.” That means you better keep your checking account in your own name, and if you go crazy. just let someone handle your finances using only your name.

Continue reading →

Gary Johnson wants to cut 43% from Medicare and the Defense Dept., end the senior drug benefit, eliminate student loans, and stop taxing the rich

GoofyGary

Is the grass always greener?

It was a simple question to Gary Johnson in a 2012 interview, while running for President as the Libertarian candidate: How do you stop the deficits and out of control spending?

The answer from Johnson, who is currently managing 6% to 10% voter support in national polls:

A: Well, cutting $1.675 trillion from the federal government. You got to start out by talking about (cutting) Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent. They could block grant the states, 50 laboratories of innovation. Give it to the states to deliver health care to the poor and those over 65 and do away with the strings. Do away with that regulations; let states handle it. There would be best practices emerge. Other states would emulate the best practices. They’re be failure. States would avoid the failure.

Johnson also wants to eliminate the Federal Income Tax, which would require huge program cuts in the federal budget to pay for it. His revenue solution would be a national 23% sales tax, plus virtual elimination of the earned Medicare benefit (now paid for by workers with a payroll tax). Continue reading →

Bush & Romney warn they may vote Libertarian for Gary Johnson, recent CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc.

Gary

Johnson also ran in 2012 for President

UPDATE: (July 23, 2016) Rumors swirling today that Jeb Bush may announce that he will vote for Gary Johnson, joining the smoking car on the Libertarian train to nowhere  No word yet from Bush the elder, Bush the brother or mama Bush.

Former Republican Presidential nominee Willard Mitt Romney said recently he would not vote for presumptive nominee Donald Trump in the general election in November and would consider voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Romney’s running mate in 2012, Paul Ryan, has also been described as a Libertarian, although he votes as a Republican. His consideration to vote for Johnson, Romney explained, is because he doesn’t regard Donald Trump as a true conservative. Johnson ran against Romney in 2012 for the nomination.

Here’s what “true conservative” Gary Johnson believes, gleaned from press interviews: Continue reading →

How a Medicaid divorce can save you millions.

Leave it to the scions of Washington D.C. to break up middle class marriages.

Under current law if your spouse enters a nursing home, both of you are obligated to pay for care. With an average Social Security check at about $14,000, the cost of a nursing home is impossible to pay out of current income. Most folks dip into savings.

But even a family with say, $400,000 saved over a lifetime, will see that money rapidly disappear because nursing home care is not covered by Medicare. You have to pay 100% of the costs.

To give you better sense of these expenses the states with the most expensive median annual rate for a single person’s private room bed in a nursing home:

  1. Alaska – $259,515
  2. Connecticut – $158,775
  3. Massachusetts – $139,430
  4. New York – $136,510
  5. Hawaii – $135,050

The states with the least expensive median annual rate for a single person’s private room bed in a nursing home:

  1. Oklahoma – $60,225
  2. Missouri – $60,955
  3. Louisiana – $62,050
  4. Kansas – $65,700
  5. Arkansas – $65,700

Double all the above numbers for two persons.

The table below shows the range of costs by state in 2015 of the daily rate for a private room. Continue reading →

Cut Medicare and Social Security Club is back again – this time pointing its daggers at Donald Trump

The Committee for a Responsible Budget (CFRB) is at it again in their quest to cut Social Security and Medicare. Cloaked behind a lace curtain of “bipartisan” concern, the committee includes impotent deficit hawks, sharks and other carnivores of ill repute.

Of course, at the top of the list is Pete Peterson, a very, very old creature and to his fellow seniors, certainly very, very cold and calculating. This Wall Street darling, founder of the Blackstone Group (about $7 billion annual income), is former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chairman emeritus of the Council for Foreign Relations, founder of the Concord Group, and former  CEO of Lehman Brothers (John Kasich’s prior employer). With that background he deserves the Establishment+ designation.

If you watch tv you have probably noticed ads from Fix the Debt, which was founded in 2012, funded by Peterson and multiple CEOs and corporations. Fix the Debt is calling for a grand deficit bargain to be reached by reducing taxes on the wealthy, and cutting Medicare and Social Security by raising eligibility ages for both and reducing benefits.

Enter Stage Right Donald Trump. Continue reading →

Medicare age hike to 68 is Heritage GOP plan

With the exceptions of Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, all of the Republican candidates for President want to change Medicare so that it costs you much more, but guarantees profits for campaign-funding insurance companies.

The details are in the Heritage Foundation plan to replace Medicare with a “premium support” plan in which you buy Medicare on the open market and the government reimburses you, based on the lowest price from solicited private bids:

During the first five years of the premium-support program, the government’s contribution is based on the weighted average premium of the regional bids of competing health plans. After the first five years, the government contribution is based on the lowest bid of competing plans in a region.

Last week, I blasted the foundation for its miserable plan for Social Security. Their suggestions for Medicare are just as bad. What would such a plan cost, and what would be gop-no-ideas2its benefits to seniors? An examination of a typical Obamacare plan for a single 64-year-old may reveal some answers.

We couldn’t compare plans for 70 or 85-year-olds, because Obamacare won’t allow them for anyone past their 65th birthday. Since someone in their 90s requires more care than the average 64-year-old, whether Heritage blends rates (one rate for all) or age adjusts like Obamacare, premiums could easily be twice as much. What’s the difference, you might ask, if the government pays all the premium cost? Keep reading and learn why.

The cheapest (Bronze) Obamacare plan in Montgomery County, PA this morning was $533 a month for a single person, or $6,396 a year. Under the Heritage plan for Medicare this seems like a likely low-ball comparison – many co-pays, no dental or hearing aids, etc. In addition, there is a

Continue reading →

Rich look poorer, poor much richer – report distorted to make average Joe happy – despite Depression

350px-Personal_Household_Income_UIt’s so very wonderful to learn this week that “median household income” in 2014 was $53,657, even if it was down from $57,843 in 1999. You can still buy a nice basket of goodies on $50 grand a year. If only it were true.

Most jobs pay about $31k. Many families have just one parent or one spouse working. Something doesn’t add up. Welcome to the world of making statistics lie to fool the peons into believing serfdom is almost as good as living in a castle.

First, the bad news for the poor. The government is reporting your household income much higher than your wages. You may be earning $20k at a lousy job, but Uncle Sam’s statisticians massage that number upward by adding:

  • The value of the free lunches your children eat in school.
  • The estimated net price of the Medicaid and Medicare received for healthcare.
  • Pensions, unemployment insurance, welfare, workman’s comp.
  • Social Security retirement and disability payments.
  • Tax refunds, alimony and childcare payments to you.
  • Supplemental Social Security and Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Heating and utility subsidies for the poor.
  • Women’s and children’s subsidized clinic care.
  • The estimated value of government-provided childcare.
  • Employer cost of healthcare premiums, pension payments and insurance.

Continue reading →

Jeb Bush wants to steal $48,060 from each of us with brutal Social Security cuts. His rich backers are overjoyed at scheme!

SIMI VALLEY, CA - MARCH 08: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks at the Reagan Library after autographing his new book

He doesn’t need no “stinking Social Security”!

The median Social Security benefit in the United States is $1,335 a month, before they take out monthly $100+ in Medicare premiums. Jeb Bush, the somewhat fat and very goofy brother of former President George Bush, wants to steal that benefit, not for one month, but for 36 months, or a total of $48,060. What will you get in return – probably just a chance to say you contributed to lower taxes for rich families like the Bushes.

Jeb thinks this plan will win him the Presidency, which is why it was announced today with a peculiar thought process  that surrounds most petulant aristocrats. Jeb knows the very rich just don’t need Social Security. Most make more in a day than you will earn in benefits in a year.

The math of these cuts is revealing. About 99% of the folks who currently live to 67 Continue reading →

Medicare Part B hike of 52% in 2016 is major tax increase

illnessA 52% increase in Medicare Part B premiums is anticipated next year for about 30% of all participants. Nearly everyone older than 65 is on Medicare, so this huge change will affect 12 million or more Americans.

And it’s all thanks to legislative changes by our politicians, who get virtually free healthcare for life. Most seniors (about 70%) will  pay $104.90 a month, or, oddly, $147 monthly just for the first year.

The current Part B premium schedule follows. For those unaware of it, the premiums are based on how much you earn. The more you make in retirement income, the more you pay in premiums. If you make very little you pay no premiums.

If your yearly income in 2013 (for what you pay in 2015) monthly was: 2015
File individual tax return File joint tax return File married & separate tax return
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $85,000 or less $104.90
above $85,000 up to $107,000 above $170,000 up to $214,000 Not applicable $146.90
above $107,000 up to $160,000 above $214,000 up to $320,000 Not applicable $209.80
above $160,000 up to $214,000 above $320,000 up to $428,000 above $85,000  up to $129,000 $272.70
above $214,000 above $428,000 above $129,000 $335.70

The Medicare monthly premiums above are those without the rate hike.

With the planned 52% rate hike:

  • $146.90 jumps to $223 monthly, or $2,676 a year.
  • $209.80 jumps to $318 monthly, or $3,816 a year
  • $272.70 jumps to $414.20 monthly, or $4,970.40 a year
  • $335.70 jumps to $509.80 monthly, or $6,117.60 a year.

As part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Re-authorization Act of 2015, in 2018 (at that Continue reading →

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