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August 1998 by Karl Loren
How You Can Guarantee Bankruptcy!
I view so-called health insurance as, actually, disease insurance -- a program to guarantee that you will have more disease than otherwise!
Lets look first at Social Security. I think youll find that Social Security, instead of guaranteeing comfortable retirement, guarantees increased taxes and increased government debt to avoid what would otherwise be poverty and bankruptcy. The parallels with health insurance are striking. Health insurance can be salvaged, but only at a cost of increased taxes and/or increased government debt.
Eventually something has to burst!
The Social Security System would have been bankrupt by the year 2020 had not the unexpected national prosperity so greatly increased tax revenues for the government. Currently there is still much more money going into the system than there is going out. In fact current Social Security taxes collect about $436 billion per year more than is paid out in benefits.
Thats because of the large increase in the birth rate from about 1950 to 1960. These baby boomers are now approaching the peak of their yearly earnings. By the year 2015 a very large number of these people start reaching 65 every year until 2030 when they will comprise more than 20% of the total population.
Twenty five years from now, this group of baby boomers will be retired, drawing Social Security.
Guess what? Who will be paying INTO the system then?
By the year 2020, the people who will be in the peak of their earnings levels will be the group of babies born in the period of 1970 to 1980. Those were years of low birth rates, and, obviously, we will then have millions of retired people drawing social security while far fewer are paying money into the system.
Another thing, even if there is enough money to pay retired people in 2020, the Council Of Economic Advisors calculated that when you add up the money paid IN by people starting to get retirement benefits in 2020, they would get BACK money equal to the payments plus an annual 2.1% investment rate!
What do you suppose inflation will have been during their 40 year working lives? THESE retirees will have been robbed into poverty by the Social Security system. Or, their children will be robbed by taxes and debt they will have to pay so that their parents can have a decent pension.
When a man or woman who is now 40 retires in 2020, he will get back just 2% more than he paid in -- if there is enough to pay him at all!
This projection of the future problems of Social Security has been well understood by anyone who honestly looked at the population statistics any time during the past 30 years.
Politicians, just a few years ago, would say that the Social Security System is "sound" and the law will NEVER be changed to reduce future benefits.
But, they were either dishonest or blind, because the statistics of reality were always there to be seen.
Now, you see many more politicians becoming honest, or discovering the truth, and you hear more and more about the forthcoming bankruptcy of the Social Security System.
This bankruptcy is not based on anything more mysterious than the simple fact of how many babies were born in various years. It is based on how many people are in the age group of 40 - 50, right now, at the peak of their earnings. This large group is paying most of the taxes into Social Security, while a small group is now receiving benefits. Then, how many people are now in the age group of 20 to 30, rising into their peak earnings after the same twenty years? This later group, much smaller than the first group will be paying the great bulk of Social Security taxes in 2020. There just arent enough of them, and there are too many baby boomers!
So, its simple arithmetic: By the year 2020 more money will be pouring out of Social Security than is being received from Social Security taxes.
If our politicians had been honest, they would have admitted this long ago, and would have never increased benefits without figuring out where the money would come from to pay. They were simply buying votes, and millions of Americans were suckered into voting for the politicians who promised them something for nothing.
It Is Not Common For Politicians To Be Honest!
Ive set the example, first, with Social Security, but the same logic applies to health insurance, and here the matter is far worse.
With the Social Security System there is a built-in safeguard to the System. The amount you are supposed to receive for retirement is fixed, and the number of people who will receive those benefits is very predictable. Thus, the future costs are known to a penny!
Now, look at health insurance.
First, the costs of medical care are increasing faster than other costs.
Concern over rapid increases in health care spending is reaching a fevered pitch. Rapid growth in expenditures is not new: Spending for health care has grown faster than the overall economy in almost every one of the last 30 years. As a direct result of differential growth, health expenditures have risen as a share of our Nations gross national product (GNP), from 5.3 percent in 1960 to 11.6 percent in 1989.
. . .
With the impetus imparted by current laws and practices, national health expenditures will rise to $1.6 trillion in the year 2000, an amount equal to 16.4 percent of that years GNP.
If costs were going up because we were getting better service, that might be OK, but today many billions of dollars are spent on worthless medical procedures and harmful medications.
The costs are increasing while the quality is decreasing! But, people are often stuck in this terrible trap by insurance, so react to the poor service by trying to get MORE of it! After all, it is "free," so people want as much as they can get.
Thus, the demand for health care is also increasing as well as its cost.
So, as people move into the future, the costs for future health insurance will rise at a far more rapid rate than the costs for Social Security benefits. And, if you think that Social Security is not funded very well, consider the disaster of health care coverage provided by the government and large company insurance programs.
First, government health programs are in serious financial difficulty. The trust fund for the Federal hospital insurance program (better known as Medicare Part A), which derives most of its income from payroll taxes, is currently projected to be exhausted in 2005. Unless additional sources of revenue are tapped, benefits would need to be reduced by $46 billion in that year. Ultimately, the program would need to be cut by more than 50 percent.
Second, private financing of health care is reaching a watershed. Employer payments for health care (including health-related payroll taxes), which amounted to 14 percent of aggregate after-tax profits in 1965, today exceed after-tax profits.
LTV Corp. was the second largest steel producer in the United States. It had gotten itself into the impossible situation of having promised more in health benefits, particularly to its retired workers, than it could afford, and simply declared bankruptcy. In their plan to recover from bankruptcy, they were legally entitled to terminate their retiree medical benefit plan.
This will be happening more and more, not only with large companies, but with city or county governments. Youve heard about the bankruptcy of Orange County in California? New York City has similar problems.
Often the bankruptcy is hidden by some new Federal subsidy, passing on to the Federal Tax Payers the burden which, up to then, had been one for a single city.
Most of the analysis coming out of Washington deals with the COST of health care. When various researchers have tried to come up with a measurement of quality, they give up. Millions of Americans may believe that the quality of health care is getting better. You who read this newsletter know that is not true.
Insurance Is One Of The Primary Reasons Why The Quality Of Health Insurance Is Getting Worse!
The retired person cant increase his retirement income by getting sick. But, he can get more money from Medicare or Medicaid by getting sick!
When the popular press, or even the medical press, writes about "health insurance" they normally bemoan the fact that so many people are not covered! What they don't admit is that the more people are covered the worse our health will be!
Here is one of the common popular claims:
Lack of Health Insurance Places Entire Families at Risk, Study Says
WASHINGTON -- If just one member of a family does not have health insurance, it adversely affects the health, emotional well-being, and financial stability of the entire household, says a new report from the National Academies' Institute of Medicine. Roughly 58 million people in the United States are either uninsured or live with a family member who is uninsured. One in five families have at least one member who is not covered. (Source)
The retired person can increase his use of the health insurance system by claiming to be sick when he is not, by demanding care for symptoms he might otherwise ignore and even by actually becoming sick.
History has shown that every time people have an opportunity to get a free service, many of them will grab at it, whether it is good for them or not! Once you have paid for your health insurance, you might get the feeling that you are entitled to now get health treatments worth AT LEAST the same amount youve paid in premiums.
Canada has attempted the "noble experiment" of giving free care to its citizens. This is not only an expensive failure, it has actually decreased the life expectancy for many of its citizens. Click Here to read a story on that in the Wall Street Journal.
When it is government-paid insurance, not private, the inclination to use up as much of that "free service" as possible is enormous.
So, while honest politicians will now openly admit that the Social Security System is technically bankrupt (liabilities exceed assets), they will only cautiously admit that Medicare and Medicaid are explosions waiting to be heard.
Health Insurance Is Really Disease Insurance!
Health insurance ensures disease and bankruptcy. Social Security guarantees poverty and bankruptcy in old age!
Ive set the stage for the REAL problem with health insurance, and that is that the insurance concept, here, guarantees low quality care, and even more disease.
Medical costs are amongst the most rapidly rising of all costs. The government, and large companies, put tremendous pressure on doctors and the insurance companies to lower those costs. There is only one way that can be done -- rationed care no matter what you call it. One way or another, the insurance companies have to have a set of rules (acceptable diseases and approved treatments) as to what type of care will be insured. The decision is always made by some committee, and your own doctor has little to say in this decision.
You, of course, have no say!
Bureaucrats KNOW the costs are too high, but they cant figure out how to force them lower. So, they invent thousands of rules that limit the doctors choices. They rule that doctors treat certain diseases ONLY with certain approved procedures. However they do it, they invent thousands of rules which take the decision out of the doctors hands -- if the doctor wants to be paid by the insurance.
The doctors respond by figuring ways around the rules. One way around the rule is to give you lots of unnecessary lab tests, from a lab secretly owned by the doctor. There are as many ways around these rules as there are rules!
Fifty percent of all cardiac care is paid by Medicare! Medicare wont pay for any chelation therapy. Most cardiac care is a fraud -- including cholesterol lowering drugs, drugs for hypertension or heart surgery. Chelation therapy (not covered) is the one of the most effective medical treatments in history. You tell me that insurance coverage doesnt control what type of health care you can get in America!
So, the newer or the alternative type treatments dont get covered, and instead the insurance pays for bypass surgery and drugs.
The nation spends billions and billions on fraudulent medical services, covered by insurance, while good care, like vitamins or chelation therapy, doesnt get covered.
What happens? Society gets sicker! You are part of that society. Even when you know that chelation and vitamins are better than drugs and bypass, you might not have the money for the alternatives, so you go under the knife and swallow pills.
Costs Pushed Down
As governments try to push costs down, doctors look for ways, and patients look for ways, too, even illegal ways, to get more money. The doctors no longer get their money direct from the patient, so the doctor and the patient both have the same motivation to find ways to get more money out of the insurance companies -- both private and government.
The more our nation depends on health insurance, whether government or private, the sicker we will be!
Like all thieves, health-care crooks follow the money, and these days, the money is increasingly in private homes. Patient preferences, new technologies and a Medicare-mandated trend toward shorter hospital stays have created a booming $15 billion market in home-health-care services. More than 12,500 firms now provide some kind of home-care services, and the business is "attracting the sharks," says Kuriansky, [New Yorks special Medicaid-fraud prosecutor] -- in part because the market is relatively unregulated. "From an investigative standpoint," says Kuriansky, "its far harder to get at, because youre talking about finding out whats going on behind closed doors in hundreds of thousands of individual homes, where there may be no other witness than an incompetent, vulnerable elderly person."
In August, 1990, Kurianskys office settled one of the largest medical-fraud cases in recent times, against Professional Care Ins. of Plainview, N.Y. Professional Care and its top two officers paid a total of $5.2 million in restitution, fines and interest for Medicaid overcharges. In addition, PCI pleaded guilty to grand larceny and falsifying business records, while the two officers pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Working with an inside informant, Kuriansky charged that the company systematically overbillled the state over a four-year period for home health services rendered by untrained and unqualified workers, or in some cases, by no one at all.
At Least 10%
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report in 1992 saying that "fraud and abuse made up roughly 10% of the countrys annual $800 billion plus health tab.
That 10% is just the admitted fraudulent stuff! How valid is the other 90% of that health care bill. How much of the cost of bypass surgery is fraud?
YOU PAY FOR THAT! Whether you have private health insurance, or government health insurance, you are participating in a corrupt system that is draining the life from the nation, while guaranteeing that fraudulent treatments will continue -- while good treatments are lost or suppressed.
The drug companies, backed by insurance companies, are simply adding to the toxins in your body. It is TOXINS, not viruses, which are the number one cause of disease in America today! Many of those toxic drugs are popular only because the insurance pays for them. The government pays out billions for toxic drugs, while refusing to pay for vitamins.
Oh, what an evil system we have!
Am I advocating that you discontinue any private health insurance you have right now?
Is this too much to take in one Chapter of the Book?
How can I recover your faith in my viewpoint, now?
Let me start that recovery process by introducing a new concept.
Change is best introduced on a gradient. The cold turkey approach may work in some areas, but when it comes to changing from a medical health care system to the type of wellness philosophy presented in this Book, its generally not appropriate, or even possible, to change overnight.
If you have health insurance right now, I am not advocating that you get rid of it immediately. But, this Chapter of Four Roads To Ruin does suggest that we as a society would be far more healthy without health insurance, and that the great bulk of Americans would, also, be more healthy without health insurance.
Does this mean that each person would have to become responsible for his own health care costs?
Yes, indeed! The same logic would apply to personal retirement reserves.
Youd say, "why people just wouldnt save up enough money to take care of these things!", and you might be mostly right.
You see, the government has bypassed our individual responsibilities, for retirement, and for health, so that we are several generations into a era of taking no responsibility for our own future -- allowing the government to make slaves of us, saying that they, the government, will take care of us.
Youve been suckered into allowing the government to do it for you, given up your own responsibility to take care of yourself, and YOU ARE THE SICKER FOR IT!
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