A Monster Called Health Insurance...

Written by Sybele Capezzutti on . Posted in Sybele's Point Of View

Publisher’s Note:  Given that she is a trusted, regular contributor, I normally don’t offer a foreword to an article by Sybele Capezzutti; and I’m only writing this one as a sort of caveat.  This is a tad longer than her normal articles, and with good reason.

Sybele did a lot of homework and found out some things that a lot of people don’t know and probably wouldn’t take the time to find out about.  This is an excellent, readable, and very informative piece and I trust you’ll agree after reading.

So stop what you’re doing, pour a splash of your favorite adult beverage, and spend the next few minutes learning how the government and combined medical industries essentially did to modern medicine what Henry Ford did to the fledgling automotive industry of his day.   

Sybele Capezzutti:  Let’s talk Health Insurance..!

In 1850, the first U.S. insurance firm was founded.  It offered insurance against injuries received during an accident.  Hospital and medical expense insurance wasn’t introduced until the 1920’s; instead, individual hospitals (and in 1929, employers) offered pre-paid plans to help cover the cost of medical expenses. Employer (or union) sponsored health insurance became commonplace after World War II when it was offered as a benefit to compensate for limited wages, or as a recruiting tool in job categories with high demand and limited supply.

President Truman began throwing around the idea of a government sponsored health plan during this post-war period, however it wasn’t until 1965 that Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law.  In the 1970s, changes in the law allowed managed care through HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations).

But how exactly did the idea of health insurance come about..? I was curious so of course I had to research..! 

Americans did not spend much in healthcare in the early 1900’s.  Women had their babies at home, people ate healthier, and when they got old and sick they didn’t try to extend their lives.  Cancer wasn’t even a household name like today.

Before the birth of modern medicine, hospitals were poor houses where the indigent went to die.  Then came the discovery of effective medicines, especially antibiotics, along with a revolution in medical schools.

Suddenly, says economic historian Melissa Thomasson, "Hospitals are marketing themselves as places to have babies."

Health care became much more effective, and much more expensive.  Clean hospitals, educated doctors and real pharmacological research cost money.  People proved willing to pay for care when they were really sick, but it wasn't yet common to go for checkups or survivable illnesses.

By the late 1920s, hospitals noticed most of their beds were going empty every night and they wanted to get people who weren't deathly ill to start coming in.

An official at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas noticed that Americans, on average, were spending more on cosmetics than on medical care.  "We spend a dollar or so at a time for cosmetics and do not notice the high cost," he said, and continued, "The ribbon-counter clerk can pay 50 cents, 75 cents or $1 a month, yet it would take about 20 years to set aside (money for) a large hospital bill."

Then Baylor hospital started looking for a way to get regular folks in Dallas to pay for health care the same way they paid for lipstick — a tiny bit each month.  Hospital officials started small, offering a deal to a group of public school teachers in Dallas.  They offered a plan for the teachers to pay 50 cents each month in exchange for Baylor picking up the tab on hospital visits.

When the Great Depression hit, almost every hospital in the country saw its patient load disappear. The Baylor idea became hugely popular and it eventually got a name: Blue Cross.

Blue Cross eventually expanded through the entire Country, and then WWII happened.

"The war economy is an entirely different ballgame," Thomasson says. The government rationed goods even as factories ramped up production and needed to attract workers.  Factory owners needed a way to lure employees.  She explains that the owners turned to fringe benefits, offering more and more generous health plans.

Like any other business, healthcare cost grew with demand and now they didn’t have to lure customers anymore; the customers were begging for service.

Healthcare today is a 3 Trillion dollar industry, the fifth largest industry in the US.

Clearly, there is no interest in shrinking it, and an industry this powerful has the ability to decide exactly what your healthcare future will be, mainly when the law makers are not at all affected by its exorbitant prices and receive the best of care.

It is important to note that health care and the pharmaceutical industry go hand and hand and they feed off each other.  So how much is the pharmaceutical industry worth..?  Over 50 Billion dollars are spent annually on pharmaceuticals in the US.

Interestingly enough is that even though the amount spent on pharmaceuticals is much lower than the amount spent on healthcare, pharmaceuticals is one of the most important contributors to healthcare’s exorbitant cost.  Lobbyists pay our law makers so competition is not allowed in our faux free market so they can control their pricing; the definition of crony capitalism.

Another big contributor that no one ever talks about is our legal system.  Law suits are so common and profitable that the entire medical industry (doctors, labs, hospitals) have to spend small fortunes in liability insurance and attorney’s services just to stay in business, and that cost is passed on to you, the consumer. Some of those law suits wouldn’t exist if the pharmaceutical industry did not control our elected officials and the FDA, money talks and harmful medication walks..!

I know, this is getting too long..!  Let’s get to the Affordable Care Act, which by mandate forces everyone in the Country to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

Some will argue that the ACA has some redeeming qualities such as the elimination of pre-existing conditions and affordability for the lower income bracket, but at what cost..?  And were there better ways to solve the ever increasing health care costs..?

The reason I took the time to first go over how health insurance was created was so we could all ask ourselves a very important question…do we really need to use hospitals and doctors as much as we do..?

Are we making ourselves sick by not living a healthy life because we know we can always count on a pill to fix it..? 

While you think about that let’s see if the ACA solved the main problem – health care cost and accessibility.

Cost:  Health insurance today costs about 30% more than it did before the ACA was created as a result of eliminating the pre-existing condition, it is only affordable for the ones who qualify for subsidies or would be on Medicaid to begin with. 

In 2008, the average employer sponsored family plan cost a total of $12,680, with employees footing $3,354 of the bill, according to Kaiser Data.  By 2016, the cost of the average employer family plan was up to $18,142 for the year, with workers picking up $5,277 of the tab.  Deductibles also increased considerably, some as high as $10,000.

That’s around a 50% increase..!  Have your pay rates also increased by 50%..?  What about the company you work for; has it increased its revenue by 50%..?  If the answer to the first question is no, then you have less money for food, clothes and entertainment now than you had before. .If the answer to the second is also no, then the company will be looking into workforce reduction; thus, an anemic economic recovery.

Accessibility:  Most of the ACA enrollees would have qualified for Medicaid through their State; the ACA just gave them access to a federalized system, but unfortunately also reduced the Federal contribution to the States, meaning that some people fell into a gap where they neither qualify for State or Federal Assistance.

They are uninsured today.  Oh…but the “evil” rich people are now paying more; the sweet taste of revenge..! Well, that really didn’t hurt them at all, but you know who really got hurt..?  The ones who were not poor enough for Medicaid or rich enough to not care..!

Entrepreneurs in particular..! They had to curb their daring spirits and get a job that offered health insurance instead of starting the new Apple in their garage because they can’t afford to pay for insurance or the penalty. Again, reflecting on the economy.

So, after billions of dollars spent by the Federal Government we still have people who are uninsured, people who can’t afford to pay for Insulin, people who can’t afford to pay for their Chemo treatment and thousands of GoFundMe pages asking for help to pay for their medical treatment.

The undeniable truth is that the ACA’s main goal was not to provide health insurance affordably.  It was created and put together by lobbyists for the hospitals and pharmaceutical industry exactly the same way the first health insurance was created….and with only one purpose in mind: to make sure they, not you, profited from it.

What better guarantee that you will pay for it than a government mandate that is enforced by the IRS..?

So what is the solution..?

Certainly not the bill introduced by the Republicans this week..! It does nothing to fix the rising costs of healthcare, but that’s another article, one I will work on once we see how they and President Trump will react to our displeasure with the plan they’ve presented.

Unfortunately, we’ are so conditioned to the idea of having health insurance that our choices are limited at this point.  Most people would rather take a pill to “fix” their ailment than live a healthier life, delivering a baby at home is not even a passing thought anymore and our diets lack the proper nutrition to prevent simple diseases.

We have forgotten what it is like to have a family doctor that you pay cash for, a doctor that knows you, your parents, your kids, your entire medical history, and can take care of you better than the ER doctor after putting you through 25 different exams because he is so afraid of a law suit that he won’t even touch you.

 

But we can at least try to free ourselves from the chains of the greedy pharmaceutical industry disguised as government controlled healthcare by demanding the return to true capitalism instead of cronyism and make the monsters fight against each other for our business instead of handing it on a silver platter through a government mandate. 

 

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Becoming An American The Old Fashioned Way...

Written by Sybele Capezzutti on . Posted in Sybele's Point Of View

I came to America when I was 20 years old, legally.

Not because life didn't offer any opportunities where I grew up; in fact, I would probably have had a much easier life there due to who my father was. And I could have chosen any Country in Europe as my new home also because of my Italian Citizenship, but I chose the US because of what it represented in terms of freedom.

I didn't want to be my father's shadow, I wanted to achieve things on my own and I knew I could do it here. 

I also saw the government at the time as being more honest, at least more than most Countries, and that mattered to me.

The legal process was lengthy and expensive, but it gave me even more appreciation for the privilege of becoming an American Citizen. So no, I do not support open borders and the let's just take anyone in ideology...what is freely given isn't appreciated.

My English was limited but within 6 months I was fluent and kept working to improve; and why?  Because no one around me spoke anything but English, which I expected and had no problem adapting to since it was my choice to move to a foreign Country.

So no, I do not support schools, public establishments, or businesses having to offer options in languages, that's why there are people that have been here for 20 years and still can't make a full sentence in English, it’s pathetic..!

Boy, how things have changed..!  And for the worse, not better.

How can you call progress an ideology that is turning this country into the disorganized, chaotic, politically corrupt, inefficient, bankrupt system applied in every 3rd world country I've ever been to..?!

We can blame the media all day long, but the truth is that the real blame lies with the people who make no effort to think for themselves and embrace the path of victimization because it's much easier to blame your surroundings than search for the blame within.

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Forty Amazing Days

Written by Sybele Capezzutti on . Posted in Sybele's Point Of View

Make no mistake, all the controversy being created around Pres Trump's appointments is just a way to delay his 100 day plan.

Notice how some dems are already saying that he has been in office for 40 days and has nothing to show.

Of course they are forgetting that when you point a finger at someone there are 4 pointing back at yourself. What have they done (on both sides) for the last 8 years?  Heck, for some of them we can ask what have they done for the last 30 years?!

But has Pres Trump really done nothing during his first 40 days?  Nothing could be farthest from the truth..!

Here's a list of what has already been delivered:

-Cancelled TPP

-Convinced Ford, Chrysler and Carrier to expand business in the US.

-Blocked the penalty fee for lack of health insurance.

-Approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines.

-Approved the construction of the border wall.

-Appointed Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

-Consumer confidence is up and the stock market is reacting positively. 

-Had Saudi Arabia agree with helping form safe areas for refugees in the Middle East.

-Met with Netanyahu and renewed America's support to Israel.

-Talked to 30 heads of State about the war in the Middle East and how to defeat ISIS.

-Created a 5 year ban on WH officials from lobbying.

-Started the removal of illegals with criminal offenses.

-Signed into law two bills that aim to encourage women to pursue careers in science and technology.

-Held a meeting with top business leaders.

-Held a meeting with Union leaders.

-Held a meeting with Black Historic Colleges leaders.

Obamacare and tax reform depend on the numb nuts in Congress to stop fiddling around and come together to get things done, but it seems like most of them have their tails compromised with interest groups and are unable to put the people who voted for them ahead of their selfish needs, so it might take a while or a good scolding from We the People.

My memory is not what it used to be, but I don't remember any President in the last 25 years having accomplished this much in just 40 days, even with all the resistance and constant criticism, the man has not stopped working.

And some people have accused him of being thin skinned?

If his skin was any thicker he would be an alligator..!

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The Cult Called Progressive Leftism

Written by Sybele Capezzutti on . Posted in Sybele's Point Of View

The progressive left only exists to further globalism, it falsely proclaims to defend the interest of minorities and the less fortunate.

Is this statement just my opinion?

In a way yes, but this opinion is the result of some hard observation.  One would think that Countries that have very little in common in terms of culture and demographics require political activism tailored to their needs.

The population of Brazil, Sweden, Germany, England, and the US are very different. Their economy is different, their culture is different.

But one thing is exactly the same....the progressive left.  Exactly the same agenda regardless of demographics, how is that possible?

Some will say that some basic principles apply everywhere, which is true.  But some don't.  In Brazil 43% of the population is multi- racial; not a place where people care what color you are, yet the progressive left insists that they are racists.  In Sweden and Germany they are already socialists so the progressive left now wants them to spread the wealth across the world and keep inviting foreigners into their robust welfare system. How does that benefit their own citizens?  Answer, it doesn't. 

The undeniable fact, if you take the time to observe different cultures and their politics, is that the progressive left carries an agenda that does nothing to benefit the citizens of the countries in which they operate.  They have a fail proof strategy that is easily applied to any country with any demographic...use compassion and kindness as a tool to convince people to give up their own prosperity, identity and safety, making them less self-sufficient more vulnerable and more dependent on the government.

A world without borders is the ultimate goal of the progressive left, one that can only be achieved if the identity of every culture is erased.  Definitely not an agenda that has each individual in mind; the biggest scam in world history!

It is amazing what one can convince people to do by using compassion as the logical argument.  To me the progressive left uses the Cult Evangelist technique; tell them that to go to heaven they need to give up all that is important to them and give it to the pastor, the pastor will then bless them and they will reap the benefits after they die while the pastor lives a life of luxury right here in front of their noses and they never, ever, question his intentions..!

Think about that..!

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Outrageous Outrage Over Gen. Flynn

Written by Sybele Capezzutti on . Posted in Sybele's Point Of View

To everyone outraged with General Flynn...spare me!

Where was your outrage when Americans died in Benghazi as the result of a bad gun deal and Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Obama all lied that the attack was the result of a ridiculous video?

Where was your outrage when Obama was caught on a hot mic saying that “after the elections he would have more flexibility” to the then Russian President?

Where was your outrage when 400 million dollars in cash was sent to Iran in the middle of the night without Congress knowing about it?

Where was your outrage when Hillary made a deal with Russia selling 20% of our uranium production after her husband was paid half a million dollars to speak in Russia?

Where was your outrage when prisoners released from GITMO returned to the battle field to kill Americans?

Where was your outrage when leaked emails showed that Hillary was working on an oil deal for a friend in Libya so Qaddafi had to be killed for that to happen? This one didn't even make the news, I might have been one of the few people who took the time to search through the emails and found this little pearl.

We had the most treasonous administration ever for 8 years and the media was complicit by either hiding or minimizing the gravity of the facts.

So please take your selective outrage and.... you know what to do.

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