TrumpCareonald — still in Manhattan, and still largely ignorant of the nasty critters and perverse ecosystem on the banks of the Potomac — is catching whiffs of swamp gas.  Talking to the New York Post, the president-elect said he expected to repeal Obamacare ‘sometime next week.  Its replacement, he said, would come ‘very shortly thereafter.’  In the business world, you can get things done like that. But in the world of the Deep State, it won’t happen.

America’s health care system is bread, butter, meat, potatoes…and Dom Pérignon with caviar…to a substantial and growing part of the elite.

Here’s why…

When we were growing up, we had no health insurance. When we had to go to the doctor — which was rare — we paid the bill in cash. (When we needed an operation in 1961, we negotiated with the hospital and the surgeon to pay in instalments.)

Back then, the total yearly cost of healthcare ran about $600 per family of four. Last year, it was more than $40,000.

By comparison, a basic Ford F-150 pickup truck cost about $4,000 in 1961. Today, it costs about $27,000.

Today’s pickup truck and today’s healthcare are probably better than they were in 1961. But how come the former is only seven times more expensive…while the latter is 66 times pricier?

The answer is simple: The feds — with their zombie-crony allies — are far more active in healthcare than they are in the auto industry.

The auto industry is lean, global, and competitive; the healthcare industry is fat, domestic, and heavily controlled to avoid price competition.

Through regulation, paperwork, third-party payment systems, lawyers, licensing, tax incentives, subsidies, and crony deals with insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, the feds have created a glutton that now devours more than 17% of national GDP — up from just 5% in 1961.

That represents $36 trillion in excess spending over the last 55 years. And it’s a large part of the reason federal debt is slated to go from $20 trillion this month to $30 trillion a decade from now.

Middlemen and parasites

Another softball question: What happens to the money?

Little of the extra spending pays for better healthcare. Instead, it goes to middlemen and parasites, the cronies in the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance-legal complex.

In Baltimore, for example, billboards invite people to imagine they have been victims of medical malpractice — a jackpot for the law firm, if not for the victim.

TV ads offer myriad new drugs, available at someone else’s expense. Even though the lifestyle habits of much of the Baltimore population are so bad, offering ‘health insurance’ to them is like offering fire insurance in Atlanta just as General Sherman marched into town.

Mr Trump and the Republican Party say they will provide a ‘better deal’ for Americans.

But how?

Any cut to healthcare must come out of the pockets of the elite who run the system. They’ll fight hard — in the media, in Congress…and in the swamp — to protect their gains.

And that’s just the beginning of the problem. Obamacare has enrolled 20 million new people, lowering the uninsured rate to 9% from 16%. The newly insured, too, will fight to protect their benefits.

Solemn lies

The same phenomenon is at work in France.

The Financial Times reports that the frontrunner in the country’s presidential election this year, François Fillon, has touched the dangerous ‘third rail’ of French politics.

He dared to suggest reforming French health insurance — or Sécu — to cut costs.

The idea set off such political blowback that Fillon was forced to retreat. He promised he would never dare to privatise the French healthcare system…not even a little of it.

No matter where you are, it’s hard to renege on solemn lies. And once underway, some things — war, empire, fake money, and real love — are almost impossible to back away from.


Bill Bonner,
For The Daily Reckoning, Australia

  • LM

    Blowhard Bonner gets numbers and the setting right but the simple cause of spending 17% of GDP on “health” care (I think it’s 20%) is because the citizens agree/tolerate paying so much….. directly or indirectly (third party payer systems)….. individually and collectively, in some combination. Because ‘most all of us want to get the latest, most advanced $200,000 surgery or $300,000 radiation/quimo and rehabs when needed (even if our own behavior caused the dire need). It’s marvelous! Same as paying $13,000 for a Super Bowl ticket between the 40 yard lines (take the whole family). It’s demand, Bonner, aka willingness to pay. Even better if you snagged a good third party payer (preferably not anyone you like, such as the government or your employer). Real reform would be to trash the concept of third party payer and government insurance. Nevah, happen, man.

  • The plan of repealing it without a new scheme in place will cause Trump to be a one term POTUS because every argument since 2010 will be utilized by the DEMS whining about Health Care. If it makes no difference what a procedure costs because it has no impact on the patient, then healthcare costs will never go down, only up. The problem with any socialized medicine is that quantity is emphasized over quality. Same problem the V. A. is having. The other problem is that the private sector cannot provide low cost with the stipulation of pre-existing conditions and the idiocy of keeping 26 years babies on their parent’s policies. Not insurance.

  • Health Care: Dismantling the Affordable Care Act

    Mr. Trump takes office grasping a lightning rod of American domestic policy—health care. His party has already begun on the repeal, and potential replacement, of Barack Obama ’s signature health-care law, but the task of reworking a sweeping social program six years into its lifespan is proving messy.

    Republicans, including Mr. Trump, have put forward various ideas to serve as alternatives to the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which extended insurance to millions of Americans but also triggered criticism over rising premiums for some users and insurer withdrawals from the individual market.

    The party has yet to unify behind a single plan, and it remains unclear how much influence will be exerted by Mr. Trump and his administration and how much they will leave to four congressional committees and other groups of interested lawmakers to hash out in the House and Senate.

    Ultimately, that decision comes down to several threshold questions including how much turbulence Mr. Trump is willing to endure to remake health care along GOP lines, and how closely Republicans can work with Democrats to pass alternative legislation.

    Mr. Trump personally favors allowing people who buy insurance on their own to fully deduct premiums on their tax returns, and he also wants people in one state to be able to buy coverage from an insurer in another. His transition team includes members known for their willingness to take bold steps, which could include executive action to force lawmakers to act.

    On some health-care matters, however, Mr. Trump differs from conservative orthodoxy. He has repeatedly criticized drug makers, indicating he would like to ease rising pharmaceutical prices by allowing consumers access to medications from overseas or giving the government a greater role in negotiating drug purchases for Medicare.

    —Louise Radnofsky