Socialized Medicine Goes by Many Names: Budget Buster is But One

DocsMeanMembers of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans — are being asked if various health care proposals they support provide so-called “universal coverage.” Socialized medicine goes by many names: Universal Coverage, Coverage-for-All, Medicare-for-All, Medicaid Expansion and Single-Payer are ones you’ve probably heard of. Perhaps you don’t really understand what all these altruistic-sounding phrases imply. Here’s a dirty little secret: you’re not supposed to know. The average American with good employee health insurance already pays for coverage (albeit indirectly) in addition to a Social Security payroll tax surpassing 15 percent. Most Americans would balk once they discovered the ugly truth: universal coverage requires a near doubling of payroll taxes. A case in point is California, New York State, Vermont and Colorado.

A bill to establish a government-run universal coverage recently passed the Senate Health Committee in the People’s Republic of California. Although it’s unlikely to be signed into law, the proposal would insure everyone living in California, including illegal immigrants. As always, the main obstacle is how to pay for such a costly entitlement. An analysis released earlier this week found California’s universal coverage initiative would cost about $400 billion annually.

What is even more ludicrous is the analysis assumes the state would continue to have at its disposal about $200 billion in federal, state and local funds currently used for public health care. California officials also assume they could retain the $100 to $150 billion employers already spend on employee coverage. This suggests the state would still have to raise taxes to come up with an additional $50 billion to $100 billion (and probably a whole lot more). Stated another way, the California proposal would more than double California’s state health care budget. California taxes are already among the highest in the country and the state is already in financial peril from too much spending.

New York State also is also exploring a universal coverage proposal. According to a recent estimate, the Empire State universal coverage would cost $91 billion a year, about 14 percent more than the entire New York State budget. New York State’s taxes are also high, suggesting residents would be in line for a doubling of their tax burden.

These liberal states should know better. Every other initiative has crashed on the hard rocks of financial reality. In 2011, the Vermont legislature passed a bill to create a single-payer universal health insurer. The Green Mountain Care plan was abandoned several years later by Vermont’s Democrat governor when it became clear it was too costly. Green Mountain Care was going to require an 11.5 percent payroll tax and an additional sliding-scale income tax that topped out at 9.5 percent. Despite the heavy tax burden, a single-payer system in Vermont was projected to go bankrupt by 2019.

A failed ballot initiative in Colorado was also intended to create a taxpayer-funded single-payer health insurer. ColoradoCare would have replaced most forms of private health insurance and covered nearly all state residents, including Medicaid enrollees. Funding was to come from a 10 percent tax on both wage and nonwage income.

ColoradoCare was projected to operate in the red the very first year of operation, with increasing deficits in the following years. An analysis by the Colorado Health Institute found the supposed “savings” from lower overhead, less administrative costs, lower hospital fees would about equal the new expenses. The new expenses would come from covering the uninsured and higher utilization by people whose taxpayer-funded care would be nearly free at the point of service. In other words, the advantages from a single-payer program in Colorado were estimated to be a big, fat, goose egg. Voters ultimately rejected ColoradoCare in 2016 due to its high cost.

Most Americans who claim to favor universal health coverage do not really understand how these programs work. Scarce resources must always be paid for and rationed in some manner.  Taxes have to rise and access to care fall in order to save enough money to expand coverage at taxpayers’ expense. Economic constraints requires provider fees to be set low — causing that a number of providers to exit the market. This creates a shortage of service providers resulting in a type of rationing by waiting. Some services or treatments may take months to receive.

Don’t forget the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. It should not surprise anyone that universal coverage systems are bureaucratic and use rationing. The bottom line is most Americans (including Medicare enrollees) would not support a system of universal coverage if it means higher taxes and longer waits for services. Absent any of these preconditions, a universal coverage healthcare system would cost far more than the current system.

Comments (47)

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  1. Ron Greiner says:

    Devon, California and New York are in huge trouble because of pensions. If you can’t survive you might as well go out in a blaze of Socialized Medicine glory.

    The Pension Crisis is serious and is the catalyst that will bring everything down. Nearly 600 State & Local governments are now in the hole and has reached nearly $1.2 trillion of unfunded pension liabilities in FY 2014. This reflects total pension liabilities of $4.798 trillion and total pension assets (or fiduciary net position) of $3.607 trillion. This staggering number is nearly 25% of the annual GDP and accounts for roughly 97% of all public pension funds in the United States. California is raising taxes to cover the short-fall for now, but this is going nowhere fast. Government pensions are what destroyed the Roman Empire and history is going to repeat.

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/pension-crisis/us-pension-crisis-picking-up-full-speed/

    After the revolution we should make it against the law to vote for a Democrat. Lets put it right in the new Constitution. President Obama LIED when he said that health insurance premiums would go down by $2,500 per family. These DC politicians just LIE to us.

    U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) also released a statement.

    “Obamacare damaged Alabama more than any other state in America,” he said. “In Alabama, health insurance cost increased a staggering and obscene 223%. That is not a ‘first’ Alabama citizens want or can afford. Alabama’s skyrocketing health insurance cost increases severely undermine the ability of Alabama citizens to access healthcare and take care of their own families.”

    Blue Cross enjoys a MONOPOLY of 96% in Alabama. I pledge allegiance to the United States of Blue Cross. They own this country. If we did have single payer, it would be Blue Cross.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    “…California and New York are in huge trouble because of pensions. If you can’t survive you might as well go out in a blaze of Socialized Medicine glory.

    Ron you have summarized their logic perfectly!

    • Ron Greiner says:

      The Chicago Democrats are just raising taxes:

      SB 9 does the following:

      Hikes personal and corporate income taxes by $5 billion. The personal income tax rate increases to 4.95 percent from the current 3.75 percent rate. The corporate income tax rate rises to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.
      Expands the sales tax to laundry and dry-cleaning services, as well as storage and other services to bring in $55 million.

      Raises $54 million in cable and satellite TV taxes.
      Closes corporate loopholes worth $125 million.
      The total $5.4 billion tax hike means each Illinois household will eventually have to pay $1,125 in additional taxes annually.

      Under the Democrats’ plan, new taxes will apply to many services previously untaxed. And because the Senate has failed to pass a property tax reform package, Illinoisans will continue to see their property taxes – the nation’s highest – go up even more.

      Democrats – there is no cure!

  3. Lee Benham says:

    Devon stop educating New York and California. Tell them they will save millions. That’s what they won’t to hear. Tell them It will help them in their efforts to succeed . It will pass for sure then 😜

  4. Paul Nelson says:

    Clearly, the unfunded liability of our nation’s government at all levels is the true elephant in the closet of our nation’s future survival. As a starter, we must have a national “buy-in” to reduce healthcare spending from >18% of the GDP to <13% within 10 years. The underlying doubling of our medicare eligible population between 2000 and 2030 will require its profound recognition as we resolve the Paradigm Paralysis gripping our nation's healthcare. A single payer with draconian rationing may be necessary.
    .
    In the meantime, I would propose that solving the social determinants that originate within each community will need a locally driven problem-solving (aka "Community Thrust") process, community by community. The Design Principles for managing a "commons" should apply. We have solved the scientific MANDATE for reducing Unstable HEALTH, and now we need to solve its HUMANITARIAN mandate. It would require less than $1.50 dollars annually per citizen. A Federally Chartered, semi-autonomous institution could be up and running within six months.
    .
    See http://www.nationalhealthusa.net/epilogue/appendix-iii-initial-strategic-development-plan/

  5. Don Levit says:

    Single payer could work if CA acted like one huge self funded employer

  6. Ron Greiner says:

    NCPA Medicaid Scam Alert:

    Molina, based in Long Beach, Calif., posted $17.8 billion in annual revenue last year.

    Molina made news earlier this month with the surprise firing of its top two executives, who are sons of the company’s founder. Both CEO J. Mario Molina and his brother, finance chief John Molina, were ousted.

    Molina Healthcare, a major insurer in Medicaid and state exchanges across the country, has shut down its online patient portal as it investigates a potential data breach that may have exposed sensitive medical information.

    The company said Friday that it closed the online portal for medical claims and other customer information while it examined a “security vulnerability.”

    Until recently, Krebs said, Molina “was exposing countless patient medical claims to the entire internet without requiring any authentication.”

    Krebs said the information he saw online included patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth and information on their medical procedures and medications.

    “It’s unconscionable that such a basic, security 101 flaw could still exist at a major health care provider,” Krebs said. “This information is more sensitive than credit card data, but it seems less protected.”

    FEDERAL LAW VIOLATION – fine them into the stone age.

    Health care companies, hospitals and other providers must report data breaches to U.S. officials. Molina emphasized that it was still investigating the matter so [[had not yet reported it]]. Federal regulators can levy significant fines for violations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA.

    http://khn.org/news/molina-healthcare-a-top-obamacare-insurer-investigates-breach-of-patients-data/

    The Molina Bros BUSTED!

  7. Barry Carol says:

    One positive consequence from the single payer proposals, especially in CA and NY, is that many millions of people will get a better understanding of what this approach will cost and they won’t like it.

    Despite what Ron says about people with employer coverage losing that coverage when they get too sick to work, I don’t think there are very many people who currently have comprehensive health insurance, especially family coverage, from a large self-funded corporate employer, a public sector employer or a union plan that would trade that coverage for the equivalent of Medicare or Medicaid financed by tax dollars. Those with small group coverage and the currently uninsured might have a different view but they’re a distinct minority of the population at this point.

    The CA proposal is a pipe dream in my opinion and will never pass, in part, because their income tax structure is already highly progressive with a 13% top marginal rate. Utilization will also increase significantly if there is no cash due at the point of service and the proposed plan even covers illegal immigrants and long term custodial care. It’s nuts.

  8. Camille - ByrdAdatto Health Care Lawyers says:

    “One positive consequence from the single payer proposals, especially in CA and NY, is that many millions of people will get a better understanding of what this approach will cost and they won’t like it.”

    Very true, Barry. Seeing is believing! Let other states learn from the downward spiral of their example.

    http://www.byrdadatto.com/practice-areas/health-care-law/

  9. Don Levit says:

    I read recently that one third of CA residents are on Medicaid
    If close to being accurate, this is alarming

  10. Ron Greiner says:

    Missouri Madness: Blue Cross of KC left 25 counties in West Missouri without an insurance company in 2018. Now the Misseryonians are sweating bullets that Anthem Blue Cross will throw in the towel and leave the Eastern part of the State with no insurance company.

    –A lively debate about healthcare and the push and pull between the federal and state legislatures marked the annual Eggs and Issues breakfast with area lawmakers and their representatives, hosted Friday by the Monett Chamber of Commerce at the Monett Museum.

    An exchange between State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, and David Stokely, representing U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, each saying, “You guys need to fix some stuff,” reflected the differences in opinion and approaches to financial problems.

    Much of the exchange with the audience focused on healthcare reform. With Anthem (Blue Cross) considering withdrawing from the healthcare exchange in Missouri in 2018, choices will become very limited, especially impacting rural areas.

    Stokely noted the national debate largely mirrored the differences of opinion at the speaker’s table.

    “Senator McCaskill knew Obamacare was not perfect from the beginning,” Stokely said. “It’s been a patchwork of successes and failures, and much more of a success than some at this table would have you believe. [[We can all agree we’re not there yet]].”

    “It never seems like the government gets involved and the cost goes down,” said Cannon, who has spent years working on budget details.

    “These are interesting times we find ourselves in,” Stokely said. “If ever there was an important time, in state or federal government, we want you to know who we are and how to get ahold of us. We want to be accessible. We need to hear from everybody.”

    http://www.monett-times.com/story/2415851.html

    Senator McCaskill (D-MO) voted for Obamacare and her people say, ” much more of a success than some at this table would have you believe.” We are all so lucky that McCaskill is up for re-election in 2018. Can you imagine how goofy she will look if she votes against Obamacare Replacement?

    In Iowa we say if you move the lower counties of Iowa into Missouri you will double the IQ of both States.

    • Ron Greiner says:

      Stupid, lazy, fat-ass Republicans, I swear. If you read that MO story it’s about Democrat Senator McCaskill and Republican U.S. Rep. Billy Long, the renegade who is so stupid he talks out of both sides of his mouth. 1st, if Anthem Blue Cross bails in Eastern MO then only St. Louis County will have an insurance company, CIGNA, unless they bail too in the next 20 days. This FRUITCAKE Republican Long voted against Obamacare Replacement!!

      Republican Long is really-really fat so he personally doesn’t like being DECLINED by medical underwriting so he votes for Obamacare. What a jerk. Long think if their is ONE insurance company in ONE county in the State of Missouri he will proudly stand with Obama and the nightmare of Obamacare.

      BUT, Billy Long’s guy says,”Heisten wondered if there was enough energy and resources to tackle both the cost of healthcare and the cost of insurance at the same time. Some simple things could help. He noted a recent regulation change declared short-term insurance could only be two months long, or one year long. At one agency, clients were changing their insurance every two months, starting the deductible over each time, a nightmare that could be easily resolved.”

      1st. he should have said, UNCONSTITUTIONAL BAN on STM. 2nd, it’s no more than 90 days and not 60 days, geez. 3rd, in MO the maximum is 6 months for STM and not 1 year like this UNINFORMED Republican says.

      Like LEE says, “If they lift the ban on STM then Anthem Blue Cross will leave 14 States.” This is Trump wheelin’ and dealin’ and his art of the deal.

      We live in a world of FRUITCAKES!

      U.S. Republican Rep. Billy Long – Y R U FAT?

  11. Ron Greiner says:

    The federal government – and many state and local governments – appear to be self-destructing in grand fashion. Federal agencies and politicians are stabbing each other and the President in the back at a clip last witnessed in Moscow during the twilight of the Soviet Union.

    Should we be surprised? Maybe this is the way things always were; only now they’ve been ratcheted up several notches. For instance, two generations ago Nixon era Treasury Secretary William Simon let the cat out of the bag:

    “One of the things I learned during my tenure in Washington is that the civic book picture of government in operation is completely inaccurate. The idea that our elected officials take part in a careful decision-making process—monitoring events, reviewing options, responsibly selecting policies—has almost no connection with reality.

    “A more accurate image would be that of a runaway train with the throttle stuck wide open—while the passengers and crew are living it up in the dining car.”

    These days, however, the runaway train is one ridge turn from jumping the tracks.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-26/war-workers-phase-ii-truth-has-become-liability

  12. Ron Greiner says:

    The States in trouble:

    NEVADA
    ILLINOIS
    CALIFORNIA
    NEW JERSEY
    WASHINGTON
    NEW MEXICO
    OHIO
    KENTUCKY
    TEXAS
    MISSOURI
    OREGON
    GEORGIA
    MISSISSIPPI
    MONTANA
    LOUISIANA
    COLORADO
    SOUTH DAKOTA
    UTAH
    ALASKA
    IDAHO
    ARIZONA
    ALABAMA
    HAWAII
    PENNSYLVANIA
    WISCONSIN

  13. Ron Greiner says:

    M. Armstrong: Once the muni bond bubble bursts, there will be a contagion so even the ones that are not yet insolvent will tip over.

    In the States, sell California and New England. The higher the tax rate, the deeper their debt will fall. Connecticut, for example, is hopeless as is New Jersey, New York, and just about all New England States. I was flying home from Hong Kong and upon landing in Newark, the next leg was back to Florida. I sat next to a woman from Connecticut who was going to visit her brother. She had a 1950s house 1600 square feet with taxes over $8,000 and could no longer afford to stay there for retirement. She was leaving as most people these days in what I call the Great Migration.
    Connecticut’s general-obligation bonds are in deep trouble. The state’s tax collections are collapsing as people are getting out of town. Their debt is being downgraded and a $2.3 billion budget deficit is beyond hope. Tax receipts for the current fiscal year ending in June will be about $451 million short of estimates. Here too, it is the government employee pensions that are blowing everything apart at the seams. Public employees at least agreed to accept a 3-year wage freeze and to contribute more for their pension and health-care benefits under a tentative deal that would save more than $1.5 billion over the next two years. But that is just not enough.

    The taxation has never been ending. Hedge fund managers are permanently relocating to Florida have been leaving New Jersey and Connecticut. When you count on taxing the rich, then one man can move out of and put the entire state budget at risk. Taxing the rich has its limits.

    The motto of make the rich pay doesn’t work when the rich pick up and leave. You do not want to be the one still sitting. This game works opposite of the musical chairs game as a kid. This time, the one still sitting will have to pay the taxes for everyone who left. Then they will be unable to sell their house and leave because nobody wants to buy it because of the taxes.

  14. Barry Carol says:

    “Taxing the rich has its limits.”

    Amen! I’ve been saying that for years.

    It usually takes a crisis to begin to address the problem. The recent labor agreement in CT is at least a start.

  15. Allan says:

    Ron, you and anyone else especially Derek might be interested in this talk by Jeff Atwater. He demonstrates what has happened to the various state economies both before, during and after the crash. This video tells you why Florida is not on Ron’s list. In fact Florida was the only state not to increase taxes or increase debt. On the second slide he demonstrates what happened to credit ratings. Florida despite being one of the hardest hit states ended up with a credit rating of AAA while Illinois and New Jersey ended up with a single digit A. Look at the amounts of debt and per capita debt.

    I’m from Florida though I have a secondary location elsewhere whose residency I left years ago. Another vociferous voice is from NJ. Both of us have very different views regarding fiscal responsibility and note the outcomes of our respective states. Florida is the best credit risk and the other is one of two with the worst credit risk.

    This is a fascinating series of slides. The proof is right there before our noses. He points out that NY State could save $1.3 Billion if it had the same credit rating as Florida in just interest expense!

    Loads of interesting stuff I haven’t mentioned. Actual data starts around 3:30

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xgiii_nCE0&index=1&list=PL8NJkhLZOuT9dNYGxj_PrQRqeHM9HGjUN

  16. Ron Greiner says:

    Allan, good video. Socialism can take an oil rich State like Venezuela and reduce it to where the citizens are eating out of garbage cans. Florida isn’t an oil State but we have more than palm trees and tiki bars, we have FREEDOM.

    People from all over the world dream of moving to Florida with NO State Income Tax. How do they do it?

    • Barry Carol says:

      FL’s big industries are agriculture and tourism plus some trade and financial services business in the Miami area. Older folks moving there from the north are looking to escape cold winters and reduce their tax burden. Manufacturing is insignificant by comparison. I don’t see many young and middle age people moving there for economic opportunity.

      As for differences in state debt and unfunded pension liabilities, the biggest factor, in my opinion, is that public sector unions are weak or non-existent in the south and very strong in the North, Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.

      Republicans governors were elected in NJ (Christie), MA (Baker) and IL (Rauner) but have been unable to make much headway on pension and retiree health insurance reform or scaling back public sector wages and benefits because they have large Democrat majorities in their state legislatures. Fixing these problems is a mighty heavy lift in the absence of a crisis.

      • Allan says:

        All I hear are excuses. NJ has a lot going for it including ports close to NYC and connections to NYC’s financial and other markets with transportation to and from NYC. But, with all its advantages it was one of the two states with a single A rating and a huge amount of debt.

        You make it seem as if Florida has nothing but tourism and a smattering of other things, but like with everything else you are wrong.

        Think of aerospace and aviation, a large number of biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, one of the top ten states in manufacturing companies, an exporter that produces cash for the US as opposed to debt, and when you ask where the beef is a lot of the beef consumed in the US and elsewhere is Florida beef. … and for all you Liberals out there we have DisneyWorld where your dreams actually can be a reality without stealing money from the taxpayer.

        • Ron Greiner says:

          Allan, Florida protects the world. The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense.

          CENTCOM’s main headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida.

          The big question is: If you are using your tax-free HSA to buy real estate in the State that you want to retire in someday you have a choice. You can purchase over-priced CA property and end up in extremely high taxes in retirement OR buy really inexpensive Florida real estate and retire someday to a paradise with no State income tax like Florida. It’s like an IQ test.

          After 65-years of age you can purchase Florida boats with your HSA balance and there isn’t even a penalty.

          As far as tourism goes it is almost CHILD ABUSE taking your children to Disneyland in CA. Nobody wants to find their 5-year-old crying in the middle of the night worried about how to survive the CA earthquake that is way past due. These kids are really smart and parents shouldn’t scare them by going to CA. It is just better to take the kids to Disneyland in Florida where everybody knows they will be safe.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg-zwba7l5w

        • Barry Carol says:

          Just to be clear, the MacDill Air Force Base employs 15,000 people and the JFK Space Center employs about 13,000 neither of which are huge numbers for a state that ranks number three in population with over 20 million people.

          I should have added in my earlier comment that FL’s third big industry is real estate construction which is needed to support a continuing stream of retirees moving down there. It also has the education and healthcare industries that account for lots of employment everywhere.

          Each state has two or three major industries that drive its economy. NJ had a lot of manufacturing historically but many of those jobs have been lost to both automation and globalization over the years. The telecom, drug and chemical industries are big here. Glass containing making, once pretty big, has largely disappeared almost everywhere as aluminum and plastic containers gained favor.

          Interestingly, NYC is thriving despite high taxes and heavy regulation while Upstate NY is struggling despite lower local taxes and MUCH lower housing costs. Reason: loss of manufacturing jobs.

          In CA, SF and the Silicon Valley area are both thriving despite heavy regulation and very high top marginal state income tax rates yet the Inland Empire is struggling. Both high tech and financial services can take a lot of government abuse and still thrive. Other industries can’t.

          In Rhode Island, under the leadership of Governor Gina Raimondo, the former state treasurer, pension reforms cut RI’s unfunded pension liability by 50% yet the state is still struggling economically. Reason: the loss of manufacturing jobs that aren’t coming back.

          Republicans grossly overestimate the ability of low(er) taxes to stimulate economic activity and create jobs. Just ask the governor of Kansas. It would be much more productive to try to reduce or at least streamline and simplify regulations that affect business. Fortunately, the Trump administration is trying to do a lot of that and it will probably be very helpful even if its tax reform efforts go nowhere.

          • Allan says:

            “but many of those jobs have been lost to both automation”

            One can blame some of the problems on automation, but a lot of the problems come from big government that creates high taxes, tremendous regulation and debt. New Jersey is an example of all three and has a single A rating shared only with Illinois. Need I say more?

          • Allan says:

            I wonder how correct your number is regarding aerospace/ aviation. I think Florida has a couple of thousand companies in the industry ~1/4 of which are specifically aerospace and has more defense bases and specialized air bases than just MacDill air base. They are littered all over the state and include Eglin AFB, Patrick AFB and others. There is a lot of employment due to aerospace, aviation and military bases. At present all of these are growing, not shrinking, because of high costs that makes industry leave states such as New Jersey.

            Florida is a major hub to South America. We have had disputes over increasing the rails heading north promising increased commuter lines that do not seem to me to geared for commuters since once one reaches their destination one needs a car. High speed trains depend upon very dense populations. Even though this is not being stated I think these lines are for commercial use in the future for Miami connects to South America and has good harbors. So does Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach. I think this may be a boom making Miami a much more important center of trade and the extra rails are needed to transport goods to greater NY (that includes portions of New Jersey) and other populations in the north.

            • Barry Carol says:

              It’s interesting that all that aerospace and defense business depends mainly on government (tax) dollars. There are very few military bases in the Northeast which has nothing to do with state and local tax or regulatory issues. It probably has more to do with climate and the power of high seniority southern congressmen from the old days. Guys like Trent Lott, Thad Cochran, Jesse Helms, L. Mendel Rivers and others were quite adept at bringing the federal bacon home to their states because they had senior positions on key committees.

              The NJ and IL bond ratings have more to do with the stalemate between powerful unions and their allies in the state legislature who are not willing to give up any wages or benefits and republican governors not wanting to raise taxes any further.

              There is more to attracting business than low taxes like an educated workforce and proximity to markets. If low taxes were all that mattered then most of the growth would be in places like AL, MS and LA.

              • Allan says:

                Blame all of this on WW2. The army needed space and suitable conditions to train men and blame the Germans who were sinking ships off the coast of Florida and blame the Japanese for occupying climates that were similar to the climates in southern Florida. In fact the troops used to do survival training in the small area I live in today.

                In part you can blame weather conditions for the launch pad, but when it comes down to why New Jersey is rated single A and Florida AAA it comes down to politics. New Jersey believes in high taxes and debt while it maintains a pension system that likely will need help.

                By the way you talk about “power of high seniority southern congressmen from the old days.” like Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, but they come from Mississippi a relatively poor state. Are you trying to say that is why New Jersey has a single A rating.

                • Barry Carol says:

                  If most military bases are in the South because of World War II related issues and needs, that’s fine. If the JFK Space Center is in FL because of weather considerations, that’s fine too. Just don’t try to claim that they’re there because of low taxes and light regulations.

                  As for NJ and IL’s single A bond rating, it’s much ado about very little. It’s still a solid investment grade rating and the difference in interest costs is small relative to the total size of the state budget, especially in this very low interest rate environment that has persisted since the 2008 financial crisis. In IL, long time Democrat Assembly Speaker, Michael Madigan, is deliberately trying to wait out Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and has refused to even pass a budget. What we basically have in both states is a stalemate that has not yet reached the crisis stage which is probably what it would take to facilitate action to make meaningful progress.

                  Finally, with respect to Cochran and Lott in MS, I’m just saying they used their seniority and power to bring military contracts to MS, especially for the shipbuilding industry located there. It has no effect on NJ or IL.

                  • Allan says:

                    “Just don’t try to claim that they’re there because of low taxes and light regulations”

                    I didn’t make such a claim though low taxes and lighter regulations did help expand the aviation industry and permitted many of the ~2,000 different aerospace/ aviation companies to exist and thrive. I guess the military remains in Florida because in some northern states, perhaps including New Jersey, there is more hostility to the military than in the south and Florida.

                    “As for NJ and IL’s single A bond rating, it’s much ado about very little.”

                    That is a typical response of anyone that lacks fiscal responsibility. Lower ratings pay higher interest rates. New Jersey has a sky high debt with high interest rates while Florida has a low debt and low interest rates. Those extra costs come out of the taxpayer’s pockets, but of course that doesn’t mean much to the country club crowd.

                    “especially in this very low interest rate environment that has persisted since the 2008 financial crisis.”

                    I love this comment. What you are saying is that the financial crisis was a boon to New Jersey’s ability to borrow. Let’s have more crisis and see how New Jersey’s borrowing works out. Maybe you guys can destroy the middle class further.

                    “Finally, with respect to Cochran and Lott in MS,”

                    You were trying to make the point that Florida benefited not from its conservative fiscal management, but from politics so you could continue to look at the reckless fiscal management of New Jersey in a positive fashion

  17. Ron Greiner says:

    The FIRED Medicaid Mafia brothers are blaming President Trump, figures. — The former CEO of health insurer Molina on Tuesday cast most of the blame for Obamacare’s rate increases and insurer exits on Republicans and the Trump administration.

    “The administration and Republicans in Congress want you to believe that insurers raising premiums for their plans or exiting the marketplaces all together are consequences of the design of the Affordable Care Act instead of the direct results of their own actions to sabotage the law,” said J. Mario Molina, in a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece. “Don’t let them fool you.”

    The Molina Brothers wanted those illegal Federal tax dollars to keep flowing their way. Idiots, did $17 billion in sales and lost the company. Their dad would be proud.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ousted-molina-ceo-blames-trump-gop-for-obamacare-problems/article/2624456

    The smart move is to hire Devon as a consultant and SAVE by folding the healthy and expensive Medicaid population into the age-based tax credits and the free and open market helping Florida physicians receive higher reimbursements.

  18. Allan says:

    Ron, Devon (sorry for the Derek misnaming, but I have a bunch of Devons and Derricks doing work in my house.) and others. Just to demonstrate further how good fiscal management is meaningful, I re-listening a bit more to the video and noted that New Jersey the single A rated state only funded their pension system 66% while Florida was funded above the 80% level at 87%. I think during that time period Morningstar rated New Jersey as the worst of all the states in funding their pensions.

  19. Bob Hertz says:

    I am inclined to blame the firing of the Molina brothers on politics, not carrier performance.

    Here is an interesting comment on why Molina lost money in 2017 (after making money in prior years):

    Molina Healthcare’s stock tumbled after hours Wednesday after the health insurer posted a fourth-quarter loss that was attributed to parts of Obamacare — a big problem for one of the health insurers that has had success in the program.

    However, the company didn’t lose money because it had sicker-than-expected enrollees. In fact, medical costs for its Obamacare enrollees were $120 million lower than Molina thought. Instead, Molina got slammed because it had healthier members and had to pay $325 million into an Obamacare program called risk adjustment, which pools money from insurers in a given state and redistributes it to those who had higher-cost enrollees.

    Molina’s losses also were “exacerbated by the federal government’s failure” to make payments under Obamacare’s risk corridor program, another feature designed to reduce insurer losses in the early years. Axios reported last month that Molina, which has not yet committed to the exchanges in 2018, was suing the federal government for $52 million in risk corridor payments. Molina believes it is entitled to another $90 million for 2016.”

    The entire ACA marketplace appears to be a house of cards, in the sense that government reimbursement formula changes can knock it over at any time. This was certainly true of the ACA co-ops.

    And it is true of Medicare Advantage and Part D. The difference is that Congress has basically given Med Advantage and Part D plans more money whenever they have needed it. This was done so that senior citizens would not get angry.

    No one in Congress really fears the anger of Medicaid recipients or ACA subsidy recipients.

    • Allan says:

      “Molina got slammed because it had healthier members and had to pay $325 million into an Obamacare program called risk adjustment, which pools money from insurers in a given state and redistributes it to those who had higher-cost enrollees.”

      Bob, should Molina have known that it was responsible for such a risk adjustment?

      When could that amount be calculated? Before or after the fact or both?

      Do you have the exact rule?

      This seems nuts, but then again we are dealing with the US government on a political issue so it shouldn’t be such a big surprise.

  20. Ron Greiner says:

    Anthem Inc (ANTM) Stock Price Hits 52-Week High Today
    May 31, 2017 – By Richard Conner

    The stock of Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) hit a new 52-week high and has $195.26 target or 7.00 % above today’s $182.49 share price. The 8 months bullish chart indicates low risk for the $48.42 billion company. The 1-year high was reported on May, 31 by Barchart.com. If the $195.26 price target is reached, the company will be worth $3.39 billion more.

    The 52-week high event is an important milestone for every stock because it shows very positive momentum and is time when buyers come in. During such notable technical setup, fundamental investors usually stay away and are careful shorting or selling the stock.

    About 67,711 shares traded. Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) has risen 31.86% since May 31, 2016 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 15.16% the S&P500.

    These poor guys have renegade Blue Cross of Iowa showing everybody how Blue Cross is really just a house of cards.

    • Ron Greiner says:

      When Obama was elected Anthem was $30.

      • Allan says:

        It’s $182.34 now. It sounds like ObamaCare was in the business of creating winners and losers.

      • Barry Carol says:

        For those with short memories, Obama took office in January 2009 in the midst of the economic downturn triggered by the October 2008 financial crisis. The stock market bottomed in March 2009.

        Then, as the ACA was being debated, investors feared the possibility of a single payer healthcare system which was Obama’s preference and they also feared a public option which probably would not compete on a level playing field with private insurers. All publicly traded health insurance stocks were under severe pressure during this time. United, for example, bottomed at about $14 and is now above $170.

        The final ACA legislation did not include a public option or a single payer system which was a huge relief to investors. Later medical claims costs started to come in lower than what the companies priced for, a trend which persisted for several years and continues to. At the same time, the S&P 500 Index rose more than 2.5 times from its low point. All of this went on while the health insurers LOST MONEY on their ACA exchange business. Bottom line: the rise in the price of these stocks has a very logical underpinning.

  21. Lee Benham says:

    “Bottom line: the rise in the price of these stocks has a very logical underpinning.”

    you mean like having all its competition put out of business by the ACA.

    • Barry Carol says:

      What competition are you talking about? United, Anthem, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, the other twenty odd non-profit Blues, Kaiser, Molina, Wellcare and numerous others are all still very much in business and doing quite well as far as I can tell.

  22. Allan says:

    You got it Lee, but some don’t like competition. They like government’s ability to pick winners and losers. That way industry kowtows to their glorious leaders.

  23. Ron Greiner says:

    The Nation’s largest insurer thinks exactly like Lee. UnitedHealth Group (UHC) wants Obamacare Exchanges shut down so the local-yocal Blue Cross companies will lose their government non-licensed NAVIGATORS, lol.

    –“UnitedHealth Group, which pulled out of AHIP a few years ago, was even more critical of the Obamacare marketplaces. The major insurer wants them disbanded entirely beginning in 2019 and oversight of the individual market returned to states, according to a letter to Hatch obtained by The Health 202. UnitedHealth also wrote that Congress should eliminate the ACA’s essential health benefits and its metallic actuarial value-rating system, allow insurers to charge older people five times more than younger people instead of just three times and restore the ability of insurers to sell short-term and limited coverage policies.

    Getting rid of the ACA’s Health Insurance Tax (called HIT) is a biggie for UnitedHealth. The insurer says it is pricing the tax into 2018 policies, arguing that it will cause annual premiums to rise by $210 for small employers and $530 for families buying coverage on their own. “Full repeal of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) is one of the quickest and easiest ways to lower health care costs, prevent further disruption, and ensure market stability,” the insurer wrote.”–

    Well there you go. Everybody is turning on Blue Cross Association or AHIP.

    Democrats are screaming, “Republicans will charge old people 5 TIMES more!” Fruitcakes…

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2017/05/31/the-health-202-why-republicans-won-t-go-nuclear-even-for-obamacare-repeal/592db7cfe9b69b2fb981dbfb/?utm_term=.07d5ef777367

  24. Ron Greiner says:

    Grassley is a perfect example why we need term limits. It seems like Chuck has been in DC forever. Grassley LIES or he is really really stupid:

    –“Grassley said there were probably very [[good intentions]] in Obamacare.

    “We were told certain things like if you like your doctor, you can keep it, if your insurance was going [to go down] and it didn’t turn out that way. I think it was well intended and it wasn’t a lie at the time, but it turned out to be wrong so maybe you can’t call it a lie but it turned out to be wrong,” he said. “I can tell you the intentions that we have in replacing it and it may not work out the way we intended.”

    Grassley said the intent of the Obamacare replacement bill is to not have a one size fits all plan, and he said the states will have more decision-making responsibility. Additionally, there should more choices for insurers, he said, and to have less regulation of medicine and more choices of individual, portable choices such as health savings accounts. ((Grassley meant to include personal, portable and permanent AND medically underwritten low-cost Individual Medical (IM) insurance which gives the consumer the BEST value))

    Continuing on the subject of health insurance, Cheryl Lockwood inquired about funding subsidies for health insurance companies and whether Grassley anticipated the senate will take a look at new provisions.

    The subsidies were meant to be under the law for just the first two years to get Obamacare off the ground, Grassley said.

    “Then it wasn’t supposed to be any subsidy anymore, so people that say there shouldn’t be a subsidy aren’t really going against Obamacare,” he said. “It’s just the practice that Obama on his own continued, and that’s why the House of Representatives went to court over it, but the court case hasn’t proceeded.”

    Grassley said that legislators hear so much about the people that have been helped by Obamacare, they have got to take them into consideration.

    “But you’ve got to take into consideration how Obamacare has screwed up a lot of insurance for a lot of people that it’s not affordable for and they don’t get any of the help that you’re talking about,” Grassley added.

    Donna Crookham asked Grassley’s opinion on allowing the Senate to pass legislation with 51 votes as they did for the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

    “I come down on the side that we ought to have a political system where the minority party. And remember, I’ve been in the minority more than I’ve been in the majority. Democrats are in the minority now and I don’t think they want to give up that,” he said. “Republicans could take it away from them but it wouldn’t be in the tradition of what Hamilton decided the United Sates Senate ought to be doing when he wrote about it in the Federalist Papers. So I’m kind of on the side of not being the same as the House of Representatives, having the Senate be a deliberative body, and more importantly, having the minority have some input.”

    http://www.oskaloosa.com/news/local_news/grassley-offers-insight-at-forum/article_3080c8ac-9a62-5d69-bbdb-8e5b26db4f2c.html

    Personally, I don’t think the Democrats should be the majority or minority party in DC.

  25. Ron Greiner says:

    A List Of 100 Things That Liberals Hate About America
    By Michael Snyder, on May 31st, 2017

    Why do liberals seem to hate just about everything that is good and true and right about this country? Earlier today I was writing an article about Kathy Griffin and the hate-filled ideology that she represents, and it got me thinking about a lot of things. I truly believe that her now infamous photograph will turn out to be a defining moment in American politics. It has become exceedingly clear that Kathy Griffin and those like her have nothing to offer but anger, hate and violence, and that is not a message that most Americans are going to embrace. So if true conservatives can start communicating a message of love, peace, prosperity, liberty and freedom that is based on the principles and values that this nation was founded upon, there is no way that the left is going to be able to compete with that.

    If we want to make America great again, we need to embrace the things that made us great in the first place. Unfortunately, the left tends to hate most of those things. In fact, many leftists will actually tell you that America was never great. These “progressives” want our nation to be fundamentally “transformed” into an entirely different place than our forefathers intended, and they plan to use big government as the tool to conduct that “transformation”.

    If they ultimately win, the country that you and I love so much today will be gone forever. I want you to read the list below and imagine what the United States would be like if all of these things were eradicated. The following is a list of 100 things that liberals hate about America…

    #1 The U.S. Constitution

    #2 Liberty

    #3 Freedom

    #4 Success

    #5 Big Trucks

    #6 Capitalism

    #7 Free Markets

    #8 Wealthy People

    #9 Economic Prosperity

    #10 The Rule Of Law

    #11 Traditional Values

    #12 The American Flag

    #13 The Founding Fathers

    #14 Guns

    #15 Limited Government

    #16 Religious Freedom

    #17 Homeschooling

    #18 Private Schools

    #19 Christian Schools

    #20 Entrepreneurs

    #21 Ronald Reagan

    #22 Donald Trump

    #23 Mike Pence

    #24 Country Music

    #25 Rush Limbaugh

    http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/a-list-of-100-things-that-liberals-hate-about-america

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