Bernie Sanders’ 10 Point Manifesto (Amagi Podcast @ Think Liberty, Ep.18)

Nima & Dylan discuss Bernie Sanders’ 10 point plan.


Bernie Sanders Lays Out Bold 10-Point Plan for Democrats (

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2013 ObamaCare Sticker Shock: Premiums May Increase by up to 100 Percent

In Fixing US Health Care Once And For All – 5 Crucial Steps I wrote:

… without addressing the 5 steps I outlined above, all other efforts will be completely and absolutely futile. Without addressing the root of high health care costs, it does not matter whether we let government alone take care of health insurance, or whether we completely liberalize the health insurance market. Nothing would change substantially. We would still be paying high premiums that go into a pool that pays for overly expensive health care products and services. We would still be faced with an inherent shortage of health care goods and services.

Also in The Truth About Obamacare, Mandates, and Health Care in the US I wrote:

… under the Affordable Care Act health care will become less and less affordable to Americans. And it has. Premiums have gone up two-,three-fold, maybe even more for some. The inability to charge more for pre-existing conditions simply results in higher charges for everybody, regardless of condition, or in bankrupting insurers (a welcome excuse for the all out nationalization of health insurers at some point?). Meanwhile the root causes of rising health costs have not been addressed at all.

Now it’s time brace yourselves for ObamaCare’s Health-Insurance Sticker Shock:

Health-insurance premiums have been rising—and consumers will experience another series of price shocks later this year when some see their premiums skyrocket thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.

The reason: The congressional Democrats who crafted the legislation ignored virtually every actuarial principle governing rational insurance pricing. Premiums will soon reflect that disregard—indeed, premiums are already reflecting it.

Central to ObamaCare are requirements that health insurers (1) accept everyone who applies (guaranteed issue), (2) cannot charge more based on serious medical conditions (modified community rating), and (3) include numerous coverage mandates that force insurance to pay for many often uncovered medical conditions.

Guaranteed issue incentivizes people to forgo buying a policy until they get sick and need coverage (and then drop the policy after they get well). While ObamaCare imposes a financial penalty—or is it a tax?—to discourage people from gaming the system, it is too low to be a real disincentive. The result will be insurance pools that are smaller and sicker, and therefore more expensive.


Health insurers have been understandably reluctant to discuss the coming price hikes that are driven by the Affordable Care Act. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, the country’s third-largest health insurer, broke the silence on Dec. 12. “We’re going to see some markets go up by as much as 100%,” he told the company’s annual investor conference in New York City.

To all those who cheered for ObamaCare: You reap what you sow.

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The Truth About Obamacare, Mandates, and Health Care in the US

As expected, the US Supreme Court today once again honored its job description which is to serve as an enabler and facilitator of the expansion of federal government powers.

Some interesting comments on Obamacare from Freedomain Radio:

Its destructive effects on healthcare aside, those liberals who are now cheering and celebrating the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare (a law by the way that has been written in large parts by the pharmaceutical industry) conveniently ignore the floodgates that have been opened for other kinds of mandates that conservatives will inevitably shove down their (and unfortunately all our) throats in the future.

And those who are cheering the loudest right now, will be the most vociferous ones crying out in outrage then, because that’s simply the way useful idiots “function” in the world of mob rule, aka “Democracy”.

I’ve said before that under the Affordable Care Act health care will become less and less affordable to Americans. And it has. Premiums have gone up two-,three-fold, maybe even more for some. The inability to charge more for pre-existing conditions simply results in higher charges for everybody, regardless of condition, or in bankrupting insurers (a welcome excuse for the all out nationalization of health insurers at some point?). Meanwhile the root causes of rising health costs have not been addressed at all.

But has that bothered any of the oh so caring and concerned people supporting this law today? Of course not. Why? Because to them it’s not about making health care more affordable, it’s not about actually understanding what the consequences of this law will be; no, it’s about deluding themselves into being on some kind of winning team on some kind of issue, so long as it supports their emotional political inclinations and upsets those with opposing inclination on that same spectrum.

And while the thoughtful among us can lay the groundwork for reasonable fixes to the problems with healthcare in the US, the chaotic herd of dizzy, annoying, loud, patronizing, boring, bigoted, and mindless drones will have to run its stubborn course until the system collapses of its own accord, as I pointed out years ago.

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Health Care & Drug Shortages in the USA

I’m seeing more and more reports about drug shortages/unavailability in the US, for example Hospital drug shortages deadly, costly (emphasis mine):

A drug for dangerously high blood pressure, normally priced at $25.90 per dose, offered to hospitals for $1,200. Fifteen deaths in 15 months blamed on shortages of life-saving medications.

A growing crisis in the availability of drugs for chemotherapy, infections and other serious ailments is endangering patients and forcing hospitals to buy from secondary suppliers at huge markups because they can’t get the medications any other way.

An Associated Press review of industry reports and interviews with nearly two dozen experts found the shortages — mainly of injected generic drugs that ordinarily are cheap — have delayed surgeries and cancer treatments, left patients in unnecessary pain and caused hospitals to give less effective treatments. That’s resulted in complications and longer hospital stays.

Just over half of the 549 U.S. hospitals responding to a survey this summer by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a patient safety group, said they had purchased one or more prescription drugs from so-called “gray market vendors” — companies other than their normal wholesalers.

Most also said they’ve had to do so more often of late, and 7 percent reported side effects or other problems with those drugs.

Hospital pharmacists “are really looking at this as a crisis. They are scrambling to find drugs,” said Joseph Hill of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

At a hearing Friday before the health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, hospital officials and other experts testified that the worsening shortages are preventing them from giving many patients the best care and are driving up costs.

“Considering the nation’s budget crisis and our skyrocketing health care bill, these markups are nothing more than profiteering at the expense of patients and providers who are struggling to afford vital medicines,” said Mike Alkire, chief operating officer of Premier Healthcare Alliance, a group that helps U.S. hospitals and other health providers improve their patient care and finances.

The shortages could cost hospitals at least $415 million a year, he said, citing data from health care providers across the nation. So far, hospitals have been absorbing the extra costs, but they’ll soon have to start passing them on to insurers and patients, according to the American Hospital Association.

The scarcity of mainstay cancer drugs is not only hurting patients but is halting or disrupting clinical studies of potential new treatments, said Dr. Robert S. DiPaola, director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

“The drug shortages of today can have a ripple effect on the availability of new drugs and treatment combinations tomorrow,” he told the committee.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration is holding a meeting with medical and consumer groups, researchers and industry representatives to discuss the shortages and strategies to fight them.

The FDA says the primary cause of the shortages is production shutdowns because of manufacturing problems, such as contamination and metal particles that get into medicine.

Other reasons include theft of prescription drugs from warehouses or during shipment, as well as the “gray market” vendors who buy scarce drugs from small regional wholesalers, pharmacies or other sources and then sell them to hospitals at many times the normal price. These sellers may not be licensed, authorized distributors.

In addition, many companies have stopped making generic injected drugs because the profit margins are slim. Producing them is far more expensive than stamping out pills, and it takes about three weeks to produce a batch. Making things worse, companies don’t have to notify customers or the FDA that they’ve stopped making a medicine. That means neither FDA nor competitors can fill the gap in time.

Only a half-dozen companies make the vast majority of injected generics. Even if other companies wanted to begin making a drug in short supply, they’re discouraged by the lengthy, expensive process of setting up new manufacturing lines and getting FDA approval.

The article goes on, but that last paragraph is really the most important point we need to wrap our brains around to understand this terrible tragedy: Drug shortages occur precisely because of the existence of the government’s meddling with the process of researching, manufacturing, selling, and purchasing drugs.

As I explained in Fixing US Health Care Once And For All – 5 Crucial Steps:

On the market, such imbalances are, under free competition, swiftly addressed via a simple process: High prices for certain consumer goods indicate a high demand and an insufficient supply. Thus profit seeking entrepreneurs have an incentive to shift from what they are currently doing to focusing on producing more of such highly demanded goods, by employing more commensurate factors of production that turn out the demanded goods. This leads to a decline in their prices, moving the market closer to equilibrium and thus restoring balance.

But when a group of people which obtains its means of operation via aggression and theft, the government,  imposes decrees that prevent the voluntary market participants to perform such balancing acts, and threaten them with imprisonment and fines should they not oblige, the imbalance will persist. If that group’s actions are such as to bring about even more shortages for the demanded goods, the imbalance will grow, prices will keep rising.

Of course Obamacare has not addressed a single one of the points I put forward in that article, quite the contrary, and so it should not surprise us that this horrific and quite frankly murderous trend continues to aggravate shortages of health care products and services, continues to drive sick people into bankruptcy, and continues to kill people by the thousands, if not millions.

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Public Health Care in the US; Comparison of Countries by Public Health Expenditures

It is important to pay attention to the premises that people base their assertions on. If an entire math paper is predicated upon the theory that 1 + 1 = 3, and that theory is applied throughout the paper, then there is really no need to read on or to take the writer serious as a mathematician.

A good example in the realm of economics that I just came across is this guy who writes an article that is in large parts predicated upon the following assertion:

The United States has the most privatized health care system in the advanced world; it also has, by far, the most expensive care, without gaining any clear advantage in quality for all that spending.

So he makes the assumption that spending on health care in the US more privatized in the US than in any other industrialized nation. And from that he concludes that there is no clear advantage in quality for “all this spending”.

Now, if “all this spending” was indeed more privatized than anywhere else in the world then he may have indeed supplied a valid argument for more government involvement in the realm of health care.

If, however, this assumption were to be proven incorrect, then he would have unwittingly supplied an argument for less government involvement.

Let’s look at the facts on Health care in the United States:

Public spending accounts for between 45% and 56.1% of U.S. health care spending. Per-capita spending on health care by the U.S. government placed it among the top ten highest spenders among United Nations member countries in 2004.

Government health spending in the US in 2005 was at 7.2 percent of US GDP. In a comparison of 188 countries worldwide the US ranks at position 18. If we exclude third world countries, the US ranks at position 9, ahead of such supposed big government health care paradises as Canada or even Cuba!

Country Public health spending % of GDP
1 Marshall Islands 15
2 Micronesia, Fed States 12.4
3 Timor-Leste 11.9
4 Kiribati 11.7
5 Maldives 10.6
6 France 8.9
7 Malawi 8.7
8 Palau 8.7
9 Lesotho 8.5
10 Sao Tome & Principe 8.3
11 Germany 8.2
12 Iceland 7.8
13 Austria 7.7
14 Denmark 7.7
15 Norway 7.5
16 Sweden 7.5
17 Portugal 7.4
18 United States 7.2
19 United Kingdom 7.1
20 Luxembourg 7
21 Belgium 6.9
22 Cuba 6.9
23 New Zealand 6.9
24 Canada 6.8
25 Italy 6.8
26 Switzerland 6.8
27 Japan 6.7
28 Ireland 6.5
29 Malta 6.5
30 Czech Rep 6.3
31 San Marino 6.3
32 Colombia 6.2
33 Montenegro 6.2
34 Slovenia 6.2
35 Croatia 6
36 Netherlands 6
37 Australia 5.9
38 Spain 5.9
39 Finland 5.8
40 Serbia 5.8
41 Hungary 5.5
42 Macedonia, FYR 5.5
43 Costa Rica 5.4
44 Turkey 5.4
45 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.2
46 Slovakia 5.2
47 Belarus 5
48 Panama 5
49 Seychelles 4.9
50 Israel 4.8
51 Jordan 4.8
52 Bulgaria 4.7
53 Grenada 4.7
54 Cape Verde 4.6
55 Argentina 4.5
56 Botswana 4.5
57 Djibouti 4.5
58 Guyana 4.5
59 Iran, Islamic Rep 4.4
60 Liberia 4.4
61 Andorra 4.3
62 Barbados 4.3
63 Bolivia 4.3
64 Greece 4.3
65 Poland 4.3
66 Dominica 4.2
67 Moldova, Rep 4.2
68 Nicaragua 4.1
69 Rwanda 4.1
70 Burkina Faso 4
71 Lithuania 4
72 Samoa 4
73 Solomon Islands 4
74 Swaziland 4
75 Latvia 3.9
76 Romania 3.9
77 El Salvador 3.8
78 Estonia 3.8
79 Honduras 3.8
80 Lebanon 3.8
81 St. Vincent & Grenadines 3.8
82 Tonga 3.8
83 Ukraine 3.7
84 Papua New Guinea 3.6
85 South Africa 3.6
86 Zimbabwe 3.6
87 Brazil 3.5
88 Namibia 3.5
89 Saint Kitts and Nevis 3.5
90 Bahamas 3.4
91 Gambia 3.4
92 Monaco 3.4
93 Uruguay 3.4
94 Mongolia 3.3
95 St. Lucia 3.3
96 Antigua and Barbuda 3.2
97 Haiti 3.2
98 Qatar 3.2
99 Russian Federation 3.2
100 Turkmenistan 3.2
101 Iraq 3.1
102 Korea, Rep 3.1
103 Benin 3
104 Ethiopia 3
105 Gabon 3
106 Korea, Dem People’s Rep 3
107 Fiji 2.9
108 Mali 2.9
109 Mexico 2.9
110 Tanzania 2.9
111 Belize 2.8
112 Bhutan 2.8
113 Chile 2.8
114 Vanuatu 2.8
115 Mozambique 2.7
116 Paraguay 2.7
117 Zambia 2.7
118 Albania 2.6
119 Algeria 2.6
120 Saudi Arabia 2.6
121 Bahrain 2.5
122 Cyprus 2.5
123 Kazakhstan 2.5
124 Kyrgyzstan 2.5
125 Suriname 2.5
126 Trinidad and Tobago 2.4
127 Tunisia 2.4
128 Uzbekistan 2.4
129 Egypt 2.3
130 Jamaica 2.3
131 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 2.2
132 Mauritius 2.2
133 Thailand 2.2
134 Ecuador 2.1
135 Ghana 2.1
136 Kenya 2.1
137 Oman 2.1
138 Peru 2.1
139 Syrian Arab Rep 2.1
140 Venezuela 2.1
141 Yemen 2.1
142 Guatemala 2
143 Madagascar 2
144 Uganda 2
145 Malaysia 1.9
146 Morocco 1.9
147 Niger 1.9
148 Sierra Leone 1.9
149 Sri Lanka 1.9
150 United Arab Emirates 1.9
151 Armenia 1.8
152 China 1.8
153 Dominican Rep 1.7
154 Eritrea 1.7
155 Georgia 1.7
156 Guinea-Bissau 1.7
157 Kuwait 1.7
158 Mauritania 1.7
159 Senegal 1.7
160 Brunei Darussalam 1.6
161 Comoros 1.6
162 Nepal 1.6
163 Angola 1.5
164 Cambodia 1.5
165 Cameroon 1.5
166 Central African Rep 1.5
167 Chad 1.5
168 Congo, Dem Rep 1.5
169 Viet Nam 1.5
170 Sudan 1.4
171 Togo 1.4
172 Equatorial Guinea 1.3
173 Nigeria 1.2
174 Philippines 1.2
175 Singapore 1.1
176 Tajikistan 1.1
177 Afghanistan 1
178 Azerbaijan 1
179 Burundi 1
180 India 1
181 Indonesia 1
182 Congo 0.9
183 Bangladesh 0.8
184 Ivory Coast 0.8
185 Guinea 0.7
186 Lao People’s Dem Rep 0.7
187 Pakistan 0.4
188 Myanmar 0.3

So if, furthermore, said guy were to ignore or deny the fact that what he put out there is a blatant falsehood and cling on to his preconceived theories no matter what … well then we have ourselves a good old fashioned, bigoted, boring, predictable, laughable, and paid-off pseudo economist, potentially of the Keynesian specimen, who will cowardly defend the notion that his masters need more power, more money, more credit, more taxes for all eternity, no matter how much they have already been given.

People like this guy never talk about hugely important things like the state enforced special privileges and monopolies granted to the AMA that allow its members to keep prices for health care services high and supply of doctors low.

He also seems to avoid the topic of the state imposed restrictions on importing drugs from abroad unless I’m missing something, but even if he had talked about it somewhere for sure he avoids it where it matters, which would be right in this article.

He also didn’t point out that “Medicare Part D” prohibits Medicare to negotiate with drug companies, as any other entity on the free market can do.

He also passes in silence the fact that there is this institution called FDA that makes it almost impossible for innovative entrepreneurs to bring new potentially lifesaving drugs to market at a cheap price. I heard that 80% of the cost of a drug in the US covers expenses for compliance with FDA regulations.

He also avoids the fact that health insurance providers are not allowed to compete across state lines in most if not all US states.

If you ignore the root causes of why prices are so high, namely state intervention from start to finish, then there is little sense in complaining about the high cost of insurance or the supposedly insufficient level of tax extortion & enslavement of the young generation on whose backs all those outrageous expenses will fall in the end.

If on top of all that, after having been supplied all this information, you ask for EVEN MORE state intervention than we ALREADY have, then you are nothing but yet another abhorrent enabler of a system that year after year claims more and more sick people’s happiness and energy and you do indeed deserve nothing but the deepest scorn and contempt from all those who truly care to make this world a healthier and happier place to live for everyone, and not just for a privileged few who can afford the high cost of medicine and insurance in this country!

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