"Why any society should let anyone be bankrupted by medical bills is beyond me, frankly. It just doesn't happen in other western democracies."
I have an uncle who was a State Farm agent, who pulled in close to half a million a year as an agent. His son took over the business, and likely does even better. A son-in-law is also an agent for State Farm. My uncle and his wife are now elderly, and have some health problems( Parkinson’s and diabetes). State Farm dropped them from the employee’s insurance program. Now my aunt( Republican, of course) has a somewhat different outlook on people who need insurance. State Farm is a “mutual” company - customers essentially insure each other. Now, my relative’s needs are becoming important, and they’re less sympathetic to the company line.
While insurance companies often cover much of the cost of childbirth, many American families are still caught off-guard when they learn the amount they owe facilities after delivering. Childbirth Connection found that the average insured family pays about $3,400 after a birth—more than the total cost of childbirth in other countries including Spain and South Africa.
That’s an excellent argument for moving all of Congress off of their private insurance
which we citizens pay for – and also have them pay at the least what Medicare recepients
pay for Medicare.
Congress should not be an Elite class among our people, especially if they want to claim
this is a democracy.
wanna name any other shithole countries?
by many measures: healthcare, minimum wage, adherence to Paris agreements, cost of university, childcare—and others–living in a glass house, it is just plain stooopid to throw stones, yes?
Why does this myth that members of Congress get these really good healthcare plans come from? Members of the US congress do not get an insurance benefit. The ACA has a provision that requires members of Congress to buy their insurance through the DC ACA exchange. I doubt very many members of congress are below 3 times the poverty line, so little or no tax dollars are subsidizing their insurance. Before the ACA, members of congress got the normal federal employee health insurance plans. That is hardly free either; my employee share is $482 a month.
From the article:
‘…In 2015, Norway ranked as the best-performing country in the world in terms of healthcare for new mothers, according to Save the Children, and was found to have an infant mortality rate below two percent, compared with the U.S. rate of 7.9 percent…’
And in Norway, the majority of uncomplicated deliveries are performed by midwives.
It’s not just Big Insurance. Many hospitals are owned by for-profit (BIG profit) Multi-NaZional Korporations.
Just like everything else in this country — including “our” government.
OTOH, maybe publicizing this information more widely could help bring down the birth rate —
and overpopulation . . .
* * * * *
I’ll second that motion!!!
" ‘House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) informed Americans that "we need to have higher birth rates in this country’ "
Well, look at that! Ryan has just shown the best argument for universal health care for the Republican base: universal health care = more babies = more White babies. This is a winning argument, folks, but and unfortunately, it is despicable.
As I have the opportunity, I’ll look into that “myth” …
but there’s also the myth of the salaries they are making now which are
way beyond what those offices used to pay.
AND … they can increase their own salaries!
They are certainly now much more prepared than the general public to
deal with the costs of insurance.
How also is Trump getting away with billing the public $20 million every
weekend for a trip to his place in Florida?
Congressional salaries are not way beyond what they used to pay - unless you are talking about the early 1800s. The salaries have been fairly constant in adjusted dollars for about 120 years or so.
$180K per year or so is not that much for the responsibility level and workload. A lot of union jobs once paid about that well if there was the opportunity for overtime or night/holiday differential.
And a correction. Regarding healthcare, while they are required to buy insurance from the ACA exchange, it must be the “gold” plan and the government does reimburse the same percentage as the employer share in the Federal Employee (FEHB) program - about 70 percent of it . But this is no different than any other employer-provided health care plan. Are you opposed to employer-provided healthcare plans?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
When we have a system that bankrupts citizens who need healthcare, and forces many to chose between food and needed drugs and care, it can be argued that we are being denied the social rights, dignity, and social security of Article 22. Our state is rich enough do do far better on this. Allowing the Insurance companies and big medicine corporations to profit at the expense of denying us our rights under Article 22 is what one can expect from a shithole country.
When people are forced into debt servitude by the high costs of healthcare and education and housing combined with most people being forced to work for wages so low as to prevent them from ever being able to get out of debt our country is not doing well on Article 4. When people in jail are forced to work for wages as low as a dollar a day for profit making corporations there is no doubt that they are being denied their rights to be not be held in servitude or slavery. Only in a shithole country would this happen.
When the will of the people are ignored by the governing class while the needs and wants of the rich are well attended to, it becomes obvious that most of us are being deprived of our right to take part in the governing of our country which we are entitled to by Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When votes are counted by machines using proprietary software, machines owned by powerful people involved in the political process, when gerrymandering and vote suppression are commonplace, when our choices of candidates for public office are mostly limited to those vetted and approved by the rich and powerful, then this shithole country is making a mockery of Article 22 of the Declaration. We can no longer know that the votes were counted fairly. We cannot trust the results of the elections. We know that the powerful play games with the voting. We are not given a choice to vote against war and Empire. We know that the concentrated control of the media, and the control of the election systems make it close to impossible for us to grow 3rd parties to challenge the duopoly and for us to take part in the government of this country, our votes are in no way equal to the votes of the wealthy.
The contempt for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by those who have taken control of our country has created a shithole country. The Empire that this country is at the center has been exporting this condition to the world and seeks to continue to do so. That most American citizens will have to borrow thousands to pay part of the cost of childbirth is of no concern to them.
Withdrawl from the Human Rights System
Despite its initial support, in the 1950s the United States stopped participating in, and in some cases directly opposed, the newly established international human rights system. One reason for this disengagement was the conflict stemming from the Cold War, which made it difficult to support a common standard for human rights that might leave the United States vulnerable to criticism from its ideological enemies. The United States also had domestic reasons for refusing to accept international human rights law. At that time, many states in the United States practiced legally-sanctioned discrimination against racial minorities in the form of Jim Crow laws. The U.S. government did not want to be forced to change discriminatory laws and policies as a result of ratifying an international treaty.
Yunzer – “Adjusted” by what means…
The government has been lying to us about the rate of inflation since the Vietnam war.
And, the wages of workers – non-members of Congress – have been stagnant since
The Federal Governments provides a subsidy equal to 72% of the insurance premiums for
MOC (Members of Congress and staff) –
Plus they can also use a plan which allows them to cut their costs by paying with pre-tax dollars.
In other words, Taxpayers pay 72% of the Health Care Costs for Members of Congress and Staff.
While MOC are cutting Social Security benefits – and MEDICARE coverage for Seniors.
I’m sure everyone here has noticed that MEDICARE will no longer cover your care if you get Cancer.
As of 1 January 2014, Members of Congress (MOC) and Congressional staff purchase their insurance through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) exchange, also known as DC Health Link. Contrary to popular belief, Congressional members do not receive free health care. As it does for other federal employees who purchase their insurance through the FEHBP, the federal government provides a subsidy equivalent to 72 percent of the weighted average of all FEHBP premiums.
Therefore, MOC and staff pay approximately 28 percent of their annual healthcare premiums through pre-tax payroll deductions.
More info …
**Although DC’s SHOP offers a total of 57 different ACA insurance plans at the bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels, the Office of Personnel Management has ruled that MOC and staff may only receive the employer contribution if they purchase insurance at the gold tier.
“but wait, there’s more!” –
MOC and their staff are also eligible to set salary aside in Flex 125 savings plans, which help the employee pay for healthcare and childcare expenses with pre-tax dollars. If they enroll in high-deductible health plans (which is unlikely, since only the gold plans offer an employer contribution), they can also enroll in health savings accounts. If Members of Congress or staff purchase dental and vision or long-term care insurance, they pay 100 percent of their premiums through pre-tax dollars.
Again, these benefits are similar to those offered by many large employers. However, there are two areas where Members of Congress (not staff or family members) can receive free or low-cost health care that the average citizen cannot access. The first is having access to the Office of the Attending Physician. For an annual fee (unspecified), MOC can receive limited care for routine examinations, consultations, and certain diagnostic tests.
This also ignores the reality that many corporations no longer pay for health care benefits…
And even if they do pay, it is more often now that it is a minimal contribution and that workers find
it unsatisfactory coverage.
We can be quite sure that our MOC get good health care while members of the public often
pay for care which they never get.
And I doubt we’ll find any member of Congress on the streets, shut out of a hospital and in hospital
garb only because they have no insurance.
PS: Anyone know how to post a link without also picking up these huge ART effects?
JohnIannetta – Thank you
Last time I looked, infant mortality rate in US was still increasing!
PLUS, immorality of medicine grows as OBGYN’s continue to accept "appointments"
for Cesarean births from young women who don’t recognize the seriousness of the
There was a time here in the US when it looked like more women would seek out
midwives. In hospital births as experienced by many women over the post-midwife
period where males were the majority – if not all – of those practicing OBGYN’s left
much to be desired or could be described as abusive and inane.
Excellent post. You are exactly right about changes to Medicare. The term medical necessity is going to be very important. I was surprised that cancer screening is no longer a medical necessity for older women.
Sorry I can’t help with the link issue.
U.S. medical costs are unnecessarily high. They are inflated to a ridiculous degree because
of our for-profit “healthcare” system. The “providers” charge more because most people have insurance. For-profit insurance pays part of the bill. This is the realistic price, or close to it.
All parties (doctors, hospitals, medical equipment makers, pharmaceutical corporations, insurance companies, etc.) make huge profits off of this system. It is a money-making system
pretending to be a health care system. The losers are the working people saddled with ever higher premiums and ever larger deductibles, and the millions who cannot afford decent insurance (especially in states controlled by Republicans who refused to participate in Medicaid expansion).
It is truly sad that they, and many others find out too late how very heartless our system is.
While I strongly believe in midwifery and am a midwife, this statistic is surely incorrect. Nearly 10% of all American born babies do not die (nor 2% in Norway). I’m off to find the original research but this sounds more like a preterm birth rate. Yes, babies do die surrounding childbirth, but more on the order of 1-2 per thousand, not 8 per hundred. Infant mortality means live birth to end of first year, and that number is still incorrect.