Here are the real costs of Obamacare

“The Obama Care Health Care Reform Plan or Health Care For America Plan will cost the average American around $70.”–obamacarefacts.com

By BOB LIVINGSTON | PLD | NOVEMBER 19, 2012

First of all, allow me to disabuse you of the notion that Obamacare has anything to do with “health” care. Obamacare is not about health. It’s not about lowering the cost of health insurance. And it’s not about ensuring that everyone is insured.

It is about locking more Americans into the clutches of the Big Pharma/Medical Industrial complex, providing more customers for Big Insurance and confiscating more wealth from individuals and businesses.

The American healthcare system should properly be called “sickcare.” It’s a subtle and esoteric system of population control with prescription drugs issued at the public expense by the drug cartel — the conglomerate of pharmaceutical houses.

They commit population control under the pretense of “healthcare” and make people pay for it. And this medical cartel has no legal liability. It is forced — or at least deceptive — medication. And most doctors don’t have a clue. They write prescriptions based on falsified data and kickbacks — from speaker fees and ghostwriting glowing medical reviews — without regard to whether their patients will benefit.

Health costs nothing. Sickness care has us in bankruptcy. If the medical establishment, insurance companies and Obamacare writers wanted Americans to be healthy, they’d promote healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, vitamin D supplementation, natural supplements and alternative health choices rather than toxin-laden vaccinations, body-destroying cancer treatment drugs, harmful symptom-rather-than-cause-attacking heart, statin and diabetes drugs, and carcinogen- and GMO-laced processed foods.

Now Obamacare’s devastating financial effects are coming to the fore. They can be seen in the rising costs of health insurance, layoffs, cuts in employment hours, rising prices and looming tax hikes. Obamacare will send unemployment numbers skyrocketing and force workers — who find their hours cut back below the “full-time” threshold of 30 hours — to try to find multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. Or they’ll give up working altogether and join the rising numbers of wards of the state: 49.7 million in poverty, non-farm employment at 2005 levels, 46.7 million on food stamps and 9 million leaving the workforce and joining the disability roles. The Congressional Budget Office predicts Obamacare will cost 800,000 jobs by 2020-2021. It will be much worse than that.

With jobless numbers already high and manufacturing and mid-level white collar professional service jobs leaving the United States never to return, most new jobs come in the healthcare, social assistance (ambulatory healthcare services) and food service industries (waiting tables and tending bar).

But the medical device and food service industries are being hit hardest by Obamacare, as business owners seek ways to remain profitable and competitive once the provisions kick in.

During the International Franchise Association convention in Washington, D.C., in September, franchisers learned just how hard Obamacare would hit them. David Barr, a Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser, told the group how Obamacare will cut his profits and probably theirs as well — in half. Their only choice is to slash employee hours so they aren’t eligible for company-paid health insurance or stop offering insurance and pay the $2,000 per employee fine.

Barr has 23 stores with 421 employees, 109 of whom are full-time. Of those, he provides health insurance to 30. His total cost is $129,000 per year and his employees pay $995. Under Obamacare, he’ll have to provide health insurance for all 109 full-time employees at a cost of $444,000 per year. The $315,000 increase is more than half his annual profit, after expenses. If he chose the fine instead, his healthcare costs would still increase by $89,000 per year.

Darden Foods, the world’s largest casual dining company — it includes Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse — was one of the first to announce it would be limiting worker hours to avoid healthcare requirements. Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said the cost of his pizzas will rise between 11 and 14 cents and worker hours will be reduced. He expects the law to cost his company between $5 billion and $8 billion annually.

In July, McDonalds Chief Financial Officer Peter Benson said Obamacare will cost his company $420 million in new healthcare costs even though the company received a waiver from the Administration of Barack Obama. His menu prices will increase as a result.

Florida-based restaurant owner John Metz, who owns 40 Denny’s restaurants and the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise, said last week he would be tacking a 5 percent Obamacare surcharge on his meals and reduce employee hours. He says it is “the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost to the customer.”

Look for other restaurants faced with a choice of becoming unprofitable by absorbing the costs or uncompetitive by raising their menu prices if they insure their employees and pass the cost to consumers to also cut worker hours.

Wal-Mart recently raised its health insurance premiums as much as 36 percent, putting coverage out of the reach of many of its employees. Its executives say employee hours will be cut. Likewise, the Kroger grocery chain is also reducing employee hours.

Other companies that have announced Obamacare layoffs include:

  • Welch Allyn: A medical diagnostic equipment manufacturer, Welch Allyn will lay off 250 employees, or 10 percent of its workforce, over the next three years because of the Medical Device Tax mandated by the law.
  • Dana Holding Corp.: A global auto parts manufacturer, Dana Holding Corp. will cut its workforce of 25,500, citing $24 million in additional healthcare expenses over the next six years.
  • Stryker: One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close its Orchard Park, N.Y., facility, eliminating 96 jobs in December. The company will also eliminate about 5 percent of its remaining workforce — about 1,170 workers.
  • Boston Scientific: CEO Ray Elliot recently announced that Obamacare taxes will force him to lay off between 1,200 and 1,400 workers and shift investments and jobs to China.
  • Medtronic: The medical device maker cut 500 jobs this past summer and will eliminate another 500 in 2013 because of Obamacare taxes.
  • Smith & Nephew: 770 layoffs.
  • Abbott Laboratories: 700 layoffs.
  • Covidien: 595 layoffs.
  • Kinetic Concepts: 427 layoffs.
  • St. Jude Medical: 300 layoffs.
  • Hill-Rom: 200 layoffs.

And then there are the looming taxes.

The undocumented alien and chronic White House liar (see the ever changing Benghazi narrative, among others) has repeated ad nauseam that he will not raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 ($125,000 or $200,000 or whatever his story is today). But here are some Obamacare taxes kicking in beginning in 2013, most of which will hit both the so-called “rich” and the poor either directly or indirectly.

  • The Obamacare Medical Device Tax is a $20 billion tax increase. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales — whether the company makes a profit or not. This will increase the cost of medical devices like pacemakers, prosthetics and wheelchairs.
  • The Obamacare “Special Needs Kids Tax” is a $13 billion tax increase. It hits the 30 million to 35 million Americans using a work-based Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for basic medical needs by having money removed from their paychecks before taxes, which reduces their taxable income and helps them save on their tax bill. It faces a new cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts have no cap). There are 7 million families in American with special needs children who need care that far exceeds the $2,500, many of them the working poor.
  • The Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income is a $123 billion tax increase. This is a new 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making $250,000 or more ($200,000 for single filer). This will increase the tax on capital gains from 15 percent to 23.8 percent. Capital gains include profits on the sale of a home. In other words, when you sell your house for more than you paid for it, which all homeowners hope to do, you will pay 23.8 percent on the value difference when you sell. It also includes gains made on savings and retirement accounts. The rate paid on dividend income increases from 15 percent to 43.3 percent, as does the rate on other investment income.
  • The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions is a $15.2 billion tax increase. Currently, Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction if expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. The “haircut” raises the threshold to 10 percent. This will most harm those near retirement age and those with modest incomes but high medical bills — like those with special needs children or dealing with catastrophic illness.
  • The Obamacare Payroll Tax Hike is $86.8 billion tax increase. The Medicare payroll tax rate on individuals earning $200,000 ($250,000 for couples) will see their payroll tax increase from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small-business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax.

And even more Obamacare taxes kick hit in 2014.

The bottom line for the average family, according to Forbes.com, is an additional annual cost of $1,261 for the average family, or a diversion of 2.5 percent of the average household’s income in taxes alone. And this doesn’t factor in the additional costs resulting from rising food and product costs and loss of income due to worker hour reductions and job losses.

Obamacare sycophants glommed on to the progressive, government-growing, insurance industry-profiting healthcare reform effort largely because they believed Big Insurance was screwing them over by raising premiums and not paying for certain conditions. Yet those hated insurance companies wrote the law and made sure that those who disdained health insurance — either because they were young and felt they didn’t need it or were financially able to go without it — were forced into the plan, ensuring Big Insurance a whole host of new customers, guaranteeing themselves a large profit and a government treasury to make sure the bills were paid. And those sycophants are just delighted with that outcome.

But if they thought they were drawing the short straw when corporate profits were on the line, wait until they see what they get now that the sociopaths in the dysfunctional government bureaucracy are involved.

Spain Spending its way into the Abyss

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
March 9, 2012

The continuous rise in public spending in Spain is deeply braking the back of the country’s capacity to keep up with one of the most dire economic situations in the Euro zone. In the last 4 years, Spain has not been able to cope with one of the highest unemployment rates in the developed world. The outcome of the worldwide financial crisis that began in 2006 was not helped by the Spanish government’s socialist policies that are limited to increasing government spending in order to meet its obligations.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Much like the socialist government of Barack Obama in the United States, the Prime Minister’s office now headed by Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the Spanish People’s Party, continues to increase the burden known as the public debt. In a recent before the Spanish Congress, the Secretary of Labor, Fátima Bañez García, presented a new plan which seeks to perpetuate the status-quo: promote economic recovery and employment through a government led initiative that balloons public debt and sponsors policies that maintain the welfare state. This model doesn’t seem to work in countries where it was adopted, but for some reason, some European nations, including Spain, believe it is the way to go.

Given the lack of positive results, both the public and private sectors have begun to raise awareness about the unsustainable growth of the debt, which has shed no real solutions to the country’s out of control unemployment problem. Different from other countries in the region, Spain suffers from its skyrocketing 22% unemployment rate — according to official numbers. Depending on what sectors of the economy you look, this number grows even larger. €706 billion have not been enough of a stimulus for the Spanish economy to rebound, mostly because that money is not invested in growing sectors that were once the pillars of a stable nation. Incredibly, Spain’s public debt amounts to more than 60 percent of its gross domestic product — €1.07 trillion — much of which is spent in government operations and welfare programs that yield no significant results.

Currently, Spain’s public debt is larger than the number calculated by the European Union under its standards. Every year, the Spanish government adds mode debt to the deficit but the country does not produce enough to compensate for such spending. According to the Financial Times of London, in 2012 Spain will see an increase of its debt of €60 billion, which is equal to 6 per cent of the GDP. Despite the gigantic commitment made by Rajoy’s government, the amount of euros needed for Spain to keep up with its liabilities and entitlement programs overruns any attempt to overcome them. Meanwhile, the country will have to continue paying bank bailouts, contracts and financing the lives of the dependent classes which continue to rely on the government to get a job, food or any other form of support they need.

Although the government of Spain announced its intention of paying off billions of euros in overdue bills, interest rates on those unpaid bills may grow beyond the reach of the government’s possibilities. It is estimated that Spain’s public debt will soon amount to 87 percent of its GDP, leaving little or no room for error and very little time to implement more effective policies that bring about change to the economy. If the Spanish are not able to lift themselves out of their crisis, the country might need to follow the same path than Greece, which was forced by the European Union to accept financial aid in exchange for remaining as part of the bloc.

In the case of Greece, the infamous bank bailouts did not work, the debt was not liquidated and the country is in an even more dire situation today than it was before the bailouts. As a result of accepting the conditions imposed by the banks, which used the European governments as proxies to operate, Greece has renounced to its financial, economic and social sovereignty, but has not obtained any positive result. Whether Spain will follow in Greece’s steps it is not clear right now, but since the country has already accepted bailout money, it is likely this trend will continue as it happened with their European neighbors.

According to financial experts, Spain’s financial outlook does not look too good. The point of no return — although for many already here — seems to be when Spain’s obligations get to 90 percent of its GDP, a moment when experts say the country will find it difficult to maintain its house in order and to respect its own fiscal policies. As things are going today, some see Spain’s intention to cut its public debt to about 60 percent by 202o as an impossible task.

Incidentally, two of the main reasons why Spain fell into the financial hole it is now are the construction bubble, which exploded just previous to the beginning of the crisis — as it happened in the United States — as well as the adoption of a renewable energy subsidies program under the government of José Luis Zapatero. The program, according to a government report, returned zero euros from investments and instead created a hole in the employment market that cost 2.2 jobs for every job “created” by the state. In other words, for every job that was created by the green energy program sponsored by the Spanish government, the country lost 2.2 job positions.

The economic crisis and the Spanish government involvement in bailout programs that sought to rescue banks in that country made it so the public debt increased to 363 percent of the GDP in 2011.

As it often happens, once governments start to run out of options, they go to the last possible of them: corporate acquisition of public resources. That is, a massive transfer of money and property held by the government in representation of the people, to the hands of large corporations — mostly banks — which are the organizations responsible for the current global financial crisis, but that somehow found fertile land in government to ask for financial bailouts while charging those same governments interests on the money lent to them. In Greece, large corporations are now the owners of much of the country’s patrimony including its islands and major infrastructure. As the months go by and no solutions are presented by the Spanish government to reduce the impact of the ongoing economic depression, which include the liquidation of the debt, it is likely Spain will end giving away its financial and political sovereignty away, as well as handing out its infrastructure and resources to the banks, just as Greece did.

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