Our National Debt

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
I stopped funding my IRA decades ago. Congress has discussed appropriating retirement accounts of all kinds several times over the years. I figure it's just a matter of time before they do. So I just saved my money and invested it, outside of the retirement account system. I'm glad I did that.

Of course, a wealth tax will take away from people's regular savings as well, so there is really no escaping when D.C. is full of evil wolves. When they talk about a wealth tax they make it sound like it would only affect the extremely wealthy... but it wouldn't be long before most everybody who is astute enough to save will get dinged.
 
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Kem

Citizen
When they talk about a wealth tax they make it sound like it would only affect the extremely wealthy... but it wouldn't be long before most everybody who is astute enough to save will get dinged.
Yes anyone with savings will get dinged along with much of the middle class working people because they will be classified as wealthy. The dems speak of taxing the wealthy more heavily but they don't come out and say what level of income or savings will be classified as such. You can be sure it will include anyone whose income is about 70,000 or more even if that is the combined income for both husband and wife.
 

InsuranceGuy

Well-Known Member
EVERY dollar went to a product or service. I’m not saying it was wisely spent. “Wars”? That is not a product or service. Guns, ammo, fuel, food, contract soldiers are where the money goes. As far as how much has left our country into others, it would be a fraction of the debt. Crappy policy and money NOT well spent to be sure. Again, it doesn’t disappear. It goes somewhere.
Healthcare is a service. Drs., nurses, et al are paid. Medicine is purchased, equipment is used. Leases are paid. All to someone or some company. Again, I’ll spent on the ‘wrong’ people? Sure. But spent nonetheless.
Like I said, who is controlling it and where it is spent is the larger problem. IMO
Can't argue with this at all. Healthcare is an issue with me because of the cost. I'm fortunate enough to have great coverage, but still have a ton of bills due to medical costs. I've been to a hospital where they will not allow me to use outside services for MRI's, PET Scans or even bloodwork, even though it is a fraction of the price to do so. At the hospital, an MRI runs in the mid-thousands. At a place like Metro Imaging, they do not have the overhead and after my insurance pays their portion, I only owe typically around $80-$90. The current healthcare systems allows hospitals to decline your treatment (more specifically allows your doctor to decline remaining your doctor) if you use these cheaper alternatives. My doctor explained it is because the overhead of a hospital is completely out of line with reality and so many people cannot pay their hospital bills, they have to make that money up somehow. People with "good" insurance get forced to pay even more to keep the doctor they want. It has happened to me. That is an incredible waste of money for those on Govt. Healthcare. If a child with Cancer is on Medicaid, they HAVE to use the hospital for all their services in many instances. The taxpayer is left paying tens of thousands extra simply because Scans were taken at the hospital instead of a place that only does scanning and has almost zero overhead or wasted money. So many things could be easily fixed, but never will be. Medicine is another issue with me. Do you know how Chemotherapy drugs work? They are sold to the Cancer Center at one price, then market up anywhere from 20 to 40% when sold to you. My Chemo doctor explained it to me and said it was something they had to do in order to make money for the hospital. Their bills aren't enough? Nope. Healthcare needs a total reform of some kind. I've been blessed to "almost" make enough to pay off all my medical bills. I do fairly well, so it makes me so mad I could begin using expletives while typing to think of how many Cancer patients do not get the treatment they need, and deserve, because they are less fortunate financially. There is an easier way to do all this, and cut down on deficit spending, but it will never be done. Nobody in this country can agree on anything.
 

madcat

Well-Known Member
Can't argue with this at all. Healthcare is an issue with me because of the cost. I'm fortunate enough to have great coverage, but still have a ton of bills due to medical costs. I've been to a hospital where they will not allow me to use outside services for MRI's, PET Scans or even bloodwork, even though it is a fraction of the price to do so. At the hospital, an MRI runs in the mid-thousands. At a place like Metro Imaging, they do not have the overhead and after my insurance pays their portion, I only owe typically around $80-$90. The current healthcare systems allows hospitals to decline your treatment (more specifically allows your doctor to decline remaining your doctor) if you use these cheaper alternatives. My doctor explained it is because the overhead of a hospital is completely out of line with reality and so many people cannot pay their hospital bills, they have to make that money up somehow. People with "good" insurance get forced to pay even more to keep the doctor they want. It has happened to me. That is an incredible waste of money for those on Govt. Healthcare. If a child with Cancer is on Medicaid, they HAVE to use the hospital for all their services in many instances. The taxpayer is left paying tens of thousands extra simply because Scans were taken at the hospital instead of a place that only does scanning and has almost zero overhead or wasted money. So many things could be easily fixed, but never will be. Medicine is another issue with me. Do you know how Chemotherapy drugs work? They are sold to the Cancer Center at one price, then market up anywhere from 20 to 40% when sold to you. My Chemo doctor explained it to me and said it was something they had to do in order to make money for the hospital. Their bills aren't enough? Nope. Healthcare needs a total reform of some kind. I've been blessed to "almost" make enough to pay off all my medical bills. I do fairly well, so it makes me so mad I could begin using expletives while typing to think of how many Cancer patients do not get the treatment they need, and deserve, because they are less fortunate financially. There is an easier way to do all this, and cut down on deficit spending, but it will never be done. Nobody in this country can agree on anything.
Agreed !!! And big pharma is also a big part of this equation. IF you could get an itemized pharmacy bill during a hospital stay, you would find that ONE dose of generic Tylenol can be in the hundreds of dollars. Not kidding.
I think I posted in another thread that a new gene therapy drug for Infantile Spinal Muscular Atrophy currently comes at a price tag of 2.1 MILLION dollars PER DOSE. But, hey, that’s a bargain, since their initial predicted cost was FIVE million per dose.
What parent can afford something like that ????? None I know of. :mad: :mad:
 

InsuranceGuy

Well-Known Member
Agreed !!! And big pharma is also a big part of this equation. IF you could get an itemized pharmacy bill during a hospital stay, you would find that ONE dose of generic Tylenol can be in the hundreds of dollars. Not kidding.
I think I posted in another thread that a new gene therapy drug for Infantile Spinal Muscular Atrophy currently comes at a price tag of 2.1 MILLION dollars PER DOSE. But, hey, that’s a bargain, since their initial predicted cost was FIVE million per dose.
What parent can afford something like that ????? None I know of. :mad: :mad:

Not only do they overcharge you for every single medication in a hospital, but my stay during my surgery taught me something new. Each department billed me separately. The food was separate from the actual hospital stay. Each doctor that ONLY walked into my room to introduce themselves billed me for a consultation. There was no consultation. I was billed for one coming in and shaking my hand, introducing himself and saying he was part of the physical therapy unit. He wasn't my physical therapist, but I was billed for a consultation for him shaking my hand. It's thievery.

When I was receiving chemo, I learned a horrible truth. My Chemo Doctor said this in front of my wife and daughter, not just me. He stated my insurance would cover the "good stuff", so I should be fine. He was wrong, but that's another story. I asked what he meant. He said many insurance companies will only pay a set amount for chemo. The Doctor knows full well they cannot afford what they need, so they may be given a much lighter dose or a type of chemo not proven in clinical trials to be very helpful for their type of Cancer. Point blank. So, if you are on a Govt. type of healthcare plan, you are not likely getting the same treatment, nor medication, as someone with private insurance. I was treated like Gold, but only because my insurance is good and they knew they could bilk them for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they did just that.

Also, why is it that a Holiday Inn with full cable tv, a hot tub (Suite), a free breakfast and a large cozy room is around $115 per night, while the hospital room, JUST THE ROOM, cost my insurance roughly $1,400 per day. That was ONLY the room. How is that even possible, or legal? Ok, off my soapbox now. Healthcare reform is a real thing and needs to be addressed. My parents are 72 and almost 76. It pains me to think of them being treated like cattle should something happen and they need medical care. Our Seniors built this country. They fought in wars for us. Many of them died for US. Yet here is our Govt. failing them over and over again. You want to run up the national deficit? Fine. Use the money on healthcare. Stop the big pharmacies from charging hundreds of dollars for a pill it cost them $12 to manufacture. As a Nation, we deserve better. I shouldn't be complaining as I have it better than most. It's a blessing. That said, I'm an empathetic person and it literally makes me want to punch someone when I go by a hospital room and I KNOW that patient isn't receiving the same kind of care as I am.

P.S. - I got so mad during my biopsies last Thursday I now have to see an SSM Psychiatrist or they won't treat me there anymore. LOL They had a Resident Doctor digging in my neck with needles for an hour. They never said he was a Resident and not truly a Doctor yet. Normally they ask you if they can assist. I wasn't asked. After he let blood flow all over the side of my neck, face and down the front of me, I got mad. When I found out he was only a Resident, and this was his FIRST biopsy (under guidance from two other doctors though), I sorta got mad. I told him I needed a break for a minute as anxiety was kicking in. He told me, very coldly, that wasn't possible as he wasn't finished. I started to raise up from the table and he put his hand on my chest to push me back down. Ummm, no. I grabbed his hand and told him my fate is already sealed, so being their test subject is bad enough, but NOBODY is going to put their hand on me and tell me what I can and can't do. He turned ghostly white and took about three large steps backwards. I got off the table, put on my clothes and walked to the bathroom across the hall to wash the blood off myself. Then I went home. My new Doctor called me about 4 hours later asking what happened. She agreed they should have not had a Resident doing a complicated biopsy, but said that doctor spoke with someone at the hospital saying I was "intimidating" him and filed some type of complaint. So, beginning October 7th, I have to see a shrink for my "anxiety" issues. What's that? More money for big pharma and the hospital? Exactly.
 

InsuranceGuy

Well-Known Member
The reform I'd like to see is to have the Federal govt leave it entirely, except for the military/VA system.
I was never in the Military. I tried though. I couldn't pass the medical inspection/test. Apparently they look into your medical history. When I was 16 I was beaten up pretty severely and in a coma for 3 days. The Recruiter said because I was unconscious for a period of 24 hours or more, I would not qualify. The respect I have for Military men & women is more than I can explain. My dad is a Vietnam Vet and I'm the first male in the family to not have been in the Military. I'm a war buff and love reading about any wars, recent or ancient history. What our men & women give is beyond expectations. The Govt., and we as citizens, should always make certain our Veterans are well taken care of. They have earned the right to the absolute best care possible for what they've done for us. I've had people disagree with me there, but how is it I have such good healthcare and I'm in an office, yet they have lousy healthcare and are holding a gun in a foreign land? That's just absurd. If there are to be tiers, I should NOT be in the tier with better healthcare than our Military.
 

madcat

Well-Known Member
Not only do they overcharge you for every single medication in a hospital, but my stay during my surgery taught me something new. Each department billed me separately. The food was separate from the actual hospital stay. Each doctor that ONLY walked into my room to introduce themselves billed me for a consultation. There was no consultation. I was billed for one coming in and shaking my hand, introducing himself and saying he was part of the physical therapy unit. He wasn't my physical therapist, but I was billed for a consultation for him shaking my hand. It's thievery.

When I was receiving chemo, I learned a horrible truth. My Chemo Doctor said this in front of my wife and daughter, not just me. He stated my insurance would cover the "good stuff", so I should be fine. He was wrong, but that's another story. I asked what he meant. He said many insurance companies will only pay a set amount for chemo. The Doctor knows full well they cannot afford what they need, so they may be given a much lighter dose or a type of chemo not proven in clinical trials to be very helpful for their type of Cancer. Point blank. So, if you are on a Govt. type of healthcare plan, you are not likely getting the same treatment, nor medication, as someone with private insurance. I was treated like Gold, but only because my insurance is good and they knew they could bilk them for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they did just that.

Also, why is it that a Holiday Inn with full cable tv, a hot tub (Suite), a free breakfast and a large cozy room is around $115 per night, while the hospital room, JUST THE ROOM, cost my insurance roughly $1,400 per day. That was ONLY the room. How is that even possible, or legal? Ok, off my soapbox now. Healthcare reform is a real thing and needs to be addressed. My parents are 72 and almost 76. It pains me to think of them being treated like cattle should something happen and they need medical care. Our Seniors built this country. They fought in wars for us. Many of them died for US. Yet here is our Govt. failing them over and over again. You want to run up the national deficit? Fine. Use the money on healthcare. Stop the big pharmacies from charging hundreds of dollars for a pill it cost them $12 to manufacture. As a Nation, we deserve better. I shouldn't be complaining as I have it better than most. It's a blessing. That said, I'm an empathetic person and it literally makes me want to punch someone when I go by a hospital room and I KNOW that patient isn't receiving the same kind of care as I am.

P.S. - I got so mad during my biopsies last Thursday I now have to see an SSM Psychiatrist or they won't treat me there anymore. LOL They had a Resident Doctor digging in my neck with needles for an hour. They never said he was a Resident and not truly a Doctor yet. Normally they ask you if they can assist. I wasn't asked. After he let blood flow all over the side of my neck, face and down the front of me, I got mad. When I found out he was only a Resident, and this was his FIRST biopsy (under guidance from two other doctors though), I sorta got mad. I told him I needed a break for a minute as anxiety was kicking in. He told me, very coldly, that wasn't possible as he wasn't finished. I started to raise up from the table and he put his hand on my chest to push me back down. Ummm, no. I grabbed his hand and told him my fate is already sealed, so being their test subject is bad enough, but NOBODY is going to put their hand on me and tell me what I can and can't do. He turned ghostly white and took about three large steps backwards. I got off the table, put on my clothes and walked to the bathroom across the hall to wash the blood off myself. Then I went home. My new Doctor called me about 4 hours later asking what happened. She agreed they should have not had a Resident doing a complicated biopsy, but said that doctor spoke with someone at the hospital saying I was "intimidating" him and filed some type of complaint. So, beginning October 7th, I have to see a shrink for my "anxiety" issues. What's that? More money for big pharma and the hospital? Exactly.

I hear you !!!!! I have had surgeries in teaching hospitals, but have always been informed of who would actually be doing the procedure, and I signed if I agreed to allow a resident to participate. I don’t mind them “closing” or something simple WITH supervision, but not the BIG stuff.
You may not want to fool with it, but you can file a formal rebuttal complaint to the hospital, and state medical licensing board, as well as your personal medical insurance. At least you will be on record with your defense of trying to be forced to endure excessive pain inflicted by an unqualified person you did not authorize to treat you. And that you have every right to stop the action and walk away.
But I’m sure you are afraid of retaliation, and that’s a valid issue.
I have a friend who has a masters and doctorate in health care law, so advice is “available” should you ever need it.;)
 

Kem

Citizen
I grabbed his hand and told him my fate is already sealed, so being their test subject is bad enough, but NOBODY is going to put their hand on me and tell me what I can and can't do. He turned ghostly white and took about three large steps backwards. I got off the table, put on my clothes and walked to the bathroom across the hall to wash the blood off myself.
I'm very glad you did that! Doctors have no right to treat people as their personal guinea pigs. My youngest was injured in the Philippians back when Subic Bay was a Marine base over there. When he got back to the states he was required to see a VA doctor every couple of months to evaluate his knee for receiving his disability pay, tiny though it is. After several visits he saw a different doctor who grabbed his knee cap and dislocated it. My son's fist was about 2 inches from the doctor's nose when he decided he better not deliver the punch. He never had to go back and I think the doctor might be shaking in his boots still. lol My son is 6'2" and every inch is muscle. lol
 

twerpv

Well-Known Member
I am no big government guy. Less is more for me. But the Teamsters?! The UAW?! Talk about corruption. So the innocent unions just got robbed by the government? Um no. The Unions wasted and stole that money. Isn’t the whole job of Union leadership is to look out for the workers? My view is that the unions create and encourage animosity between a company and workers. It just doesn’t work out for them if there is a culture of working together. It is exactly like how the Democrats CANNOT have poor people actually achieve. If they did, they wouldn’t ‘need’ the Democrats.
 

InsuranceGuy

Well-Known Member
I am no big government guy. Less is more for me. But the Teamsters?! The UAW?! Talk about corruption. So the innocent unions just got robbed by the government? Um no. The Unions wasted and stole that money. Isn’t the whole job of Union leadership is to look out for the workers? My view is that the unions create and encourage animosity between a company and workers. It just doesn’t work out for them if there is a culture of working together. It is exactly like how the Democrats CANNOT have poor people actually achieve. If they did, they wouldn’t ‘need’ the Democrats.

So, I can speak on this one fairly well. My dad was the Treasurer for the Teamsters under Hoffa Jr. The Teamsters WERE corrupt. Big time. How do you think Las Vegas was built? Yep, with money from the Teamsters pension funds. Guess what though? That money was paid back.
In the 2006(ish, give or take a year here as my memory is horrible) time frame, their pension fund was reviewed like all pension funds are. They had an excess of money to not only cover all the current folks retiring, but a major surplus to cover future workers who had not even paid into the system yet. They not only got their money back from being shady and dealing with mobsters, they got interest on that money. That money was put away in a completely separate fund after CF, Roadway and Yellow all went under and/or merged with other companies. Here we are a decade later and there is almost nothing left. Where did it go? The Teamsters aren't "lending" money to anyone anymore. They haven't done so in 30 years. Those days are long gone since the Federal Govt. got involved and put a stop to it. So, how can BILLIONS be missing from their retirement fund?
Same for the UAW. How can their pension be cut by 2/3? They weren't nearly as shady as the Teamsters. Not only did their pension money disappear, it happened literally a year after they gave thousands of workers an early retirement option. You can't offer that without the pension fund being Federally reviewed. Where did their BILLIONS go?!
And for more..... The teachers pension fund in Detroit somehow came up short. Again, by a billion dollars. Where did this go?

My thoughts - It was taken. It was taken by our Government, which is why none of the above mentioned places were allowed to be sued over the missing pension funds.

Right now, the Illinois teachers pension fund is short. Fortunately, the average age of the teacher is well below retirement age. They will have a massive shortage too.

Where is the pension money going? Are ALL these places corrupt? I completely agree, and know full well, the Teamsters were one of the most corrupt organizations going. I could tell you stories you have never read in any newspaper. They were involved in more than the trucking of goods going to local stores. lol I know this for an absolute fact. The one thing they did not do though was mess over their own. Those truckers were very well protected. A trucker in Arizona considered the trucker in Philly to be his brother. Keep in mind, people were murdered when crossing picket lines and/or replacement workers were brought in during their early strikes. Was a Teamster ever charged? Nope. They stuck together, for better or worse. The Teamsters were not in control of the pension fund after the Big 3 (CF, Roadway & Yellow) were gone. That money didn't disappear because it was given away. It was flatly taken. I could be wrong as to who did it, but considering most of the pension funds across the country are somehow now "underfunded", it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see who would have access to ALL of them.

I'll even agree the Unions create animosity. No doubt. There was a huge need for them after WW2 though and they served a great purpose back in the day. Today, my feelings on them are much different. They aren't "needed" anymore and are nearly obsolete. The remaining ones have no true power anymore. I was in the Steelworkers (Local 9012) for 5 years and the Teamsters Local 600 for a short period of time before the companies started being merged/sold. I saw firsthand how they encouraged employees to fight with management. They even had Union Attorneys on standby if something didn't go their way. Have a soda with me sometime. I'll gladly tell you some stories that will make your head spin. I can't vouch for them all, but quite a few I witnessed with my own eyes, like the trucks hauling things that were very unamerican.....
 

Kem

Citizen
It was taken. It was taken by our Government, which is why none of the above mentioned places were allowed to be sued over the missing pension funds.
Completely agree! Also agree that while unions were once needed and useful, they are no longer a good thing at all. When I worked at Mercy Hospital, the nurses became unionized and I put off joining as long as I could get away with it because I felt it was wrong.
 

twerpv

Well-Known Member
Then where in the world was union ‘leadership?’ Stop with defending anything in union leadership. Just stop.
Hey, those joining unions! The leadership will NOT and has NEVER looked out for you. Just a lesson whenever anyone says ‘ just pay us X and we will guarantee Y’. RUN’ RUN AWAY! You do not have to be a genius to know this. You do have to want to hear what you want to hear to believe it though. Itching ears....
 
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