Obamacare by any other name – Oh, what a tangled web

IFO had hoped to ignore the whole Medicare thing, but she recently got a form letter from Social Security/Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS].

That combination should give you a clue already about how messed up the federal entitlement programs have become. We (IFO) always thought SS was a separate program – a pension-type program that you paid into as a working person and got back when you retired.

Pardon me while we laugh hysterically.

SS is nothing but a pay as you go welfare program for “all” and then some. That is, it is not just for retirees, it is for more and more separate classes of people who are “entitled” by Congress to get financial goodies from Uncle Sugar.

At the same time, words have been changing meanings faster than we can keep up with them. Example:

Medicare Savings Program – doesn’t that sound a little like a HSA, Health Savings Account? IOW, money that you can have in a bank account with your name on it? Well, it’s not. It is not an account of any kind – savings or other.

Some of IFO’s younger readers may not be aware that Medicare A premiums are automatically deducted as soon as you get SS. Then, you pay extra “premiums” to get Medicare B and Medicare D for drugs, if you elect to have that “insurance.”

Here’s a site that can explain more for you: There’s even an audio version, in case you can’t read. https://www.mymedicarematters.org/costs/getting-help-with-costs/ BTW, note the “My X Matters” construct. Where have you seen/heard that before?

What this actually is, after cutting through the verbiage, is a way to shift costs, once again, from one group of people to another. Why do you suppose this program exists? To expand a government program to pay insurance companies.

Oh, you thought IFO was going to say money to pay poor people? [laughing hysterically again] They are paying “your premiums!” Does it go to you? Of course not, silly.

Also, this SS/CMS letter is an effort to get more people “enrolled.” You see, people just aren’t cooperating and signing up for all that “insurance.” When and if they do, that will be called a success for Obamacare. See? More people have signed up!

If all that isn’t enough, there is “Extra Help” to pay for drugs. You have probably already figured out that THAT money goes to drug companies- known in some circles as Big Pharma.

There are income and resource limits, of course. Wouldn’t want rich people to get these “benefits” would you? But don’t worry too much about eligibility: “your house, car and up to $1500 per person in burial expenses do not count as resources.”

As IFO noted FIVE YEARS AGO, nobody tells you that the “premiums” you currently are “paying” [yes, everything is in air quotes, since the words don’t mean what the ordinary person might think they mean] get taken out of your basic SS monthly payment. AND that, if the “premium” payments exceed your SS payment, the government will bill you for the difference.

Home Affordable Programs.  These programs are paying banks to hold your mortgage, even if you don’t make monthly payments yourself, or are late, or whatever. Of course, it’s not all gravy for the banks. They are being encouraged to make those bad loans financial pundits were berating them for during the recent “housing crisis.”

You remember? People are still calling for heads to roll. “Why aren’t people in jail?” goes the cry.

Credit Card Programs. One final example, just in case you think IFO is only angry at government programs. She just got the fine print pamphlet on a Credit Card Disclosure Statement. Here we learn there are extra fees for getting cash from a bank check, a cash advance or an ATM.

There are other fees for Promotional Discounts, credit card balance transfers (you know, consolidate your high interest credit card debt and give it to the new credit card with “low” interest rates), and more.

What do we learn from this? Don’t get into debt. Don’t get sick. Don’t trust the government. Be aware that most, if not all, welfare DOES NOT go to the poor themselves. Yes, it pays their bills, but that encourages them to buy more stuff with no clue as to what it takes to actually buy it.

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About InvestingforOne

I've been investing in various assets by myself using a discount broker for many years. Over that time, I've developed some theories that others might find useful. Plus, there is more to investing than money. Time, talent, work, friends, family all go into developing a good and satisfactory strategy.
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