Category Archives: cost of healthcare

26/3/20: Why "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" Can’t Fix America

I have written extensively about the fact that U.S. public has severely restricted access to healthcare and other basic services, primarily because of the illusion of insurance: the fact that many people in the U.S., even when covered pro-forma by insurance contracts, have no cash to cover the massive deductibles carried by these contracts.

Here is some recent (2018) evidence on the fact, via

"AARP's latest study tracking U.S. household savings is based on a “yes” or “no” response to the following question: “Does your household have an emergency savings account?” ... A majority of respondents answered "no," and even respondents who answered "yes" may not have a significant amount saved."

  • "...researchers note, "A broad interpretation of the question could count any plan for coping with an emergency, including borrowing from family and friends, as having an emergency savings account. Under this interpretation, even a household without savings in cash or a bank account may still answer 'yes' to the survey question."
  • "Fed data shows that 40% of US households would not be able to come up with $400 for an emergency expense," Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Torsten Sløk notes.
Now, average deductible for U.S. healthcare insurance plan is now in excess of $1700 per person per annum. That is more than 4 times the $400 amount referenced in the Fed study.

Look at  higher earners in this:

A full quarter of those with household incomes in excess of $150,000 have no emergency savings. These families are  not covered by the Congressional aid passed yesterday. For those who are covered, the entire package will not cover average health insurance deductibles for two people in a household, let alone leave any money to help with rents, mortgages, utility and credit cards payments. 

16/12/19: There is no Inflation, folks… none…

There is no inflation, folks. This is what the Fed been telling us for some time now. And the CPI figures, on aggregate, say the same.

Unless it is if you need health services or health insurance, or if you happen to *want* education. These discretionary items of spending, avoidable by choice of a prudent consumer, are, of course, exceptions to the rule...

Note, of course, the standard inflation measurements of price changes in healthcare are a bit obscure too, as they average-out effects of private insurance inflation by adding old-age and low-income insurance purchases by the state:

But, never mind, as I said above, these are purely discretionary spending items, so we should not let them cloud out the net official results that show 'no inflation'.