Your Questions About The Entitlement Trap

Mark asks…

Obama doesn’t want to deal with real economic issues?

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49613.html

When it comes to curbing the debt, Obama looked to cut a fraction of discretionary spending (yet not defense which is part of discretionary), yet ignored the fact that our mandatory spending which is 2/3s of our budget, an item that used to be a quarter of our spending in the 70’s, which has grown, and is expected to become more costly if left idle. SS, medicare, and medicaid being thy main items for our expenditures, whether they need to be eliminated or simply reformed, not looking at these items means not looking at the debt problem.

http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33074_20100216.pdf
(mandatory spending)

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/14/debt-now-equals-total-us-economy/?page=1
(US debt now equals, entire US economy)

“Mr. Obama‘s budget projects that 2011 will see the biggest one-year debt jump in history, or nearly $2 trillion, to reach $15.476 trillion by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.”

“In one often-cited study, economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have argued that when a nation’s gross debt passes 90 percent it hinders overall economic growth.”

No surprise though these items are considered political suicide, and the article describes it perfectly with setting the entitlements trap. Anyways, what are your thoughts on the articles after you read them, on the topic at hand? What should be done about these items?

richmama answers:

Obama stated that he wants to cut incrementally and in the budget, he eliminated some programs that didn’t work and combined them with programs that did work. However, I am still in the camp that a combination of spending cuts and tax increases have to be made to generate enough revenue to pay off debt. So, I am okay with the level of cuts Obama proposes but I don’t like where he is cutting. At any rate, the debt is choking our ability to grow the economy at a rate that it needs to grow. However, investments in education and infrastructure still have to be made as we are falling dreadfully behind the rest of the world. Since Obama’s budget included tax increases as well as cuts, the plan is on the right track. Let’s hope Republicans are serious about this issue as well.

Daniel asks…

What’s the chance we will have a FEMALE president in 2012?

Sarah Palin is still around & aggressive Michele Bachmann is a fav with the tea parties & more Libertarian of mind. I mean the only viable male RNC candidate the RNC has to offer would be Ron Paul & they trashed Ron for good. There’s the ole standby fill in politicians like Romney & McSame but there as marxist or more than Obama is. Obama still has a following but completely failed to drastically reduce the size of federal government & the related union influence.
With the American public increasingly weary of the government entitlement programs trap & sick & tired of the lack of government transparency with the fed reserve, will Bachmann &/or Palin be seen as the answer to curb the run away federal government by the constituency?

richmama answers:

There are currently no females in a good position to run successfully. If you study economics and understand the current state of our country, then the candidate that makes the most sense is Dr. Ron Paul by far. The bottom-line is that the candidate that raises the most money will usually win. Dr. Ron Paul has actually raised more money than any Republican in history. But only time will tell… You never know what will happen until it happens when it comes to politics.

Mary asks…

Are Entitlements the banana in the monkey trap?

For those of you who’s never heard of a monkey trap
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=monkey%20trap

The monkey could run to safety at any time by releasing the banana. However, because of his refusal to let go of the bait, he looses his freedom AND the bait.
… who’ve …

richmama answers:

Or the fact that 47% pay no federal income tax!!!

Sandra asks…

Is it bad that I switched parties from Democrat to Republican?

I used to be a Democrat and elected to the AS House of Representatives for the Black Student’s 2nd district here at my school. My husband, who was the Republican AS Senator for the Gay-Straight Alliance club at the time, convinced me that the GOP is the only party that will help young, black Americans get out of the cycle of entitlement dependency that the left has us trapped in.

richmama answers:

It is a sign of maturity and a good move.

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How to Lower Your Medical Bills

Tips to Negotiate Lower Medical Bills

 

Do you want lower medical bills?  With health care costs spiraling out of control, it’s natural to want to lower your medical spending.  According to Consumer Reports, only 31% of Americans try to negotiate the price of medical bills, but those who do usually succeed in saving big money. These are some methods that will help you lower medical bills:

 

Understanding Your Medical Bills – Discounts and Charges

  1. Become familiar with routine discounts. Doctors and hospitals typically give discounts of as much as 60% to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies. As an individual, you may have less leverage than the big payers, but you can usually save significant money by negotiating and asking for a discount.
  2. Look for the CPT code. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are the standard codes maintained by the American Medical Association. They’re what billing departments use to determine the charges for any procedure. Once you know the CPT codes, you can comparison shop. How cool is that?  Of course, we know not all medical care is the same, but it’s good to find out what an average or reasonable rate is.
  3. Get Comfortable with Negotiating your Medical Bills – Many health care providers are getting used to patients taking a more active role in controlling their spending. Millions of people have lost their insurance coverage along with their jobs. Even those who are insured are often paying more in out of pocket charges than ever before. So join the crowd and start wheeling and dealing.

Selecting Lower-Cost  Treatments

  1. Talk with your doctor. While billing departments are important, it’s your doctor who orders the services so let them know your financial limits. Avoid taking it personally if you encounter any resistance. Physicians may feel uncomfortable discussing money and may assume that your insurance covers more than it really does. It’s ok to push back and ask if the test is really necessary.
  2. Always Opt for generic drugs. Generic drugs are any easy way to save money. Most contain the same ingredients as the brand name formulas but they cost much less. This one step can dramatically lower your medical bills.

Negotiating Medical Bills and  Payments

Make up-front payments. Offering to pay by cash or check in advance is usually the best way to get a sizeable discount. Even doctors find cash is king. In exchange for bypassing insurance reimbursements or collections agencies, many providers will cut your bill by 20% or more.

Base your proposed payment on Medicare charges. Medicare payments are a great starting point for calculating your own expenses. Once you know your CPT code, look up the Medicare payments in your geographical area at the American Medical Association website or call around to the billing departments of local medical centers. Paying 25% more than Medicare is reasonable for most procedures.

Always Review your bills. This goes for all bill types but – Industry experts estimate that up to 85% of medical bills contain one or more errors. Ask for itemized bills and review them carefully. It may be helpful to arrange conference calls with the hospital and your insurance company to conduct a full analysis.

Ask about interest free payment plans. Obviously, paying by credit cards costs a patient more in the long run if interest accumulates. The provider also has to pay the transaction fees so they may be willing to give you a zero interest payment plan if you’re paying cash.

Hire a medical advocate. Medical advocates charge a fee for their services but the savings can be worthwhile, especially for large hospital bills. After all, they know the way around medical bills. Typically, you’ll pay a flat fee or 25% to 35% of the amount by which they reduce your total bills. You can find advocates in your area through free online directories at organizations like the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants.

Learn how to get discounts on your medical bills so you’ll be in a better position to afford the care that you and your family need. By shopping around and offering up-front payments, you could save thousands of dollars. Saving on your medical bills can really add up – and put a lot more money in your pocket.