(FEDERALJACK) The National Security Agency isn’t the only American organization upsetting some Germans. The US Federal Reserve holds 45 percent of Germany’s gold assets, and a plan to bring much of that back to its homeland is in jeopardy. Efforts to transport or even audit the billions of dollars worth of precious metal held by the US are being impeded by politics and the Fed itself, creating frustration for many of the plans supporters.
(FOXNEWS) People in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico may not be grappling with the botched Obamacare website rollout, but the program could spell disaster for the island, which is facing a financial crisis and where half the population already is dependent on free health insurance, members of the island’s medical community warned.
Puerto Ricans, who are born U.S. citizens, do not enroll on the healthcare.gov because their government decided not to offer health-insurance exchanges, which offers private plans.
Instead, the Affordable Care Act, commonly dubbed Obamacare, has mostly arrived on the island in the form of a $6.3 billion social welfare check allocated to the government to continue to pay for its Medicaid and for its separate, free state-run insurance program called “Mi Salud,” between 2014 and 2019.
And that could be disastrous for Puerto Rico.
Roughly 1.7 million Puerto Ricans already depend on free health insurance in the island and local doctors are concerned that the additional financial infusion to the program will make the territory even more dependent on welfare.
Critics in the medical community said the move could prove to be a disaster, considering the U.S. territory is already deemed as the “Next Detroit” and “America’s Greece.”
The island’s government is over $70 billion in debt and about 45 percent of Puerto Ricans have incomes below the U.S. federal poverty line and nearly 40 percent of all households receive food stamps.
Despite the bleak economic outlook, Puerto Rico’s surprisingly low 7.2 percent uninsured rate is actually second-lowest compared to all states, behind Massachusetts.
“Our healthcare system is going to be entirely a welfare system,” warned Dr. Guillermo Tirada, an internal medicine specialist in Puerto Rico for 18 years. “It’s sad.”
Because of its U.S. territory status, Obamacare gave Puerto Rico the choice to either allocate $925 million dollars — of the total $6.3 billion package destined to the island — toward establishing health care insurance exchanges or to opt to use the money to fund its Medicaid program until 2019.
The nearly bankrupt government took the second option and is channeling the funds through “Mi Salud,” something critics like Dr. Tirada said was a wrong and desperate step in the government’s desperate search for temporary financial relief.
The move, critics said, takes Puerto Rico further away from a free market privatized health care system and speeds up the ongoing exodus of doctors, who are flocking to the U.S. mainland in search of higher salaries and better reimbursements from insurers.
According to Puerto Rico’s Medical Licensing and Studies Board, the number of doctors in Puerto Rico dropped by 13 percent in the last five years, from 11,397 to 9,950. The biggest loss was among primary care physicians and specialists.
Dr. Jesus Alvarez, a “maternal fetal medicine specialist,” left the island in April. He was one of just five MFM specialists on the island and is now working at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey.
“The reimbursement from Medicaid and Mi Salud is abysmal and the public hospitals don’t have the infrastructure to deal with an influx of patients and regulations,” Dr. Alvarez said. “For the physicians to survive, they can see 20 patients in one day in the U.S., but in Puerto Rico they have to see 50.”
Ricardo Rivera, Puerto Rico’s point person in managing the island’s Obamacare funding, denied that the objective is government-sponsored universal health care access.
“The end goal is to improve the economy,” he told Fox News Latino. “And as people find jobs they will move out of the ‘Mi Salud’ program and into private insurance plans.”
Another major concern for doctors like Alvarez and Tirada is that the Puerto Rican government has hired a third party private insurance company, Triple S, to handle claims, billing, and the ins and outs of the government’s public insurance program.
Tirada said putting Obamacare money in the hands of just one private insurance company is going to put profits ahead of patients and physicians.
“The more claims that get denied, the more money the government will save and the more money the private insurer will make,” Alvarez said.
But Rivera, who holds the position of executive director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration, said that he’s just as concerned about smart expenditures as anyone else.
“I’m in line with the doctors,” he said, adding that he currently has 16 auditing programs running through his office to make sure those under Medicaid and Mi Salud get quality services.
“I cannot just go on the word of a manage care organization, they have all the incentive in the world to lie to me,” he said.
For now, Puerto Rico has the funding to continue offering public health services, but with unemployment hovering around 15 percent and with 55 percent of the population out of the labor force, the question is how will the island sustain its health care system past 2019.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen but we’re not alone,” said Rivera. “We have 50 other states asking the same questions.”
Bottom line, he said, it’s about striking a balance.
“We are trying to approach how can we maximize all the resources around us and we need the private sector.”
(TELEGRAPH) All great empires – from the Greek, to the Roman, the Spanish and the British – have at their heart a dominant means of exchange which is very much part of their political and social hegemony. Once upon a time, it was Roman coinage which was the world’s pre-eminent currency. In more recent times it was the British pound. Today, it’s the US dollar to which international investors flock as a safe haven for their money. Highly liquid and apparently reliable – until recently at least – nothing else comes even remotely close to the greenback’s dominant position in the international monetary system.
That this position – what Giscard d’Estaing referred to as America’s “exorbitant privilege” – could so casually be put at risk by politicians on Capitol Hill is an extraordinary spectacle that may be indicative of a great power already seriously on the wane.
With the pound, the fall from grace was swift. Britain emerged from the devastation of the First World War an irreparably damaged economic and military power, with crushing debts and a deeply impaired manufacturing sector.
The dollar was able quickly to usurp the pound’s position. Final defeat for sterling came with Britain’s decision to leave the gold standard in 1931 – an economically sensible decision but a psychological turning point for sterling from which it never recovered.
(N3) Karen Hudes exposes The World Bank. It is one of the world’s largest financial institutions and it consists of 5 major organizations that’s said to represent 188 nations from around the world. Its stated purpose focuses on investing in the development of third-world nations and lending interest-free loans to middle- and low-income countries.
According to the World Bank, there are two goals that have been set to be achieved by the year 2030. These include decreasing the amount of people living on less than $1.25 a day to less than 3% and fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% of every country. Are these goals sensible for the World Bank to accomplish? And, more importantly, can they be successfully achieved in the midst of a significant shift in the global currency market?
To help us break down the global financial giant known as the World Bank and how you can protect your finances during this seemingly unstable global market, we are joined by Karen Hudes, who claims to be a former senior councilwoman at the World Bank and the latest in a long string of whistleblowers exposing corruption.
Man offered credit card alters the contract and returns it to bank… and is now suing them for £500,000 as they failed to read the small print and did not follow the terms
(DAILY MAIL) A customer who altered a credit card contract without the provider noticing is now suing the bank – for breaching his own terms and conditions.
Russian Dmitry Argarkov, 42, wasn’t happy with the credit card terms being offered by Tinkoff Credit Systems so he scanned the document into his computer and made a few changes.
His more favourable terms included unlimited credit, zero per cent interest and no bank fees or fines.
He also added a clause that he could fine the bank three million ruples – around £588 – every time the company failed to comply with the rules and a further six million ruples – £117 – if they tried to terminate the contract.
Mr Argarkov, from Voronezh, Russia, then sent the amended contract back to Tinkoff which didn’t pick up on the alterations and returned him the signed paperwork along with a credit card.
(FEDERALJACK) There is a plan to overwhelm the system so that it collapses. Food stamp use has almost doubled under the Obama administration. They are running radio ads to encourage people to sign up for food stamps, and even making Spanish soap operas push the program in their story lines.
(RT) Four out of five US adults come to grips with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least some parts of their lives. Over 41 percent of the nation’s poor are whites, according to a new report.
In 2011, 46.2 million people in the US were living in poverty and the nation’s official poverty rate was 15 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, according to the US Census Bureau. That figure appears to be the highest number seen in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been recorded.
Although poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are proportionately nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white, the latest report shows. Economic insecurity among whites is said to be more common than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing over 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by Oxford University Press.
Pessimism has been steadily growing across the country, with 63 percent of whites describing the US economy as ‘poor’ in the most recent AP-GfK poll. It’s believed that he growing gap between rich and poor and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs are to blame.
“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” a Buchanan County resident, 52-year-old Irene Salyers said, adding that where she lives children have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”
Almost one out of sixteen people in the USA are living in deep poverty. The risks of poverty have been growing in recent decades, especially among people aged 35-55. For instance, people aged 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during 1969-1989; the risk increased to 23 percent during the period 1989-2009.
Over 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for over 41 percent of the US destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks, according to the survey data revealed by AP. By 2030 up to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the US will experience economic insecurity.
Although by race, non-whites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest increases under the newer measure are among whites, with over 76 percent experiencing bouts of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.
The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to one in 10, putting them at higher risk of teenage pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, compared with 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the US has been declining.
The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children went from 38 percent to 39 percent.
According to the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity Feeding America, over 16 million children under the age of 18 (21 percent) were in poverty in 2011.
“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty William Julius Wilson told AP.
“There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,” he warned.
(FEDERALJACK) On this edition of DTRH Popeye spends the first hour talking with fellow member of Federal Jack, hacker, and friend Alex. They go over what Hack Miami is, the 2013 Hacker Convention in Miami, the future of Bitcoin in the wake of the DHS seizure of funds from Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange, and more. In hour two Popeye covers the TPP or Trans Pacific Partnership and what it potentially means to everyone in any country involved; Police brutality, in this case cops in Florida running over a man for not wearing a seatbelt, and cops in California who just kick in a door, no warrant, and taze the residents in the house. Ending the broadcast on a positive note Popeye plays INCHES, and reminds everyone that “THE SOLUTIONS TO OUR PROBLEMS ARE AN INSIDE JOB.”
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(RT) Cities across the country are shutting down schools as way to deal with budget deficits. In cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, government officials say the closures are a last resort. Meanwhile, millions of dollars are being directed toward building a new prison and basketball arena, among other things.