Healthcare costs rise again, and the burden continues to shift to workers
By Noam N. Levey
American workers saw their out-of-pocket medical costs jump again this year, as the average deductible for an employer-provided health plan surged nearly 9% in 2015 to more than $1,000, a major new survey of employers shows.
The annual increase, though lower than in previous years’, far outpaced wage growth and overall inflation and marked the continuation of a trend that in just a few years has dramatically shifted healthcare costs to workers.
Over the past decade, the average deductible that workers must pay for medical care before their insurance kicks in has more than tripled from $303 in 2006 to $1,077 today, according to the report from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.
That is seven times faster than wages have risen in the same period.
“It’s a quiet revolution,” said foundation president Drew Altman. “When deductibles are rising seven times faster than wages … it means that people can’t pay their rent. … They can’t buy their gas. They can’t eat.”
By comparison, workers’ wages increased 1.9% between April 2014 and April 2015, according to federal data analyzed by the report’s authors. Consumer prices declined 0.2%.
Raising deductibles and co-pays has traditionally been a way for employers to keep premiums in check.
And the new report shows that premium growth remained modest in 2015.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Not could, but rather will.
Russia-China Alliance Could Launch New World Order
By Ivan Nechepurenko
Jun. 15 2015 21:05
Amid the fanfare and fireworks of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations in May, President Vladimir Putin held a prolific round of talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, signing 32 deals aimed at further shoring up ties between two superpowers unimpressed with Western dominance in the international community.
Key among these agreements was the decision by Putin and Xi to link their countries’ key integration projects: the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. “Essentially, we seek ultimately to reach a new level of partnership that will create a common economic space across the entire Eurasian continent,” Putin said of the agreement after the talks.
So long as this deal proves capable of materializing beyond diplomatic rhetoric, it will have long-lasting consequences for international relations at large, analysts interviewed by The Moscow Times said. Furthermore, by agreeing to deal directly with the Eurasian Economic Union, China has moved to dispel speculation that Putin is interested only in restoring Russia’s former Soviet glory, experts said. Finally, the deal reveals a lack of desire on behalf of both countries to create a Cold War-like atmosphere, wherein Moscow and Beijing would find themselves competing against one another for influence in Central Asia.
Both countries come into the deal with plenty to offer the other. China has an enormous construction industry and manpower to match. In view of a decrease in the number of large-scale projects at home, these resources could be used to help build up transportation links and infrastructure throughout Eurasia.
In turn, Russia brings to the table diplomatic experience and security expertise specific to Central Asia.
“The logic of the Russia-China relationship has changed. A strategic partnership between the two has become a reality. Other states will have to learn how to deal with this new reality,” said Alexander Gabuyev, chairman of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the respected Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.
Fed Facade Fails: Everything Suddenly Questioned
Tyler Durden on 09/22/2015 09:34 -0400
Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man.com,
Triangle Breakout Failure?
The stock market’s initial reaction to the FOMC announcement was interesting, to say the least. After receiving the umpteenth excuse as to why rates can still not be raised, coupled with a promise that they eventually will be, the market initially rallied on Thursday. And why wouldn’t it? More free money is good for stocks, right?
The Eccles Building, home of the FOMC – Meetings
The rally only lasted for one hour though. In the final hour of trading, the market sold off and closed in negative territory. On Friday, the sell-off intensified somewhat. By Friday’s close, the SPX had lost more than 60 points from its Thursday intra-day high, a sizable chunk over such a brief time period. Below is a chart showing the triangle from which it initially broke out to the upside (ahead of the announcement) and a Fibonacci grid – resistance was encountered right between the traditional 50% and 61.8% retracement levels.
S&P 500 Index, daily: the breakout from the triangle seems to have failed – click to enlarge.
As we are writing these words on Monday, the index is rallying again from the apex of the triangle to which it had returned as of Friday. So one cannot be certain yet that the breakout attempt will really turn out to be a failure – a clear break below the apex would however strongly indicate that a retest of the August lows was likely in the cards (at a minimum).