The Phaserl


47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

If you had to make a sudden visit to the emergency room, would you have enough money to pay for it without selling something or borrowing the funds from somewhere?  Most Americans may not realize this, but this is something that the Federal Reserve has actually been tracking for several years now.  And according to the Fed, an astounding 47 percent of all Americans could not come up with $400 to pay for an emergency room visit without borrowing it or selling something.  Various surveys that I have talked about in the past have found that more than 60 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck, but I didn’t realize that things were quite this bad for about half the country.  If you can’t even come up with $400 for an unexpected emergency room visit, then you are just surviving from month to month by the skin of your teeth.  Unfortunately, about half of us are currently in that situation.

Earlier today someone pointed me toward an excellent article in The Atlantic that discussed this, and I have to admit that The Atlantic is one of the last remaining bastions of old school excellence in journalism that you will find in the mainstream media.  Of course I don’t see eye to eye with them on a lot of things philosophically, but there are some really hard working journalists over there.

The article where I found the 47 percent figure comes from The Atlantic, and it is entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans“.  It was authored by Neal Gabler, and he says that he can identify with the 47 percent of Americans that don’t have $400 for an unexpected emergency room visit because he is one of them

I know what it is like to have to juggle creditors to make it through a week. I know what it is like to have to swallow my pride and constantly dun people to pay me so that I can pay others. I know what it is like to have liens slapped on me and to have my bank account levied by creditors. I know what it is like to be down to my last $5—literally—while I wait for a paycheck to arrive, and I know what it is like to subsist for days on a diet of eggs. I know what it is like to dread going to the mailbox, because there will always be new bills to pay but seldom a check with which to pay them. I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding; it all depended on whether something good happened. And I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.

To me, this is yet more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.

Last year, it was reported that middle class Americans make up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.

But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

So what happened?

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29 comments to 47 Percent Of Americans Cannot Even Come Up With $400 To Cover An Emergency Room Visit

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    It’s been TOO long since I read or saw anything about “Medical tourism”, but it’s out there and it works to save you a LOT of money and get a LOT of good work accomplished OUTSIDE of the USA or UK.

    I recall (60 Minutes program?), about how MANY Brits travel to Poland for Dental care, and many other medical treatments. Better care, cheaper price, and NO waiting.

    There is a lot of such “cross border” medical care, that people get in India, China, etc.

    I myself, back about 1997, right before a trip to visit a lady-friend in Lithuania (neighboring to Poland, Sweden, Russia, etc. and a “former” part of the USSR), my USA dentist, while doing some work, accidentally knocked OFF, a recent Gold Crown, but would NOT replace it because my “insurance” only pays for a replacement crown in every 5 years, even though it was HIS fault. (Yes, I was angry, but you really don’t have much power in those things.)

    So, when I traveled to Lithuania (Eastern Europe), I was put in contact with a local dentist (named Olga, such a sweet lady), anyway, they started work on me that very same FIRST day (no waiting). In just 5 short CONSECUTIVE days, they accomplished everything I needed (a double root canal on a different old filling that had failed), a couple of little fillings, AND a NEW gold Crown, and one PORECLAIN-White crown, and a X-rays, etc.

    The entire price, was $220. This was CHEAPER than I would have had to pay for the USA CO-PAY had I gotten those things done in the USA. This was an ALL CASH payment, NO insurance coverage when you leave the USA.

    Inside the USA, the “price” would have been between $2000-$3000. My USA insurance CO-PAY would have been (depending on your coverage), from 20% to 50% for each crown (which typically cost from $600-$1000 each). Basically, if done inside the USA, my CO-PAY would have been MORE than my ALL cash payment OUTSIDE the USA.

    And, that little Dental Office in Lithuania, was MORE MODERN, cleaner, and BETTER than my USA office. As I was sitting there, I looked at the X-ray machine label, and it was a TOP brand name manufacturer. Some of their stuff, was USA made, or Germany, Swiss, etc.

    Even their sterile environment preps, (I was watching them as they also cleaned machines and chairs after each patient, etc) was BETTER than I have seen in my USA medical care.

    And there was NO waiting 2 weeks here, 3 weeks there, etc. In the USA, it would have taken, perhaps 4-8 weeks for all those appointments.

    I remember, picking up a magazine in the airplane ride going there, was a Lithuania, had a story about “Heart Surgery costs” compared to USA. (probably trying to gather more business), but (back then), the entire cost of a HEART VALVE replacement surgery, hospital charges, surgeons, nursing, anesthetic, etc etc. the TOTAL price was less than $5000. (the air fare, adds another $1300 to your costs, but hey, you end up with a trip to EUROPE.)

    So, MY plan, if I ever need some BIG stuff done, is that I will start doing my HOMEWORK, and look for some BETTER care at cheaper prices with NO waiting, perhaps in Asia or some other places.

    When doctors and medical care places, are COMPETING for your business, they treat you like you are a VALUABLE customer, and not like an ATM machine after dark in a bad neighborhood.

    • Ed_B

      “… but would NOT replace it because my “insurance” only pays for a replacement crown in every 5 years, even though it was HIS fault. (Yes, I was angry, but you really don’t have much power in those things.)”

      You have plenty of power but YOU need to use it. Does the term “sue the bastard” have any meaning? People are liable for their actions. If he caused a problem, it is incumbent upon him to fix it regardless of bringing up a red herring argument about an insurance company’s involvement. Just make a statement to him to the effect that “You can fix this gratis OR you can pay another dentist AND my lawyer to fix it. Either way, it is getting fixed. The only question is how much it will cost you”. Once contacted by your lawyer, he will see the light and do the honorable (cheaper) thing. Once that is done, find a new dentist.

      I understand that this was not your main point but stuff like that REALLY ticks me off. Grrr…

      • Craig Escaped Detroit

        You and I fully agree with “if it’s your fault, you should be HAPPY to fix it.” BUT, since he was NOT happy to freely fix it, I decided that I did NOT want to force it, for logical reasons.

        Same reasons why you do NOT PISS OFF the restaurant cooks or waitresses who can spit on your food while you are not looking. The doctor who has you in his grasp, may have a psychotic side to his character, and can do a lot of damage and smile at you at the same time.

        Yes, I could “try” to sue, (hiring a Chosenite lawyer, to fight the Chosenite dentist who also will have a chosenite lawyer.), and they’ll all have lunch together and laugh as the screw the GOY and spend the goy’s money for lunch, even if I win, it would take YEARS, yes?

        SO, I knew I was getting ready to go overseas, and knew I’d be able to get SOME of the work done quick and reasonably priced, but I had NO idea it would be SO fast, SO cheap, and the QUALITY of work was SUPERBLY superior in every detail.

        Even when the inserted the new crowns on the “foundation”, and they had me “bite down” to test the fit and check for “high spots” that need to be “sanded down”?

        Neither crown needed ANY sanding, as they both fit 100% PERFECT from the instant they inserted it and had me “clamp down” to set the glue. I’d NEVER seen that before in my life.

        EVERY trip to EVERY USA dentist, they ALWAYS have to put the “carbon paper” in your mouth, bite down, and they sand off the high spots again and again until it fits.

        It was the BEST quality work I’d ever experienced. It was WORTH it. (and I was not sitting in the USA dentist’s chair where he could have said “OOPS”!! I’m sorry, we have another problem.

    • Craig Escaped Detroit

      You betcherass I can do it.

      And I could even offer them their choice of “paper cash or SILVER ounces”.

      I’ve got a car mechanic who gives a discount for silver payments, and only wants “fiat” when he is short of fiat for paying his bills, etc.

      I imagine, that in a year or three, there will be a lot MORE businesses that prefer PM’s (or perhaps FIAT will be all gone by then?)

      • Steelerdude

        Our family is very fortunate having our doctor…I went in for a physical a couple of weeks ago and I asked him if he takes cash payments for services….he said absolutely and at a far less price than the health insures are charging….he said he is getting patients from all the western states just so they can have medical attention at their price….how the hell is that for a doctor!

        he said he will also take silver and gold also….

        • rich

          Penny can…………..

          The Invisibility of U.S. Oligarchs: The Case of Penny Pritzker Posted on Apr 20, 2016

          Other countries, not the U.S., have oligarchs apparently.

          Billionaire and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker came and went to the National Press Club with hardly a tough question on Monday—see video and PDF.

          Do you argue that your massive fundraising efforts for Obama in 2008 and 2012 had nothing to do with him appointing you as Sec of Commerce? (See from Public Campaign “Penny Pritzker, Not Just an Obama Donor.”)
          The name of Liesel Pritzker Simmons appears in the recently released Panama Papers, a relative who sued much of the rest of the family for allegedly trying to cheat her. But what’s perhaps notable about your family, as Forbes has written, is that you set up shell companies decades ago and thus can do things because of grandfather clauses that are not legal any more. Is that moral?

          Forbes—which estimates your net worth at 2.3 billion—had specific questions for you for—

          * ‘Tell us from the very, very beginning: What led to your being paid $53.6 million in “consultant” income by your family’s offshore trusts in 2012?

          * ‘Did your family’s carve-up finally produce significant tax payments?

          * ‘Why are you your own biggest debtor?

          * ‘Why is even your house in an LLC?

          * ‘How do you rack up $250,000 on an American Express card?’

          On trade issues and the TPP—how do you respond to—

        • Ed_B

          That’s PDC, IMO… Pretty Darned Cool. lol

          Sounds like a good guy as well as a good doc.

  • Eric

    But they somehow magically have “money” to go to the movies, eat at Red Lobster, play golf, travel, finance a new car, go shopping, drive around aimlessly, drink alcohol, consume drugs, take daily trips to Starbucks, eat out everyday, etc.

    Be happy with what you got. You’re lucky to have that.

    • Hal

      Yes therein lies the biggest problem for many of them (well, beside getting half of what they earn taken from them). They simply give no effort to saving anything, just consume, waste, repeat.

      • Ed_B

        Exactly so, Hal. Most people are much better at earning money than they are at managing it. I advise family members and a few friends on saving and investing for their future. I’ve lost count of the number of people who say “I don’t really have enough money to worry about ‘managing it’ “. These are the people who need sound money management the most. If they do not get it, they will always be in a ‘hand to mouth’ financial condition.

        I’ve been financially successful in life for 2 very good reasons. First, my parents were good money managers and they taught me the basics at an early age. They taught me that I needed to: 1) work hard because every employer appreciates a hard worker and will retain them when times get tough; 2) save religiously, because even small amounts add up over time; 3) invest wisely, because it is almost impossible to save one’s way to financial freedom; and 4) spend carefully, because money is all too easily frittered away in small amounts until there is none left. Second, I became fascinated with the idea that my money could work hard so that I don’t have to. I did this mostly through the company pension and then 401(k) retirement plan but also outside that in a couple of IRAs and a taxable investing plan. All of these started small and then grew over the decades thanks to adding small amounts and the power of financial compounding.

        After working for others for 34 years, I retired at age 55 in 2004 and was able to pursue whatever ideas and activities appeal to me.

        Last, but certainly not least, I have been married to a wonderful lady who is my partner, helper, best friend, love of my life, and much more. Marrying the right person and staying married can be a tremendous financial asset that can be of great help in building a successful life. It is also not often mentioned and it should be.

    • Eric

      47 percent of Americans thought this was the real debate…

    • KRELL427

      Eric,don’t forget lottery tickets, up here in Canada the amount people spend on tickets is unbelievable. When I was young a gas station sold you gas and repaired your car,now they sell you gas and lottery tickets. It seems the more desperate people are the more they spend trying to get rich. It is a tax for the stupid.

  • C.i.

    400 Is Normal “walking Around Money” In The Pocket.


  • Philosopher

    So the US has been fundamentally transformed. This is one of the most depressing stories I have read this year. Just incredible that people can’t find a job, can’t save, can’t stop shopping.

    • Ed_B

      Right. Now throw in the fact that they can’t stop voting for the very people who have done all this transformation that has wrecked so many lives. This has ALL of the signs of a mental illness, IMO.

      • Kakistocracy

        Well said.
        In Canada, we also have the ILLUSION of CHOICE but no real fundamental choice.
        For example, we have the usual Republican Party (called the Conservatives) and the Democrat Party (called the Liberals). We also have a more left-wing socialist party called the New Democrat Party.

        So we have three parties instead of your two.

        WOW !
        What an improvement !

        No god dam difference.
        We’re all screwed.

        • Craig Escaped Detroit

          It would not shock me, that the group that the government hates the MOST, might actually be the AMISH.

          Why? Let’s count a few good reasons.
          1. Because they are not captured into the BANKING systems.
          2. They don’t put their “wealth” into Wall street systems.
          3. They grow their own food, livestock.
          4. Some of them use HORSES or oxen to plow their fields instead of tractors, diesel fuel, etc
          5. They BARTER and build things for themselves.
          6. They HOME birth, Home school, home canning, home weaving, build their own homes, barns,etc
          7. They don’t believe in the government propaganda.
          8. They don’t tie into the power grid, gas grid, water grid, etc
          9. They are not addicted to TV’s, radio, phones, or internet.
          10. They believe in their own independence and right to decide their own ways.

          Do you think the governments see this as a threat to governmental & banking control?
          You betcha.

          Now if those same Amish would just start being strong believers in the 2nd amendment, and used only gold and silver for transactions, they’d be labeled as domestic terrorists & attacked by SWAT teams really fast.

          • Kakistocracy

            The Amish are definitely on to something here, which is of course SELF-SUFFICIENCY.

            We can have that most especially when it comes to PERSONAL HEALTH.

            Research COLLOIDAL SILVER.
            Colloidal Silver is the greatest, best, cheapest, safest AntiBiotic, AntiViral and AntiFungal agent that has ever been created.
            And it NEVER makes the germs more resistant !

            Remember the EBOLA scare ?
            Remember how it was everywhere ?
            USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Mexico etc.

            And then one day it completely disappeared.
            People should ask themselves WHY DID EBOLA News Coverage completely disappear all of a sudden ?

            The answer would astound most people.
            The reason is that is was quickly found out that Colloidal Silver DESTROYS Ebola !

            The murderous thugs at the FDA:Federal Death Agency would never allow Colloidal Silver to gain prominence. Can you imagine what would happen to SILVER spot prices ?

            It would have been (2014) the greatest bull run on an asset in over a century !
            But alas that was not to be.

            • Craig Escaped Detroit

              Very easy to MAKE colloidal silver. A small DC power source, (1 or 2 9vdc batteries will do it as well), and some 999 silver, some water.

              It cannot be PURE DISTILLED water because DISTILLED water will NOT conduct electricity, it is an INSULATOR. It has to have some dissolved ions to carry the current.

              You can add a pinch of baking soda (which is also good because it is an ALKALIZER. (human bodies that have a pH that is ALKALINE are much healthier than people who are “acidic” (which is perfect for diseases to breed.)

              OK, put your silver into the water bath with the DC voltage, and watch as the metal fizzes and starts to make the water CLOUDY.

              Measure the CONCENTRATION levels with a TDS meter (Total Dissolved Solids). Very common water testing meter, can run from $20-$50 depending on brand & quality. The readout is in PPM’s. Anything from about 10ppm to 50 ppm should be about right. If your batch comes out at 100 ppm, just add enough extra water to dilute it. If you’ve got 4 ounces at 100ppm, just add another 4 ounces and you’ll end up with 8 ounces of 50 ppm’s. Got it?

              (There are SOME people out there, who actually need the safety instructions that says “Do not use Hair Drier in the shower or bath tub.”. We really don’t need people who are THAT freaking stupid, do we?)

              Great for testing tap water purity, etc.

              • Rdawg

                We have some of that colloidal silver. I am wary of it ever since I saw that picture of the guy that turned blue. Permanently.

                • Craig Escaped Detroit

                  Hahaha. yeah, they called him Poppa Smurf or Grandpa Smurf.(he hated it).

                  He was one of the Psycholgical nuts, who figures if a 1/4 teaspoon each day to clear up some REAL illness is good, then 4 table spoons every day forever will be so much better. Uh huh.

                  As with SO many things, MODERATION and never keep doing things just because you think or feel it’s gonna be good.

                  One little tiny bag of chips and small chocolate brownie may be great, but when you start vacuuming down 5 Family sized bags of chips and 3 pounds of brownies every day, it’s not gonna be good any longer.

                  The ONLY thing people should be taking EVERY damn day, is AIR & water (and some people over do the water!! In case you didn’t know it, you can KILL yourself by drinking TOO much water every day.)

                  Consider colloidal silver, to be MEDICINE OR DRUG, and LEAVE it alone unless it’s for a SPECIFIC treatment. Don’t over do it, then LEAVE it alone again.

                  Common People have NO sense!!!

              • Kakistocracy


                It cannot be PURE DISTILLED water because DISTILLED water will NOT conduct electricity, it is an INSULATOR. It has to have some dissolved ions to carry the current.

                :End Quote

                Sir, please be very careful when talking about the physical sciences.
                I will try to be very polite here.

                What you have said is 100% WRONG, 100% INCORRECT.

                Please kindly review your basic chemistry.

                The water must be DISTILLED WATER.
                Never mind that water is a Polar Molecule. Do you know what that is ?

                Never use anything else about pure water.
                What is DISTILLED WATER ?
                In fact, I use Steam Distilled Water.
                The reason for using pure H20 is that we do not want the Silver Ions to preferentially bind to non H20 molecules.

                For example, you NEVER USE STERLING SILVER as the Copper amount will bind to the silver in aqueous solutions.

                Also for example, you NEVER USE Mineral Water for Colloidal Silver.
                Never !
                Why ?
                Because here again we have many dissolved salts, phosphates, sodium salts etc. . These will preferentially bind to SILVER and you will get in some cases Silver Chlorate (Chlorine from the Sodium Chloride).

                Finally your statement that water is an insulator reveals you do not know what you are speaking about.

                Please kindly write less and learn more.
                I am sorry for being blunt, but this kind of attitude is what is causing our fall into the toilet of a degenerate society.

                Recommended Voltage for Colloidal Silver is ~ 30 V
                Do not use anything less.
                Do not use AC , only DC Direct Current.

                Between 15 ppm to 50 ppm is perfectly fine.
                You are looking for a nice even golden honey colored solution.
                That is when the solution of Colloidal Silver should be about 15ppm.

                The Colloidal Silver can also be combined with Aloe Vera to make your own cosmetics/skin protection lotion.
                Buy some PURE Aloe Vera (not easy to find) and allow the Colloidal Silver to dissolve into the Aloe Vera over a number of days.
                The Aloe Vera should turn to a honey golden color. Then you are good to apply to all burns, acne, lesions etc.

                • KRELL427

                  I will stick to buying the sovereign silver brand,I keep a few bottles in stock.I am not the grandpa Munster type.

                • Craig Escaped Detroit

                  I seem to have overstepped my knowledge, and thanks for putting a much better info on it, but I DO REMEMBER, long ago, a DEMONSTRATION in our Science Lab back at MTU, where 120VAC would NOT conduct thru distilled (perhaps it may have also been de-ionized”). Then the professor added some salt, stirred it up and the connected light bulbs began to reach full power.’

                  It was explained the PURE pure water won’t do the conducting. Would you please explain how I got that part of it wrong?

                  I do get the point about always using 999 silver (and I mentioned that part). Your knowledge of Chemistry is great. It never was my “field” and I do feel embarassed to ever give out ANY bad information. It is NOT excusable. I stand CORRECTED.

                  Being WRONG is bad enough, but being STUBBORN about it would be WORSE.

                  Thanks again.

                • Craig Escaped Detroit

                  Here is a Link to a short “easy to read” light duty-SCIENTIFIC article about the INSULATIVE properties of “pure” water.


                • Eric

                  Krell, I haven’t read all the comments here. But I remember Sovereign Silver is ionized. Not a true colloid.

                  I use Silver Wings. Otherwise get MesoSilver.

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