The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

FOOD SHOPPING AND OBAMACARE

No doubt you know the expression, “There are many ways to skin a cat.”  I know I’ve heard that countless times but, notwithstanding, I haven’t the faintest clue how you would even approach this project using any of the purported methods.  Nor am I inclined to check out You Tube for an instructional video on the subject.

True, I am a dog lover and prefer their company to that of our feline companions.  But I did have three cats in the house at one time who learned to be quite civil and extremely social proving that my dogs who instructed them on the finer points of good behavior could easily have been educators at the finest Ivy League schools.  At least my dogs’ feline pupils learned something.

Well, as we have now gone through that wonderful holiday known as Thanksgiving, you will, no doubt, have noticed that the grocery stores were well stocked with cans of cranberry sauce – both jellied and with whole cranberries – and only slightly more expensive than they were last year .  Although I normally make my own I did grab a couple of cans because it’s hard for me to resist a sale on cranberry sauce.

So I brought them home and added them to the larder in the pantry.  Much to my surprise as I rearranged the shelf on which cranberry sauce properly belongs, I discovered that I had a can of whole berry cranberry sauce left over from last year.  This little blighter had hidden itself in the Oriental fruit section, between the lychees and the sliced mangos in heavy syrup.  Who knew that cranberries could be so furtive?  Naturally, this annoyed me as I like to keep an organized pantry so I set about getting all the cranberry sauce organized in one place as every right thinking person knows it should be.

I was stacking the cans and was going to put the older can on top so that I would use it first when I made a discovery.  The old can was oversized compared to its new companions and didn’t nestle nicely as it should.  That was because the old can contained 14 ounces of cranberry sauce and the new cans only contained 12 ounces, a 14% reduction in the quantity of product.  No wonder the new cans were priced only a little higher than last year.  Higher price/Smaller quantity = Large Real Price Increase.

How does this apply to Obamacare?  It’s the same shell game.

One of my neighbors who is on Medicare and has an Advantage plan as her Medicare supplement asked me to review her new policy booklet for next year.  Like most of us, reading voluminous booklets is not one of her favorite activities and she finds it a bit daunting.  So I obliged her.  What I found in reviewing the plan booklets for this and next year was extremely informative.

There was no change in the planned premium which she pays to maintain this insurance.  That’s hard to understand if you’ve heard that in order to implement Obamacare there was $600 Billion cut from Medicare’s budget.  But the devil is in the details.  In order to disguise these cuts the Feds have generally chosen to incorporate them not in premium cost increases but rather in the co-insurance costs for which subscribers are responsible.

Although it’s difficult to say what the “average” increase in co-insurance will be for my friend, because it’s impossible to predict which, if any, specific services she might require, it is possible to look at specific procedures and benefits and see what the increases in co-insurance are.  They range between 40% for drugs to 100% for an ambulance.  This at a time when she was just notified that her Social Security payment which represents the majority of her income will increase by 1.5% next year.

This, of course, only deals with the Obamacare cutbacks from the standpoint of the consumer.  Doctors are discovering that their fees are also being cut – to the point where they cannot operate their offices profitably enough to keep their doors open.  A neurologist from Atlanta yesterday testified before a House Sub-Committee that he has been notified that certain drugs which have helped stabilize the conditions of his MS patients will no longer be covered and they will have to pay full cost out of pocket if they want to keep taking them.

Wait a second – this is a group of people who are one of the primary “beneficiaries” of Obamacare – those with pre-existing conditions.  But I think I’ve finally figured out and can sum up the essence of Obamacare.  You get to pay more and get less.

Please pass the cranberry sauce.

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