Friday, October 10, 2008

460 Reaping Dinner

460 Reaping Dinner

Ever eat in one of those restaurants where there are no prices on the menus? You know the kind -- expense account paradises where teeny little presumably edible items appear on huge plates, are served by guys in tuxedos who look down their noses at you and which accept only American Express or cash, and the cash had better not be in small bills?

Do you think they charge every customer the same price for the same dish? Or maybe some people get discounts -- known or unknown -- to anyone but the headwaiter or the executive chef? And maybe some people -- undeserving souls, obviously, by their demeanor or bearing, are charged more than the others?

Not a lot of other businesses can do that kind of thing. But you can sure bet there are plenty who'd like to.

How about the pharmaceutical companies which price their new genome based long term care drugs by whatever the market will bear. Stuff for multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis or some types of cancer are through the roof, almost impossible to make generically and way beyond paying for the research costs.

And they don't even need to buy a supply of those big white plates and snooty, tuxedo wearing waiters. A simple white coat -- the kind your druggist probably wears -- will do, as will a simple pill bottle.

So who can pay for this stuff? A hundred thou a year for some of it? Maybe some of the people who were forced out of AIG or Fannie or Freddie. Those golden parachutes go a long way to help you out in the teeny-food-big-white-plate restaurants and the megabucks drugs to keep your dread disease in check.

If you're really really poor, you can get help from the drug companies. Really really poor doesn't include people who have a nest egg of a few thousand dollars or, heaven forbid, own their own home. Really really rich people don't have a problem. Everyone else? Move into a refrigerator carton and pay your own way. Even if your health insurance has a drug plan -- worry. The insurance folks have figured out many novel ways to not pay for this stuff.

Not all the news is bad. If you're chronically or critically ill, take that little nest egg, go to one of those white plate joints (be sure you observe the dress code,) and enjoy a teeny tiny but oh-so-elegant dinner, ordered from a menu without prices listed.

Then go to the home you own, forget about the pharmaceuticals, and leave the door unlocked for the Grim Reaper. He'll be by soon enough.



Shrapnel:

--Registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans in Nassau County. It took awhile, 100 years, thereabouts. Probably temporary, but also a message to what once was the best and most efficient political machine north of the Mason Dixon line.

--Here's the problem with Wall Street. The market has confused scoring systems. It's supposed to be like basketball, not like golf.

--Shameless plug: Read "The Journey of Italians In America," by Dr. Vincenza Scarpaci, published by Pelican. You'll learn something about yourself, even if you're not Italian.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)
(C)WJR 2008

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