Friday, November 30, 2007

ANOTHER REASON WE NEED A GOOD, SOLID BUST

November 30, 2007
Golden Opportunities

Oxygen Suppliers Fight to Keep a Medicare Boon



Millions of people with respiratory diseases have relied on oxygen equipment, delivered to their homes, to help them breathe. A basic setup, including three years of deliveries of small oxygen tanks, can be bought from pharmacies and other retailers for as little as $3,500, or about $100 a month.
Unless, that is, the buyer is Medicare, the government health care program for older Americans.
Despite enormous buying power, Medicare pays far more. Rather than buy oxygen equipment outright, Medicare rents it for 36 months before patients take ownership, and pays for a variety of services that critics say are often unnecessary.
The total cost to taxpayers and patients is as much as $8,280, or more than double what somebody might spend at a drugstore.
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There is no longer a bottom to greed and abuse of various systems operating in America. Highlighted by the likes of Trent Lott, who resigned after a year of the six-year term Mississippians elected him for--in order to jump to a richer gravy-train.
The last time we had circumstances empowering a ground-up revision of a broken American system was nearly 80 years ago, in 1929. Twenties America was similarly soaked in greed, avarice and opportunism. There was a call for meaningful change, but no mechanism to enact it, just as today.
A 29-style bust would be cathartic for the country, perhaps dragging us away from our TVs and laptops long enough to properly assess a mid-life crisis without the need of middle age. Everyone in the same dumper, but for the occasional Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. The rest--the hedge-fund CEOs, the investment bank cowboys, the offshorers and onliners would (perhaps) be able to afford an occasional meal at a local diner, eating with the ordinary.
It's a great title for a doomsday book--"Eating With the Ordinary."
Be my guest. You can have the title if you write the book.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Business and Economy, check out Opinion-Columns.com