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by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  December 10, 2009 - reprinted with permission

   Letís start this article properly by wishing YOU ONE AND ALL ďA VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. As you all know we did not have a meeting on December 10 for the first time since I have belonged to NSC. Once in awhile one runs out of steam and that was it for Dec. 10 when no one was around to come to our meeting and speak. We were hoping to get our Senators but as you know they have health care on their minds and were not available.


   We still do not see or know what could be coming down the pike in the way of health care in the new form. As far as I am concerned what we have now works so well I hate to see them change it and in particular when we hear there are over a thousand pages or is it over two thousand pages? Whatever it is you can be assured it will not be good for us with so many pages of gobbledygook being worked on that no one even wants to read it. Over the twenty plus years that we have been in the program it has worked for us very well. And I know those of you in the HMO care programs are very happy with that also. The biggest part that is more of a concern has been the prescription drug program. Fortunately if you have been able to live with a generic prescription the price is very favorable at about $4.00 if you go to one of the pharmacies where they do the pricing like Wal-Mart and others that have followed them. Have you ever looked at the charges made by doctors and the huge amount that goes at a reduced price when Medicare does their work over of the billing? We have had cases where the billing could be six thousand dollars and the Medicare workup of the bill will at times be reduced by three or four thousand. How do they make a living in the doctorís office? Well I imagine such billing makes for a very large write down when it comes time to do their tax work at the end of the year. Unfortunately I wonder if Congress has been doing their thing on the new proposal which in effect is do nothing acceptable until we in the program will just roll up our eyes and say who the h--- cares? Under such circumstances congress can pretty well do what they want too with little interference from us the users in the program. After this is all over I for one would like to set down with several bill drafters who really do the work and understand what they are thinking of when they do the work for their bosses the members of Congress who hire them. In fact think about it, donít we have a deadline between November and December that we must decide who we are going with for the next year and in this case year 2010? This means two things our prescription drug provider and our Medicare supplemental provider if one is not in an HMO.


   Our man Knight Allen has been laid up with a very serious injury when getting dressed one morning. He got the toe caught in his clothes and fell down which ended up with a broken arm and injured pelvic all of which has kept him incapacitated for the last month and a half. Only Friday the 18th will he be going home and start doing things for him again. He has been very fortunate to have friends who have housed him this past month after he spent about ten days in rehab. He could not have stayed home because he was so badly injured. So folks keep this in mind it really does pay to have friends who will go the extra mile and help you when you are so completely incapacitated. Most of you who know Knight well also probably know he drives a little red Ford Fiesta which is stick shift and is something he could not do no matter how much he would like to. So letís hope and trust to luck that he will have the strength and mobility enough to be able to shift his little red car and get to the store to buy his bag of groceries. Really no problem because he has a neighbor who will help him. So gentlemen be careful and donít get your underwear caught between your toes and take a fall.


   Iím sure all of you remember where you were on Sunday December 7th that most infamous day in our history? I know I remembered because I was without a job on the Friday of that week-end and felt pretty uncertain what was going to happen to me. Very fortunate for me I had signed up for an Architect wanted ad by the government in the Post-office in Rochester Minnesota where I was designing homes for Mayo Clinic Doctors. Would you believe it in sixty days I was in Vallejo working for the Navy Departments Yard and Docks bringing the base up to speed after it had been closed from WW1 and just barely getting going again after Pearl Harbor? Iíll never forget when I bought a ticket for the train from our little town Sheldon, Wisconsin to Vallejo our railroad man sold me a ticket to San Francisco saying that ďVallejo should be near thereĒ. He was right it was at the end of the bay where they built destroyers and submarines as well as repaired damaged and or out of date cruisers. My job was to survey the entire island for utilities while we were working day and night to get things going for the war effort. In fact our Mare Island Navy Yard was the first place Bob Hope and his group entertained for the first time. On December 26, 1942 I was married to Agnes and joined the Navy 18 months later. I ended up on the USS Ticonderoga, CV14 an aircraft carrier.


   Just this week in Drudge report there was an article that stated Las Vegas ranks with the third worst water quality in the US, with Pensacola Fl. and Riverside CA outranking us. Have any of you by chance been watching the Las Vegas Water Authority spending a few hundred million while building the third new straw at a lower level in Lake Meade? Had Pat Mulroy head of the authority listened to our friend Larry Paulson PhD. and I we would have had the original intake pipe many miles up the lake where even with the low water level of today we would still be in good shape. At our last meeting I erroneously announced that Mayor Oscar Goodman would not be able to speak to our group as Mayor again because his time in office would be up. Those of you at the meeting might remember that he said he has another 13 months in office so yes he could come back to speak at our meeting again. Interestingly enough it looks like his wife and he might be candidates this time next year with His Honor running for Governor of Nevada and his dear wife running as Mayor of Las Vegas. How do you all like them apples? In closing I just talked to our member Marie Manendo who was in a hurry at home and fell breaking her arm at the shoulder. She sounds good as always and son Mark comes over to help her when she needs it. Her number is 451-8654 if you would like to call her.