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Supremes, Drugs, Means, Checks & Oil
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  September 14, 2006 - reprinted with permission


  How nice of our illustrious Supreme Court (SC) to kill TASC, the initiative that would have allowed us to have financial control over the spending by our politicians. This was a good initiative that would, if passed, have required a vote of the tax-payers to increase spending by the politicians but the SC has outright said we have no right under their law to control spending just as we did not have the right to stop the last super tax bite that created so much revenue that the governor had to outright come up with some way to give us back $75 per vehicle if you owned such. This same bunch of Supreme Court politicians did us more damage. Even with allowing PISTOL, the tax-payers rights under Eminent Domain to be voted on, our illustrious Supreme Court has in effect given us a stink bomb by the parts they have eliminated. Voting them out of office would be the best thing we could do and there is still time for some of them to go.


  I learn more each time we buy prescription drugs under plan D. Besides all of the deductibles in the plan there is another one that is very expensive. That is the cost of drugs that are not covered such as a non generic drug. What are we supposed to do when the doctor thinks we should try one that is a newer drug that could help? What you do is pay for it with plenty out of your pocket. It seems that this plan is written by people who either have very little experience in how the real costs are going to pile up or they donít care because the plan is really written for the so called poor or as I have said before it is a great plan for the HMOs. When I get seven or eight dollars off on a seventy dollar prescription it becomes hardly worth the cost. Some day I will publish what we suggested about half a dozen years ago for a prescription drug plan; it is very simple and has no deductibles. I donít know if you remember but a dozen or more years ago congress passed a bill upping the cost of our medical expenses before you could deduct them on your income tax. So as far as I know there may be little or no possible deduction when you get to the end of the year and tax time. These people in congress need to either hire us as their consultants or we need to elect old timers to office who have lived with the laws they have passed and know what needs to be thrown out.


  Our monthly Medicare costs are going up again including means testing. This was as they say slipped through after dark when no one was looking. Can you believe this was done in 2003 and we are just now finding out about it. Is this OUR government or some south of the border operation?

Means testing our Medicare Part B starts at eighty grand a year for individuals and while most of us will not qualify give it a couple years and it will drop down to your level. That is how NSC started and we helped kill that means testing law about 15 years ago but I doubt if there is the will to do anything about it now.


  On March 22, 2006 I paid for our medical supplemental policy by check. It was in plenty of time to not miss the deadline so no problem right? Well it turned out there was a problem. Several months after they had the check the insurance company began to turn down the payments for their share of the bills because they said we had not paid our premiums. To make a long story short the insurance company people lost the check in their business but blamed me for not sending them a check. I managed to get the insurance company and my bank on the line in a conference call. It was agreed that I had paid by check but it was lost some place in the system. So the insurance company started to pay the bills again and then they called me and said they had received my check but it was sent to a different bank than they would normally send it so everything is OK now. Well not true because a couple of weeks later the insurance company called again and said do you know that your bank had taken your money out of our bank on a fraud charge. What a mess and yes the bank is in the process of doing just that and after a dozen calls I may be close to finding out what my bank is actually doing about my money that belongs to the insurance company. My point is that the fewer checks you use the better off you are. I try to pay everything either by credit card or by direct Internet payment where there is an immediate confirmation. At my age who needs all of this kind of grief? I think there is so much of this going on that people can easily just give up in trying solving the problems. My bank must have a hundred thousand people and I must have talked to half of them. So at least with my experience I would recommend the fewer checks the better. I think the help is lacking so much today that it will only get worse.


  OPEC pumps 280,000,000 barrels of oil a day and worries when the price drops $10.00.The reasoning is that it could go much lower which of course we would like and they wouldnít. Summer is over and things are not as bad in the oil business as everyone was predicting. As recent as 1997 oil was $10.00 a barrel and OPEC is now crying that it is getting too low at $65.00 a barrel. They operate on a quota that most of them only cheat a little on. At present they are already producing 500,000 barrels per day (b/d) less than their quota and expect it to go lower by their next meeting on December 11th. Can you even begin to imagine how much 280 m/b/d of oil that is? There must be one big hole in the ground in that Arab peninsula and at almost 2 billion dollars per day there must be a big vault full of gold some place. How can one even they spend that much a day? If they do we should do our best to be their suppliers of goods and services. But not much luck these days I suspect. I was in the Arab peninsula on April 1, 1974. Our US Council was busy playing jokes on each other when I wanted to find a way to do more business with the Arabs. That was the real joke. It is also where we as a country do not do what we should in making business deals with the people in the Arab Peninsula. The Europeans were the chosen ones and now I suppose the Chinese are going to do better in the way of getting business than we or the Europeans are. We never were very smart about those things except when it comes to aerospace equipment where at least Boeing does pretty well. Back to Las Vegas; when will we see a dollar drop in our gasoline at the filing station?