14 January 2003
Leave It To The Company Store
by Frank Anthony
When I first taught school, in West Virginia forty years ago, credit
for the coal miners was generally accepted in small towns and villages,
where food and needs of the miners were charged until pay day, the company store owned most of the paycheck. There is an interesting similarity of customer service, between those company stores and the health care business of hospitals in the US today.
A recent example is the local retired lady, who had accumulated so much
money she told us she gave half of it to her children and is going to leave
the rest of it to her local hospital. These are the hospital businesses
that rake in the Medicare Medicaid and private insurance money taxing the financial existence of American business. Forced to keep up with the system, how can free enterprise escape this ravenous situation?
Where is the appetite in this contemporary company store? Recently, a
specialist in one of these hospital businesses, looked at my foot for ten
minutes, and a recent X Ray I had brought with me from the VA. I just
wanted a second opinion. Sending me away, he said to come back in a month and he might try a catscan to see if he might operate on an old injury. I decided I could live without that! A hundred a month, paid half and he wants another hundred from me. Twenty dollars a minute is quite a company store!
It is obvious contemporary doctors do not consider the government and
insurance companies a cash business. I think I could have got out of there with a twenty dollar bill, or a chicken or perhaps an oil painting. Over
charging is asking for socialized medicine. What can we do? Complain? Small claims court? Or leave our savings to the system?
The other end of this scam consists of government employees who demand, and receive, 100 percent medical expense coverage via our taxes. Up go the costs, every year. For what? For a financial empire, managed by a conglomerate, that doles out goodies and relaxes, like church and school, with no property tax?
There was a time when government, church and school, doctors and
hospitals, were institutions that served the public. Now comes all the
necessities for No Child Left Behind, including the wrong nutrition.
Finally, we have insurance protection if something might happen. Is this
called being taken care of from the cradle to the grave?
We, middle class taxpayers pay for all these advantages. That is if we
have a job. A quarter million Americans do not. Eventually 40,000 more will
get pink slips from K Mart. And beyond the Kinder Gentler Plan of tax cuts
for the rich, an invasion is rumored, the cost for which acquired Iraqi oil
money is rumored to pay. How long will it take to pay for a trillion dollar
Perhaps I should send my country store another hundred dollars, and
call it a loss, try harder to understand how the system works?