Middle Class Survival: The Problem
Copyright (C) 1997 by Steve Litt.
Details will be flushed out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
- How They Do it To Us
- Health Care
More Details will be added in the coming weeks.
Remember the butcher with his thumb on the scale? Strictly a small-timer.
Now he's got lawyers, contracts, and monopoly priveleges. Consider the
insurance company *with no intention of ever paying*. Read the fine print.
No acts of God. No pre-existing conditions. No fires, no floods. Nothing
for injuries on the job. They take your premiums for years, then find an
excuse not to pay.
How about the landlord? Ever read your lease? 20-40 clauses, *every
one of which enumerates the tenant's responsibilities*. Absolutely nothing
about the landlords responsibilities. He has none. If the electrical wiring
fails, and the hot water heater dies, and the plaster crumbles -- the landlord
doesn't owe you a cent. If you move out because of such conditions, you
may owe him the remainder of your lease. I remember one rental agreement,
popular in Chicago in the 1970's, which stated that if the place became
uninhabitable, the tenant must move out to allow the landlord to repair
the premisis, then must move back in or pay the remainder of the lease.I
wonder if the landlord had a kickback deal with the hotel?. Such contracts
may not be legal, but once they're signed the tenant must pay a lawyer
to go to court.
The list continues. Rebates rejected on a technicality. Bait and switch
pricing with fine print making it legal. Pay phones that take the money
but never work -- with special numbers to call and get your money back
-- if you can reach the operator. HMO phone systems shuffling you around,
hanging up on you, and keeping you on hold so long you simply go without
routine care. After all, they already have your money.
Unfortunately, these greed based robberies benign by comparison to the
Here's where they really make the grab for your wallet. The classic
example is health care, where for years the AMA has lobbied the government
into restricting the doctor supply with draconian immigration requirements,
and discouraging new medical schools. The doctors restricted supply in
the face of rising demand, and made a fortune. Soon the drug companies,
labs, hospitals and and health care administrators were cashing in. It
was just a matter of time before slick businessmen would cash in with HMO's.
In a delectible piece of irony, HMO's have restricted demand for doctors
with rules and utilization policies, so now doctors salaries are declining.
Unfortunately, HMO's still restrict supply to the consumer, so once again
the consumer is screwed.
Copyright (C)1997 by Steve Litt. -- Legal