Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Whine and Cheese

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, diverticulitis, medicare, insurance, whine

Let us be honest up front: today's post is all about venting and complaining. Not about the news, which is about as screwed up as usual, but rather some more personal issues. Like...


The verdict is in about our abdominal pain. It's an attack of acute diverticulitis which will take some time to resolve. The good news is that, not so long ago, the standard treatment for diverticulitis was to slice you open and start pulling out organs.

Now, we can be treated with antibiotics - but there's a catch: one of the antibiotics needs to be taken with food so it won't burn a hole through your stomach the way the Alien's molecular-acid blood burned through deck plates. BUT...the doctor has ordered "no food" for up to two weeks - just clear liquids.

This wouldn't necessarily be unlivable were it not for the fact that a second antibiotic will give you violent projectile vomiting if you have so much as a sip of alcohol. So this is going to be a long friggin' two weeks.


Remember that hail storm we mentioned last week? We've already had one roofer inspect the damage and say (surprise!) we need a new roof. But here's the rub: we last replaced our roof in 2003, and we got the best (and most expensive) materials available. For that reason, our sturdy roof has survived when all of our thriftier neighbors have gotten new roofs over the years - some multiple times - from their homeowners insurance.

But OUR insurance had a little surprise for us: "If your roof is older than 10 years, we triple your deductible." In this case, to around $9,000. So will the insurance pay anything above that? Maybe yes, maybe no - because besides sticking us with that insane deductible, they also plan to depreciate the roof because of it's age. So the likelihood is that the insurance we religiously pay for won't cover doodly squat. Hell, we may owe them money just for making their phone ring.


As if we weren't already in a rotten mood (and we are!), we got a letter today in which Medicare essentially told us to attempt conjugal relations with a rolling donut regarding a recent bill.

We won't get into medical details, but this involves an expensive test (as in multiple thousands of dollars) which was pretty damn important. But Medicare has decided the test was neither necessary or reasonable and won't pay a dime. "But don't worry," they assure us, "since the fault belongs with your doctor who ordered this unreasonable, unnecessary test, we'll force them to pay the whole bill."

Let's think this through: a doctor (an excellent doctor with a prestigious practice) is essentially going to be penalized for ordering a very important and entirely necessary test. So what do you think will happen the next time the doctor thinks someone needs that test? Right - the test won't be ordered and the patient will suffer the potentially catastrophic consequences. 

It's a win-win-win for the government: they don't pay off on the Medicare promises they've made, they discourage doctors from even ordering tests and, in the long run, more people die early and won't be collecting their government benefits. Genius!


In the past few days we lost Art Bell, the master of creepy conspiracy late night radio, R. Lee Ermey, who burned his way into our national consciousness with his role of "The Gunny" in the film "Full Metal Jacket" and, closest to our heart, actor/magician/con-man Harry Anderson.

In that same period of time, we're unaware of any complete a**holes dying. So what's the deal, Death?!

We could continue ranting about these and other matters, but it's time for us to eat our delicious sugar-free jello and take that stomach-destroying pill.


(Update: After writing the above, we learned of the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush. Her strength and classiness will be missed.)


JRMD said...

Hi Stilt,
All HO policies call for depreciation on dwelling and pers prop loss. They have replacement cost (RC) options (dwelling is usually just a few bucks, and pers prop is normally higher). Most agents automatically add the RC option to the dwelling coverage and give you the option for the contents. The damaged item is depreciated based on it's expected life by using today's cost for the job or item.
Since most dwelling coverage has the RC option, the depreciated value of damage (actual cash value of damage) is owed if the repair is not made..... and the difference between ACV and RC is additionally paid if the repair is made.
For roof damage, that means that mild or cosmetic damage that is not repaired/replaced does not get paid at it's replacement cost. If it is repaired/replaced, the RC coverage kicks in and pays.
I've worked claims in many states but have never heard of that age penalty you mentioned. Most Ins. Cos. have slipped in an additional $1,000 deductible on roof and exterior damage due to 'tropical cyclone' (hurricane).
I didn't work any claims in TX so I'm not familiar with your Ins. Dept. guidelines. Check your policy declaration page for type of coverage and deductible. If you have 'replacement cost coverage' on the dwelling and intend to repair your roof, notify your adjuster that you intend to replace. You generally only have 180 days from the date of loss to notify your company of your intent to file under replacement coverage.
If you have any questions about coverage, shoot me an email.

Jim G. said...


As us Navy Pilots used to say, "Life sucks...and then you die!"

Or I could say, God Speed Brother, hang in there, next week will be better.

Peace be with you and those who have passed this week. I wonder what Lee Ermy and Mrs. Bush will discuss while in Heaven's Waiting Room?

Jim G.

Regnad Kcin said...

Sorry to hear about your affliction that restricts your favorite beverage intake. Have you considered a camel back pack style fluid replenishment system involving a drip tube and some 12 year old single malt ?
As for the good folks passing on, how about the ex-F-18 lady pilot of the SouthWest plane that puked the port side engine? She made the emergency landing in Philly all the while maintaining her cool and keeping her charges safe. She did her duty and earned my "Giant Brass Ones" award for the year. Some times things do work out that way.......

mamafrog said...

Well, at least you know what the problem is and you can deal with it, more or less. Don't forget to eat yogurt or take probiotics while taking those horrid pills. They may help with some of the stomach upset, yogurt I mean. Antibiotics tend to kill out the good gut flora and fauna. The only one I can find so far with the least amount of sugar is Activia (damn ads), though there may be others. I can recommend cherry as being tasty.

Medicare sucks, we had to wait several years (and have multiple bills to pay off) for my hubby to be eligible enough for decent medical care. Unfortunately, you guessed it, the health issues he suffered from did their work while he was waiting and he died from said health issues. The fact that he was being stubborn about going in anyway and getting early treatment didn't help, but I can't say I told you so in good conscience.

Any insurance we could come up with would have cost him a thousand dollars a month, so damned if you do and damned if you don't. You can eat and pay rent or buy insurance and pay doctor's bills. Couldn't get him on my insurance, it was union and only covered workers, and he didn't qualify for state since his social security was too much. Again on the damned... Anyway, that's my grouch, that and the fact I don't qualify for another year and can't get state either now. Again, I say...

I dread storm season here in Oklahoma, haven't had to deal with it for the last 18 years as we lived in Washington state. I don't mind the weather, just the damage from hail and wind. I really don't remember the wind being as bad as it is right now here, but age does that to you. Shouldn't getting older have at least a little fun and be less sucky?

Brie Camembert said...

Reminds me of the Monty Python Insurance sketch:
"You have our never pay policy"
I have always found that insurance is excellent as long as you never want to claim.

I hope that the Jarlsberg internals settle down quickly. Its one of life's ironies that the time you need the booze most is the time that you cannot partake.
However, I will solemnly drink an extra measure daily on your behalf. Its the least I can do!

james daily said...

Stilt: Sorry for the health troubles. I had no idea what you were talking about so the google fixed that. No good choices. Then the roof. What rotten luck. My off hand thinking suggest the insurance company is pulling you chain simply because they have to replace maybe a thousand roofs in your area. The roof I had installed was suppose to be good for 30 years but I suspect that is an optimistic WAG. On the medicare, that need to be checked a little closer as I suspect the person making that call is not an MD. Again, no good choices. But all in all, it's not two weeks but 5 cartoons. The passing of those mentioned is sad. I still laugh about private snowball.

Fish Out of Water said...

Sorry to hear of your numerous woes. Your thoughts/experiences on Medicare only reinforce my low opinion of it and belief to avoid having to subscribe to it unless there are absolutely NO other options available. Perhaps a snarky letter addressed the greatest electoral mistake since the peanut farmer from Plains, Ga, asking how does your experince jibe with his efforts to "reform" healthcare might be a good idea?

I'd have loved to have seem R Lee Ermey in a room full of 'special snowflakes'. Assume Barbara Bush will be honored with a state funeral, which is a wonderful thing. On the flip side, if there is a state funeral, it'll also be a platform for Mooch and the bitter, soulless, self-delusional, carpet-bagging former Senator from NY, twice-failed POTUS candidate, avaricious, pathological, serial liar and venal grifter (and her outed sexual predator husband) to crawl out and be seen again.

But to leave you and other readers with a bit of humor:

Cat Whisperer said...

Metamucil twice a day doth keep the diverticulitis at bay.

REM1875 said...

Appeal.....appeal...and appeal again... then appeal some more

McChuck said...

Don't know how big your house/roof is, but I just got mine redone for around $5,000, with a thirty year warranty. Not the very best shingles, but not the worst, either.
Took them four hours, start to finish.

Anonymous said...

See Dr. John McDougal's work if you want to lessen your digestive - and many other - problems in the future.

Geoff King said...

Perhaps if you made a claim on your roof to Medicare and sent your medical bills to your homeowner's insurance company?

Fred Ciampi said...

I just love the fact that what is decided for Medicare to pay or not pay is up to political hacks who are in their positions as a return favor, not because of their medical expertise.

The wind blew a gargantuan oak tree partway down toward the house. I hired a tree smith to remove it before it finished falling and damage the house. I called the insurance comrade and was told that the cost of tree removal is not covered. I asked if it would be covered if the tree finished falling and destroyed the house. The answer? YES!!!. I told them that next time I shall make sure that end of the house was unoccupied and let the tree finish its fall. Grrrrrr.

When I was first diagnosed with diverticulitis the good doktor ordered a colonoscopy. So, with that happy note, I must share Dave Barry's column on colonoscopy fun;

Try to have a nice day and don't kill anyone who doesn't deserve it.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@JRMD- Thanks for the insider scoop on insurance. Texas is sort of a special case when it comes to roofs and hail, and all insurance providers have raised their rates. Still, having raised rates AND the magic "triple deductible" AND depreciation seems a lot to swallow. I'll continue to pursue it, as if I didn't have a stomach ache already (wry grin).

@Jim G- Any saying from a Navy Pilot is good enough for me!

@Regnad Kcin- That pilot did an amazing job. What a nightmare flight that must have been. Flicking through TV channels yesterday, I saw "The Five" on Fox News talking about the story...and at one point all of the hosts were laughing. I'm not sure what triggered that reaction to such a terrifying story (with one gruesome death) but I quickly shut them off. But as you say, the focus should be on the pilot who saved so many lives.

@mamafrog- I'll get on yogurt (with active cultures) as soon as I'm allowed to, but it's not allowed during the "clear liquids" period of my recovery.

I'm so sorry to hear what happened to your husband. I recently was calling an official agency on behalf of a friend who has special health needs, and I accused them of fomenting "death by bureaucracy." No one can tell me that's not a real thing - and one we're going to be seeing a lot more of in our aging population.

Good luck with the Oklahoma storms. My daughter is in Oklahoma too, and we fret every time another storm blows through.

@Brie Camembert- You've nailed it with that Monty Python sketch! And given me a much needed laugh, which I appreciate!

@James Daily- Insurance companies replace a LOT of roofs in my part of Texas, so they're increasingly stingy about paying off. I think last time we got "50 year shingles," although apparently the fine print is "as long as there's no hail for the next 50 years."

Regarding Medicare, I've read that almost NO medical/payment decisions are made by doctors, but are instead made by nurse practitioners - all of whom, I'm sure, graduated at the top of their class from prestigious institutions of learning. And clearly, there's no downside to these folks for basically denying everything. Denying essentially is their job, after which the system can cope with appeals until people give up or die. Nice.

@Fish Out of Water-Let me be clear that despite all my bitching, life is good for me and mine right now. There was just a lot hitting on the same day so I felt like spouting off. Still do, in fact (grin)!

And the image of R. Lee Ermey chewing out a room full of snowflakes is a fantasy I want to savor for a bit. I'd give a lot to see him chewing up David Hogg. And I'm sorry to see Barbara Bush go - I miss the days when we could look to a first family as being demonstrative of real character instead of just being characters.

And I enjoyed Hillary's "Wheel of Blame."

@Cat Whisperer- You may want to buy stock in Metamucil, as I'm about to purchase a truckload of the stuff!

@REM1875- I'll try going the appeal route as much as possible. One of the things that bugs me in the Medicare situation is that based on their dropping the bill on the doctor, it takes the appeal process out of my hands and forces it on an already too busy doctor. How long can doctors take that abuse before they start cutting back entirely necessary tests? And any time the doctor spends appealing is time not spent on patient care. One way or another, the government's little game of putting us in the ground prematurely is served.

Anonymous said...

I had acute diverticulitis once. The two weeks go by fast and I found it fun to see how many types of liquids I could put in me. One drawback: no booze !

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@McChuck- I think the going rate for a roof around here is more in the $10-$15 thousand range (I don't have a lot of house, but I've got a lot of roof). And the thing about shingle warranties is that they're rated for 10, 30, or 50 years with the codicil that the company is only on the hook if the shingles spontaneously disintegrate. The warranty is meaningless if your shingles are (heaven forbid) exposed to the elements.

@Anonymous- I'll check out Dr. McDougal, thanks!

@Geoff King- I like your suggestion, and it couldn't possibly turn out worse than things are currently going.

@Fred Ciampi- On Medicare, I blame the bureaucracy but also blame the fraudsters who milk the system with fake claims and expensive tests which really AREN'T needed. Lacking the expertise to sort out the genuine abusers, Medicare apparently just punishes everyone. As long as the bottom line is maintained, they don't care whether they're defunding fraudsters or people with legitimate medical needs. Because Medicare isn't about's about money, period.

Glad the tree didn't wreck your house, but sorry that you got the old insurance run around. I'll bet if the tree was leaning over the insurance office they'd consider it a covered expense!

And I'm no stranger to colonoscopies, although no one has made them funnier than Dave Barry!

TrickyRicky said...

So sorry to hear about your medical and roofing misadventures. As a previous poster noted, life's a bitch then you die.

I am a couple of years from enrolling in Medicare and have actually been looking forward to it, since our Affordable Care coverage went up to $2,000/month with a $7,000 deductible this year. Essentially no benefits until we have spent $31,000. No thanks, we went with a medical care co-op instead, which does not cover preexisting conditions. Roll the dice. Now I am hearing about the downsides of Medicare. Hmmm, a government program that is FUBAR. What a surprise.

I will try to make up for your lack of Scotch consumption over the next two weeks.

Gumby-damn-it! said...

Another thing to keep in mind regarding your shingle warranty is your contractor's installation of said shingles. Take some of the top-of-the-line 50 year Dow Corning shingles on the market. It says on the bundling and package wrapping that they must be installed with 6 nails for the 50 year warranty to not be voided. Essentially, 3, 4, 5, or 6 nails per shingle equates to 20, 30, 40, or 50 year warranty. Anything less than instructed will essentially void the warranty.

Easygo said...

And the real fun will begin with "Medicare for All", otherwise known as Go Home and Die...

mamafrog said...

Metamucil is good, but absolutely disgusting, to me. Kind of like drinking snot, or flavored snot if you go that route, bllluuugh! Hubs and I had to search for plain, usually fine grained stuff. He drank it with milk and a straw, said it was easier that way as he didn't have to taste it too much. Wallyworld has a reasonably cheap faux brand, but it can be hard to find at times. DON'T order from Amazon, I tried that and got the wrong thing four different times in a row. Don't know that Benefiber is good, didn't seem to work as well. And I think you are right about death by bureaucracy, they have to get rid of the baby boomers so they can control the idiots who came after. I love my kids, but my generation did not cause all the problems as they seem to believe. Politics is not a subject discussed at family gatherings!

Judi King said...

I hope you have a speedy recovery and don't need hospital care.
As for insurance, including Medicare, they ALL seem like scams to me.

John the Econ said...

Sorry about the diverticulitis. The cure sounds worse than the disease, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Oh Hail: Yeah, they're not gonna want to pay full boat for a roof you were going to have to replace shortly anyway. Sorry about that too.

Our roof is currently on the latter quarter of its life and I'm considering what to do and when. (The next hail storm here may make that decision for me too) I'm intrigued by the idea of the Tesla roof tiles which are effectively tile-sized solar panels. It's pretty new, so I'm waiting to see how these work out in real life. (Currently, I find the math and the break-even point questionable) Plus, there could be changes in "net metering" laws, which decide how much the local utility is forced to pay you for power you put back on the grid. The eco-fascists want it to be 100%, which is bad both in a macro-economic sense and for the utility. But on the other hand, I like the idea that people who escape paying income taxes would then be subsidizing my electric bill, so it's a mixed bag.

Medicare for All!: So no need to ask how that health care that Bernie calls "a right" is working out for you.

"So what do you think will happen the next time the doctor thinks someone needs that test?"

Oh, I think it will be worse than that. Doctors worth having won't be ordering that test for you anymore because they won't be your doctor anymore. From your doctor's perspective, getting stuck with the tab for that test is likely the least of the crap he/she's is already dealing with from Medicare. (My previous doctor from my previous domicile that I dearly loved didn't accept Medicare patients for this very reason) Eventually you'll end up at some sort of VA-like Medicare-only clinic. But hey, at least being there will be "a right".

This is why I want to be "rich"; Not so much so that I could afford to live in mansions or on mega-yachts, but so my family can just afford not to be a victim of state-managed health care.

Art Bell: Back when I was more of a road warrior that involved time in rental cars in the very darkest hours or the night, I'd come across his show because that seemed like it was the only thing on the radio. I really never could decide if I should laugh or cry at tin-foil hat country. He likely made Alex Jones possible.

R. Lee Ermey: If I was the fascist dictator that many Progressives argue that I'd like to be, I'd want at least 10,000 R. Lees running camps around the country for the otherwise useless pajama boys and SJWs that our universities are turning out en masse. Loved his old History Channel show, back when History Channel was worth watching.

Harry Anderson: Saw him back in the early '80s doing comedy clubs when he was still a nobody. Awesome magician. Sorry he's gone, and that we hadn't seen much of him in the last 20 years.

Barbara Bush: Class act.

John the Econ said...

Really need to change one line of the above:

Eventually you'll end up at some sort of VA-like Medicare-only clinic. But hey, at least dying there will be "a right".

Unknown said...

I just had an interesting experience with our local pharmacist. We are a town of about 3500 people full-time and we have one pharmacy with one Nazi pharmacist. She rules the roost. I had to get a pain medication filled (which I have been taking for a number of years due to chronic pain and degenerative disease) but she said she would only fill 180 pills. The script was written for 240 pills. She said that is "their policy." I said, "No, Liz, that is your policy!" I have filed a complaint with the Boards of Pharmacy. According to their guidelines for filing said complaint, it appears she not only descriminated against me, but by not filling the correct amount prescribed, she was essentially altering the doctor's prescription. I am waiting to hear back from them. When the pharmacy is the only game in town, they can apparently do what they damn well please. The closest pharmacy from my town is 80 miles away. So, I am given medicine for pain which is magnified by driving to nearest pharmacy. Oxymoron?

Colby Muenster said...

Look on the bright side, Stilton. You can always, um... you can... well, or you may be able to.... erm....

Never mind.

I remember thinking I was going to die when I had to follow that diet for one lousy day for a colonoscopy. Two weeks? GAAAAA!!! Hang in there, and I guess there may be a bright side. You will most likely shed more than a few pounds during this exercise.

For the next two weeks, I'll drink a scotch a day in your stead. Reminds me of a good Irish joke (It's OK; I'm part Irish).

Murphy went into the local pub and ordered two Guinness's. He sat alone and took a sip of one, then a sip of the other.

The next day, he came in and repeated this odd behavior, and this turned into a daily routine for many weeks.

One day, the barkeep could stand it no longer. He told Murphy, "You know, your beer would be much colder and fresher if you only ordered one at a time."

Murphy replied, "I know it's a bit strange, but me brother, John is sick and not able to leave the house, so he asked me to always have one for him as though he were here."

The bartender said he now understood, and would be glad to continue the practice.

After a few months of this routine, Murphy came in one day and only ordered one beer. The barkeep was deeply saddened, and cautiously said, "So sorry to hear about your brother."

Murphy cheerily replied, "Oh no, it's not that; me brother is doing fine. I've just decided to stop drinkin'."

I'll be here all night.

American Cowboy said...


That is where I have been informed that the Medicare payment decision originates. That was after being denied coverage for a needed test and treatment by my primary care doctor. The next time the EXACT SAME test and treatment was covered because the treating doctor at that time had it coded differently. I have found, at least in my personal case, that costs for a test coded as "diagnostic" usually will be denied along with the treatment, while the cost for the same test if coded as "treatment" for the medical issue will be quickly covered. YMMV.

james daily said...

Had a thought: Call your congressman and raise hail. They can sometimes fix govt SNAFUs. On the hail, I am about 30 miles east of you so we get our share. On the roof, cover it with solar panels and insure those.

Lee The Voice said...

Sorry about the hassles, Stilton. But as the biblical character Job said; The Lord Gives, The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of The Lord. Keep the faith my friend. I am praying for you.

jlw said...

does this make you feel better:

Fish Out of Water said...

I suspect your pharmacist may be feeling some heat over opiates and how much should be given out.

Anonymous said...

I went to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. I was having chest pains so bad that I was terrified. I ended up in the ICU on a water only diet and what ever was in the IV. They didn't know what was wrong with me, as the tests they did (MRI and Cat Scans) were not showing anything that would cause such severe pain.
After being in the ICU for almost 48 hours, the blood work they had done on me, showed that my hemoglobin was at 4.0. Normal blood levels are 11.4 to 15.0. The nurse that brought in the first unit of blood said to me, "girl, your lucky to be alive." then she told me how low my blood level was. I ended up getting 4 units of blood.. first ever blood transfusion I'd ever had. So for the next 7 days, I was on a liquid diet only... I could have water, or apple juice, or orange juice, and for meals I could have the "fake" orange sherbert ice cream. That's what I had for 7 days... I lost 15 pounds and other than the diet, I was so damn happy about loosing 15 pounds! Every day I asked the doctor, where am I bleeding internally, and every days, he said they didn't know. One doctor blamed it on a hiatal hernia I have, and I poo pawed that one. I told them the 5 to 7 ulcers that I could feel burning me up inside were more than likely why I had lost that much blood, but they poo pawed my idea. So then I got the camera down the throat, not once, but 3 different times. All they saw was the hernia, which was not bleeding. When I got home, I was anxious about how much of the hospital bill I was going to have to pay for. After 2 months of not getting a bill, I called the hospital, and requested a copy of the bill, as the gal there said that my insurance was being billed. I have Ucare. I got the copy of the bill in the mail and damn near passed out. $39,780 for 7 days of apple juice and fake sherbert ice cream! Went to the doctor last week, and he checked my blood level... it's now at 9.8.. still not in the normal range, and it has fallen since leaving the hospital 3 weeks ago. Good news was I wasn't having a heart attack, but now I'm nervous as hell about the blood lose and that hospital bill. Where I live, most of the doctors and hospitals take medicare assignments, meaning that they only get paid what social security pays them. But I am also aware that people can get medical bills like a year later... I might just have a few scotch with water chasers for you and me! Sorry about your roof. That's something I don't understand. I hear people in California saying a new roof costs them like, up to $15 to $20 grand. And I'm always like WTF??? I just had my roof replaced with the best shingles, and by the most expensive roofers in my town,and it cost me $5600 for my new roof, and yes, I have a large home. If your still on that liquid diet, get some ice cream and let it get soft.. that's what they give you in the hospital... it will be a liquid in your body soon enough Oh yeah.. they said I could have popsicles too. LOL

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Cheer up, Stilton. The diverticulitis will distract you from your arthritic knees. ;-)

mamafrog said...

Anonymous, did you ever find out what the bleeding was? The reason I ask is my brother in law went through two years of fainting and occasional bloody stool, plenty of tests and no one could figure it out. This year turned out to be a perforated bowel and an unusual cancer that generally only affects women as it grows on the outside of the uterus. His was on the outside of a piece of bowel next to the perforated part. He too had the low blood levels but with an emergency surgery because of it. He would never tell me if he hurt until it became bad enough to be hospitalized (Down Syndrome and dementia so...). I'm surprised they haven't given you antibiotics for the ulcers, and they can diagnose those with a blood test now. Much cheaper and simpler.

American Cowboy--great advice, will try to remember that for future reference. (Unless, of course, they change that rule, then we're screwed again.)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@TrickyRicky- The numbers you cite are pretty much what we were up against until we got Medicare. Now we pay significantly less to get our medical needs turned down (wry grin).

@Gumby-damn-it!- Apparently, and I'm not making this up, exposure to hail voids your warranty, too. Which at least saves me the trouble of counting a buttload of nails.

@Easygo- Do morticians at least still make housecalls...?

@mamafrog- Our Kroger supermarket has a house brand Metamucil-clone that's not bad (in orange flavor). The trick is to stir it up in water and then GULP it before it has a chance to turn into slime. Owing to the Tang-like flavor, my inner 8 year old lets me pretend I'm an astronaut as I drain the glass.

And I really and truly believe that Obamacare was designed to knock a lot of us baby boomers off. Just what the hell is the goal of "painkillers instead of pacemakers" (as Obama famously said). One gives some comfort, one gives additional years of like. Guess which one Uncle Sugar doesn't want us to have.

@Judi King- I've actually taken a slight turn for the better this evening, which makes the prospect of a hospital stay less likely (thank goodness!). And yes, all insurance is scammy.

@John the Econ- I didn't expect the insurance company to buy me a new roof, but I also didn't expect them to triple my deductible. Technically, I've got a 50-year roof which has seen 15 years of use - so it's not like everything is already in tatters up there.

And today I withdrew my insurance claim; I figure if I have to pay the whole thing out of my own pocket I'm in no hurry (demonstrating the economic truism that people care more about how money is spent when it's their OWN money).

I completely agree with you about the future of Medicare and the unlikelihood that we'll be seen by actual doctors. Those who believe that healthcare is a "right" will no doubt be surprised when there are nothing but disincentives to a medical career.

Re: Art Bell, I usually laughed at his stuff...but a few shows scared the hell out of me. Needlessly, obviously. Regarding our other lost folks, all I can do is agree with you.

Anonymous said...

"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."
--Dr. Thomas Sowell

JustaJeepGuy said...


When you wrote: "And today I withdrew my insurance claim; I figure if I have to pay the whole thing out of my own pocket I'm in no hurry." I was reminded of how a friend of mine had his shed looked at by his insurance co. They offered him something for the roof, but he said no. A couple years later, a yuuuuuge hailstorm passed through and his shed really got beaten up (along with his house roof and a couple windows and all the paint on the house--among other things) but the insurance co. said he'd already been compensated for the shed, even though he didn't get a check and they wouldn't cover the shed. I don't know if withdrawing your claim works the same, but watch out for it.

Dan said...

@Stilton ---

Glad to hear you are feeling better, if only a tad.

As for your roof, I don't know how the rules will be under the new tax plan, but that roof could be deductible as a casualty or disaster loss for IRS. Could be deductible, but up to now you needed to file the loss as part of your schedule A (itemized deductions). Publication 584 had some information.

Good luck.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sandy Link- Sometimes it seems like the smaller the fiefdom, the more jealously guarded it is by whoever's in charge. Sorry that you're having to go through that. I can appreciate that various entities are trying to be proactive about opiod abuse (not that I know if your painkiller is an opiod), but it still has to be the doctor's call.

@Colby Muenster- Love the joke! And yes, this diet stinks...but is much preferable to the knife-stabbing pain I was having (and which is significantly better today, Thursday). I just finished my breakfast of black coffee and one tablespoon of teriyaki sauce, which I dipped my finger in and then licked. By this time tomorrow, I may start eating fingers without condiments.

@American Cowboy- That sounds about right; death by decimals.

@James Daily- I'll definitely be following up on the home insurance issue. God only knows if they'd pay me anything if my house burnt to the ground.

@Lee The Voice- Thanks for the good wishes. Despite my griping, I don't doubt that I am blessed. And even on my crotchety days I'm grateful.

@jlw- Actually, the article DID make me feel a bit better. The Wall Street Journal said the condition "can be very painful" and "Complicated cases may require surgery." They didn't mention "only the brave will continue to blog through the agony," but I think it's implied.

And by way of an "it's a small world" coincidence, Mr. Azar was being treated at the hospital (St. Vincent in Indianapolis) where I was born. I assume there's a plaque to this effect near the entrance.

@Fish Out of Water- Either that, or the pharmacist knows someone who's willing to pay a lot more for the missing 80 pills.

@Anonymous- Yikes, your story is way more intense than mine! Sorry you had to go through all that and hope that your doctors finally get the problem figured out and fixed!

@M. Mitchell Marmel- That's only funny because it's true (grin).

@mamafrog- Oh, gosh...I hate to hear that your brother-in-law could suffer that long without a proper diagnosis or ability to really express himself about the problem. I hope he's much better now.

@Anonymous- I love Dr. Thomas Sowell, and would love to hear any progressive try to debate that beautiful quote.

@JustaJeepGuy- Hopefully that's not the case here, but if it is - what do I really lose? We've already established that the insurance company isn't going to pay for my roof come hell or high water. The fact that it will be uninsured (to all intents and purposes) in the future is no worse that the fact that it's apparently uninsured today. Bastards.

@Dan- That's an interesting thought. Though with the new tax laws raising (doubling?) the standard deduction I don't know that itemizing will do me much good. Still, I'll check it out!

Angus ranch said...

Maybe it's time to self insure. Insurance companies have actuarial tables that give them odds whether or not they'll pay a claim. It's like a casino, they're not in the business to lose money.

Dan said...

@Bart Fisher ---
I've always hated insurance companies (it started with auto insurance and expanded to all the other types).
I also hate banks. Been a member of a credit union since the middle '70s and they've been great. They even covered about 2500 bucks worth of overdrafts 'way back in the late '70s when I was transferred overseas and my Army "check to bank" turned out to be "check to oblivion." They covered me until the money was found and everything corrected, and they didn't even ding me on my credit report.

Colby Muenster said...

American Cowboy,
I've encountered that coding BS several times with the medical insurance through my employer. It is not just a Medicare issue.

My company plan brags that they cover colonoscopies 100%, but refused to pay some lab fees when the doctor found a "pre-polyp" and had it tested just to be sure. When I challenged them, they said lab work was not considered part of the colonoscopy, so it wasn't covered. I argued in vain that colonoscopies typically ALWAYS involved lab work. Asinine, I say! Their literature should read, "Colonoscopies are covered 100% IF the doctor just looks around up there. If they find anything other than "fully clear," you are effing on your own.

Personally, I think the whole coding thing should be outlawed. It's just a way for insurance companies to deny paying for medical treatment and hold doctors hostage.

I'm pretty sure your doctor told you "no finger food." Right?

Unknown said...

I had pretty serious health problems in the two years after I retired. Best of luck on your diverticulitis treatment.

Eat plenty of roughage, including beans, walnuts, whole wheat bread. That should help reduce future attacks.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bart Fisher- Insurance companies ARE like casinos, but even one-armed bandits are supposed to pay off occasionally!

@Dan- Glad you've had positive experiences with a credit union. I'm still using a bank but am disgusted with the infinitesimal interest rates.

@Colby Muenster- Obamacare had/has the same "100% coverage for colonoscopies." But it's the same bait-and-switch operation. If even one polyp or "pre-polyp" is removed and checked, you're suddenly 0% covered. Moreover, you'll be paying thousands of dollars (assuming you have the mandated high deductible) than the amount the insurance company would have paid (typically only a few hundred bucks for EVERYTHING). So if you're the guy doing the procedure, do you want to walk away with $75 for your scope work, or would you rather pocket a grand (or more) for being extra-cautious and removing a little something to send to the lab?

Regarding coding, I did a Hope n' Change post ages ago about the nightmarish detail of the codes. The code for being injured on a surfboard is different from being injured on a burning surfboard which is different from being injured by a surfboard on dry land. No wonder so many claims are rejected for using the (ahem) "wrong" code.

@Alan Mcintire- Thanks for the advice, and here's hoping your health problems are better now. I fully intend to be eating a LOT of roughage as soon as I get the go ahead from my doctor!

@Anonymous- Actually, my doctor told me he's never had a patient have the awful reaction to flagyl and alcohol, but the pharmacist warned me and the bottle has a warning. Considering that my guts already hurt, it just doesn't seem worth the risk.

And trust me, I've been thinking about the whole "shitting in a bag" thing and will do whatever is necessary to avoid it!

mamafrog said...

If you can't take whole wheat bread, it's just too, too for me, try oatmeal. A good brand is Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Oatmeal. And if you can stand eating oatmeal everyday it's also a good cholesteral lower-er. Just don't get the usual crap, steel cut oats are tasty and just take a little longer to make, and it's also a good source of roughage. I've gone to using frozen veggies, freshness with quick cooking and I can keep the ones around all the time that are good roughage. If you can stand raisins they are also a good source of fiber and have a little extra bonus. A tablespoon at night, mixed with a little low sugar applesauce (another source of fiber) if you like it, will cut down on the potty trips at night. Trust me on this it works.