“How can such a wealthy nation turn its back on underprivileged pets?” asked Rocky, as he swerved his car to avoid an unwanted, discarded furry stuffed bear on the shoulder of his local highway. “It’s a national disgrace.”
The Times of London recently featured some harrowing tales of pet health insurance claims. The full story is here: http://timesbusiness.typepad.com/money_weblog/2010/02/the-10-most-bizarre-pet-insurance-claims.html
These animals were the lucky ones because they live in a country with socialized medicine. The uninsured American pets never made the headlines — instead they seek medical care in dark alleys and makeshift clinics, staffed by unscrupulous get-rich-quick quacks. Or they just suffer in silence.
From the Times of London:
1. Alfie, a greedy chocolate Labrador, ate a wooden spoon while his owner was baking cakes. Having mixed the batter, the owner noticed that the mixing spoon was missing and saw that Alfie was showing signs of discomfort (and apparent guilt). He took the distressed mutt to the vet, who located the spoon in pieces in an x-ray and later operated to remove it.
2. A cat required an operation after swallowing a set of five rubber witch’s fingers. The costume fingers, which were part of a little girl’s Halloween get-up, had to be surgically removed.
3. A claim was received for medical treatment for a staffie called Busta who ate a rubber duck. The dog had been playing with its owners’ children when he swallowed the squeaky bath toy, which showed up clearly on the x-ray (pictured above).
4. In another case of a dog’s eyes being bigger than its stomach, a bulldog ate most of a wooden chair. When his owners came home, they found what was left of the chair in splinters, and the dog pining for a trip to the vet.
5. A Jack Russell terrier was playing with children in the garden and bit off more than he could chew when he swallowed a rubber chew toy. It was removed – and he bounced back.
6. An English springer spaniel got very unlucky when he impaled himself on the stick he was carrying. The dog was playing fetch in a local park, stumbled and dropped the stick, which caught his neck and punctured his throat. He was rushed into emergency surgery and made a complete recovery.
7. A hungry Labrador retriever was out with its owner on a fishing trip when he took the bait – and swallowed a fish hook.
8. A curious mongrel ate a whole pack of ibuprofen, causing a headache for his owner, who rushed him to the vet for treatment. The dog was put on a drip and kept under observation (reducing a potentially inflammatory situation).
9. A female Schnauzer was operated on after eating several sanitary pads.
10. A male Vallhund – a breed favoured by the Vikings – received treatment after being bitten on the lip by a rat.
Rocky notes that some of his most popular posts involve “toilet humor.” Mindful of the risks of “straining too hard,” but desirous of maintaining the “flow” on this subject, Rocky notes that November 19th is World Toilet Day.
Although Trophy Wife serves on the boards of numerous charities, she refuses to become an officer of the World Toilet Organization. Her apathy towards this venerable, yet disrespected charity, is typical amongst philanthropists.
Fifty years ago, no one discussed Breast Cancer in polite company. According to the World Toilet Organization, toilet problems face the same taboo today.
Rocky urges his readers to visit the World Toilet Organization website (http://worldtoilet.org/ ) and learn about their work, including the World Toilet College, where they help train people to “help themselves and others.”
The website includes a quote from Jimmy Carter, identified as “Ex-President” (not to be confused with “ex-Lax”):
“Now instead of my being famous for negotiating peace, I’m famous for being the Number One latrine builder.”
November 19th is World Toilet Day. Consider a donation. Or even better, volunteer and “dive- in,” head-first!
Alarmed that Obama’s error could drastically curtail the demand for leg amputations, the American College of Surgeons immediately issued a press release:
“President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.” The full Surgical Press Release is here: http://www.facs.org/news/obama081209.html
Although $1,000 for a leg amputation ”feels” like a good price, Rocky wonders whether the Surgeons might consider offering an amputation volume discount? Or, how about, “buy one, keep one free!”
[Disclosure: Rocky admits that he is prone to hyperbole and exaggeration. He now realizes that the President may be guilty of the same offense. The primary difference is that the White House website lacks the proper disclaimer. See: http://onehonestman.wordpress.com/mea-culpa/ ]
The following flow-chart (which outlines the House Democrats’ Health Plan) reminds Rocky of Offering Memoranda that he read for CMO and CDO-squared structures in 2006 and 2007. This chart was provided by the Joint Economic Committee, Republican staff.
Rocky’s rule of thumb in investing: If he doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t invest in it. Rocky doesn’t understand this chart.
One can only hope that this “structure” has a happier-ending than the structured finance market.
GM and Chrysler employees will no longer receive unlimited, free Viagra, as the UAW “tightens its belt.” [Click here.]
Rocky notes that Ford and Chrysler consider the volume of employee Viagra consumption to be a trade secret, but GM disclosed that it spends $17 million per year on Viagra, which averages out to $150 for every one of their male employees. The HMO bulk price for Viagra is around $.50 per dose, which means that the “average” male GM employee pops the little blue pill an impressive 300 times each year!
Rocky ponders, do sleepy and exhausted workers help explain GM’s quality control problems?
Rocky understands the need to control health care costs, but he was dismayed to learn that the UAW agreed to cancel Nexium coverage too.
Nexium is the “purple pill” that offers 24-hour heartburn relief. There’s no shortage of heartburn amongst GM employees!
[CORRECTION/UPDATE: Rocky's math assumed that 50% GM employees are male. Trophy Wife points out that, in reality, only 20% of GM employees are female [click here], which means that the “average” GM employee consumes Viagra “only” 189 times each year. Rocky thanks Trophy Wife for this correction.]