Thursday, March 11, 2010

Medicare Will Pay For It


Perhaps you have seen those obnoxious commercials for this powered wheelchair from "The Scooter Store." Every time I see it, I grit my teeth and tell myself that this is the kind of crap for which the government just loves to spend taxpayer dollars.

But you have to hand it to this organization. They know a growing demographic when they see one and see the Obamacare writing on the wall.

Even thinks this is one of "the best companies for growth" in the U.S.

38. Scooter Store

Scooter Store
Job growth: 51%
U.S. employees: 2,173
2010 Best Companies rank: 38

Not to be confused with those zippy little rides for kids, the Scooter Store specializes in medical power chairs for seniors -- and is no fad. The company notched some impressive job growth last year thanks to the aging baby boomer population and a strategic marketing shift.

Instead of relying on television advertisements, the Scooter Store bulked up its sales force to court doctors and assisted living facilities directly, with much success. New positions have also opened up for those who provide delivery, service and administrative support across the country.

Although Executive Vice President Mike Pfister doesn't anticipate the same level of growth that the company experienced last year, he estimates it will remain in the double digits. "We try to provide an alternative for going to a nursing home," he said, and "people believe in our ideology."
I am not saying that the product is crap. I am saying that the spiel is. "Don't worry about the cost... the government is taking care of you." First of all, Medicare is not going to pay for it unless you are broke [which is as it should be], so the commercial is nothing more than the classic "bait and switch" updated to "we know you want it, but the bad old government won't pay for it like we thought they would, so we can set up an easy payment plan for you." Remember... it's paid for by the government, if you get prequalified by the company. Likely you won't, but likely you'll get the hard sell... or the wrong sell.

If this is one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., you had better check your wallets on April 15... or after you call them.

Compare this to the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan subsidiary which lets doctors decide and then offers some really good prices on medical equipment here. I think I would go through a process that includes a professional organization of doctors and therapists before running out to buy some equipment that may or may not be suitable.



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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)