Saturday, July 25, 2015

US Election, democracy, socialism, healthcare and your cell phone service

In the United States we claim to be a pure democracy when that is clearly not the truth giving "Too Big to Fail" as an example of corporate socialism. The IRS and government is not going to help so why should it help business. Maybe corporations and Wall Street should act a little more conservatively and for the long term rather than instant gratification. (there is plenty of research on the subject... even a 60 minutes article with 1st graders)

Any time you go to the doctor sign all this paperwork agreeing to the cost of whatever procedure or service you are there for, however, they cannot tell you how much it's going to cost. But you have to agree. When was the last time you went to McDonalds ordered a burger and are then presented with a bill for the food and then on the way out the door another bill for using a table and then another for discarding your trash. The last time I was in the hospital with my kids everyone who stopped by sent us a bill. It was assumed that because we had insurance that we could pay every deductible or copay. Had the hospital presented one bill there would be one deductible and one copay. In another example we were transitioning from one insurance company to another and had not yet elected COBRA. When presented with a "uninsured/cash" option that cost a very small fraction insured copay we made that choice. Since then we have received the bill for the full insured cost.

The cell phone market is heating up. It started a few years ago when T-Mobile started converting customers for free and assuming the balance on any phone purchase. Things are heating up again as prices are starting to drop again. Granted programs like NEXT are meant to jack the cost up again and make subscribers sticky again... but the latest pricewar seems to be starting. XXGB+unlimited data and no contract for $50/mo. The "no contract" option is a little marketing misdirection because (a) the company is charging setup fees every time you change carrier (b) and you will likely have to buy a new phone unless you already have an unlocked phone (c) and unless your phone is paid for you'll have to pay that off too.

Call it what you want. Things should be fair and based on truth. This is where government should be stepping in.

** I recently wrote about the 12,000 Apple Watch. Normal markup is 50% but I believe Apple's markup is somewhere between 60-75%. That means for every 12K watch that Apple sells there is a 6000-$9000 profit. And it's no more complicated to sell one of those watches than it does any of their others.

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