Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘Utilities’ tag

The Whys and Wherefores of “I Will Buy Your Insulin Test Strips”

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For months,maybe years, my husband Tim and I have been seeing signs plastered on utility poles that say “I will buy your Insulin Test Strips” around the neighborhood with a proliferation of them around the MetroHealth Campus.

Today, I finally thought to ask my Facebook friends to help me out with the reason why. Thanks to those friends and others I now know a bit more of the story behind the signs. It appears there is a black market for insulin test strips. Some diabetics may need to test 5 to 10 times a day to help them control the disease. It would be my supposition that some one needing to test that frequently may be what is called a “brittle” diabetic but may be not. According to my sources, it is not uncommon for these test strips to bring $1.00 a piece on the black market.

So, who sells these test strips on the black market? Apparently, many people do-relatives of people who have died, criminals who steal them from friends, neighbors and relatives who need them, and others who should use the test strips themselves but find the reselling of them too lucrative to pass up. Imagine my surprise to find out that this black market item is as lucrative as prescription  pain medications.

There is a bit of misinformation out there that I believe needs to be cleared up-“Medicare and Medicaid patients can get all they can use for free”.  I have a friend on Medicaid whose doctor requested that she get the number of test strips needed to enable her to test twice a day. Medicaid denied the request allowing her one a day. Now, Medicaid usually follows the lead of Medicare guidelines so although I do not KNOW what medicare allows or does not allow, I do know that not every Medicaid patient gets whatever amount they need and if I were a betting person I would probably bet that Medicare probably has strict guidelines as well.

I understand that Medical Mutual is a company that will ship strips, glucose tabs, and other testing stuff quarterly if you sign up for one of their programs and you dot the i’s and cross the t’s just so. I am sure other insurance companies have similar plans, but many of them, as some of my sources say, are very expensive.  There is also the option of going to the company involved directly. Pharmaceutical Company Foundations will often supply prescriptions and supplies to people who do not qualify for other help in getting the medications they need.

 

But back to the issue at hand, the unsuitability of these signs on utility poles in my neighborhood.  Kate Dupuis, an employee of the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office has declared war against the unsightliness of these signs as well as “Free Roofs”,”We Buy Houses Cash”, “Poor Credit, No Credit We Have Cars”.  Take a photo of the sign, its location, the utility pole number if possible, and email it to Kate at kdupuis@dscdo.org.  She is compiling a list to bring to the City so that action can be taken against the parties responsible.  There is a fine for each sign posted. If we can multiplying the number to make the fine significant, action can and will be taken.

Somehow, a black market for test strips seems so wrong given the recent event of a 36 year old man dying because he was unable to buy insulin when needed because his prescription expired.  http://www.wkyc.com/story/news/health/2015/02/11/emergency-insulin/23276399/  We live in a messed-up world, and it is up to us to change it.

Overused, but no less true .    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

–Margaret Mead

Written by Gloria Ferris

February 16th, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Talking Points for First Energy PUCO Hearing January 20, 2015

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First Energy PUCO Hearings – Talking Points
• Roughly one in three Ohio households, 1.4 million in all, are considered cost burdened by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards, paying more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing and utilities combined. Ohio families can’t afford a monopoly power plant bailout.
• According to the 2013 Home Energy Affordability Gap Report, more than 300,000 Ohio households pay over 30 percent of their annual income just on their home energy bills alone.
• FirstEnergy is asking the PUCO to permit its subsidiaries, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, and Cleveland Illuminating Company, to buy from FirstEnergy’s own power plants, at a premium, instead of from the PJM wholesale market where they are required to buy – as part of the deregulation FirstEnergy itself petitioned for.
• If this bailout goes through, consumers will be on the hook for FirstEnergy’s bad business decisions – at a projected cost of over $3 billion over fifteen years.
• If the ESP is approved, FirstEnergy would realize a revenue surplus of around $2 billion over operating costs for the fifteen year arrangement.
• FirstEnergy is fudging the numbers. To get an Electric Security Plan instead of a Market Rate Offer, FirstEnergy has to show a cost savings for customers. But even though they’re asking for a three year ESP, they’re claiming customer savings not over three years, but over the life of the 15 year power purchase agreement bailout they want. And even those numbers are wild speculation.
• When FirstEnergy’s own projections are limited to the 3 year span of the actual ESP, instead of the 15 year extended rider they’re seeking, FirstEnergy’s own projections indicate a $400 million net ratepayer loss.
• FirstEnergy’s proposal is anticompetitive. Getting this bail out would mean that FirstEnergy can undercut more efficient producers in the wholesale electricity market. Driving out those producers will limit energy choice.
• FirstEnergy says efficiency upgrades are costly, but they want these subsidies because they are losing out in the wholesale market – to wind and natural gas.
• Because with this rider, FirstEnergy recovers its full “cost” of generation, the rider would create an incentive for FirstEnergy to inflate its costs, which are not totally transparent to the PUCO.
• FirstEnergy is saying this plan will save customers money in the long run – but if that’s true, why don’t they want to take the risk and realize those cost savings for themselves? They’re asking PUCO to force customers to take a risk they’re not willing to take themselves.
• FirstEnergy has successfully petitioned the PUCO not to release cost and revenue figures so the public can learn the full story. If this plan really will benefit consumers, then what do they have to hide?
• FirstEnergy is asking the government to enforce a monopoly. Even though customers may want to choose a different supplier, those served by FirstEnergy power lines would still have to pay the surcharge – even though this surcharge is for subsidizing unprofitable plants, not for grid maintenance.

Written by Gloria Ferris

January 6th, 2015 at 9:26 pm