By Molly Mulebriar
We are all aware that health care costs continue to rise. We have fooled ourselves about why that is so. But what does this article have to do about food?
Food costs are escalating as fast as medical prices these days. There is a common denominator between the two.
With the advent of third party payers in the health care world, consumers were happy to pay low co-pays with the balance funded with other people’s money (OPM). The medical care industry has taken advantage of the OPM syndrome by raising prices, year after year through secretive managed care contracts. The infamous escalator clause common to these contracts guarantee price increases, compounded annually.
Food insurance has had the same effect. Over 50,000,000 Americans are now covered by food insurance funded with other people’s money. Visiting local grocery stores with a food insurance card is akin to giving Little Johnny daddy’s credit card and dropping him off at Toyland with instructions to “buy anything you like, I will be back with our moving van to pick you up in an hour.” The only difference between food and health insurance is food insurance has no co-pays.
Toyland, and other retailers, sensing a spectacular opportunity to improve their bottom line must balance higher prices with customer satisfaction. Repeat customers are important. With +50,000,000 potential customers covered by food insurance funded by OPM, food retailers have sworn loyalty. Raising prices for free food is of no concern to food insurance beneficiaries.
As food costs increase over time, perhaps more Americans will qualify for free food insurance. As the American food crisis deepens, at some point one could expect Uncle Sam to step in and mandate every American be covered.
“Food stamps for all” would be a strong platform for aspiring politicians. Homer G. Farnsworth, M.D. pointed out in his latest book (Destruction Within – The Great American Decline) a famous American politician once said “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what the country can do for you.”