Alternate Reality


Lifetime Diamond Supporter
Dec 5, 2003
Medicare, facing a precarious financial future, decided for the first time this year that seniors who need motorized wheelchairs (typical price, $5,500) will have to get an in-person doctor's prescription. Medicare paid $289 million for motorized wheelchairs in 1999, but this year, before the rule change, the estimated expense was $1.2 billion. Medicare also revealed that it is spending $600,000 this year to put its 800-telephone number on a blimp that flies over sporting events. [American Medical News, 10-6-03] [ AP, 10-22-03]

The New York Times reported in October that Nabors Industries (operator of oil-well drilling rigs), which in 2001 moved its legal headquarters from the U.S. to Barbados (corporate income tax: 1 percent) and its tax headquarters to a mail drop in Bermuda (no corporate income tax), is now insisting that it receive favored U.S. legal status. Nabors wants to be treated as an American-owned company to get a competitive advantage under the 80-year-old Jones Act that bars non-U.S. companies from working on ships involved in domestic trade. [New York Times, 10-18-03]
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