Let’s try out this guest post thing!

I posted this in Sunday’s comments, but let’s try it as a guest post (with a few edits).

I think I’ve shared before, but if not, here’s how I approached food storage.

Some needed background: I started prepping for a specific event– Y2K causing social disruption or an excuse for terror attacks. Since I lived in CA, those preps morphed into my “earthquake kit”, then after a move to the Gulf Coast, it became my “hurricane kit.” My focus was on a regional disaster of limited duration, and local effect (aid could come from outside the region but would be delayed in arriving.) As such I had NO bulk long term storage of staples. Ebola and RBT’s prompting, as well as the deteriorating world political and economic climate convinced me I needed to up my food storage significantly. This is when I added “significant and prolonged economic downturn” and “global collapse” to my prepping scenarios.

Back to food. In all my preps I strive for ‘defense in depth’ and redundancy. Food is no different. I think of my food storage in tiers.

First is my pantry. This is the food in the kitchen. Stuff we eat every day, and cooking supplies. Fresh vegetables and meat in the fridge, fresh fruit, and some canned sides and seasonings. Before the kids, we ate mostly home cooked meals, made from primary ingredients. We eat more prepared foods, and convenience foods now, and fewer ‘made from scratch’ meals. That’s changed what’s in the cabinets a bit, as there are more quick pastas and other quick side dishes but it’s mostly stuff we eat regularly and often.

Second tier is my “store”. This is the area just inside my garage (steps from my kitchen by going out the back door) where I keep a “store” for items we use up on a regular basis. They are on shelves and can easily be seen and grabbed to take into the kitchen and restock the pantry. My freezer and second fridge are here. The shelves hold 3-6 months usage of stuff like condiments, peanut butter and jelly, snacks for the kids’ lunches, ziplok bags, some cleaning stuff. It’s meant to be the first place to go when something in the kitchen that we use all the time runs out, instead of running to the store. It also has some things we don’t use as often but like to keep close by like rice cups, crock pot sauces, peanut oil, bottled drinks and juice boxes, etc. The fridge holds eggs, milk, cream, beer, wine, soda, cheese in many forms, and fresh meat if it won’t fit in the kitchen or is waiting for me to repack and freeze it. The small freezer in the fridge holds microwaveable meals, bread, pizza, mostly convenience foods. The modestly sized chest freezer holds meat mainly, much of it bought in bulk then repacked and vac sealed. Sometimes there is bread, usually some Costco heat and eat convenience food, and a couple gallons of frozen liquid eggs. The majority is bulk protein.

The third tier, and area, is some relatively recent shelving. It holds my backups for the “store” area, bulk cleaners, my serious canned goods, sauces, seasonings, oils, etc. I consider this my longer term area as it has stuff we don’t normally eat much of (canned veg, meat, and beans) but will be needed if we get to that point. I do pull from this area directly when I make something with pouch meat, canned ham, or I need a quick side dish that’s not on the shelf in the “store” area. Ideally everything in this area has a 2 year or longer shelf life. I have some of it organized on cardboard flats in 30day groupings. One flat has 30 cans of meat. One has 30 cans of veg or starch. The two flats together are minimal meals for our family for 30 days. I can see at a glance how many days I can get with just those 30 day flats. I’ve also got my Mountain House freeze dried meals in this area. I have them in boxes of so many people for so many days. Ie, each box has breakfast, lunch, snack, drink flavors, and dinner for x people for x days. I can grab the boxes if we have to leave in a hurry and know I’ve just got to add water and heat. They are light and compact.

When groceries come home they go into the pantry if fresh, or into the third tier if long term. The third refreshes the second, and the second refreshes the pantry and kitchen. There is some rotation by doing it this way, just less than perfect because some of the items never get used in normal life.

The last tier is bulk staples. These are not something I use or access ever. I just put them in buckets or bins, and hope I never get that hungry. Flour, rice (couple varieties), salt, sugar, oil, powered milk, and some coffee in big tins. If things really go south, I expect this to extend the other tiers of stored food, and/or to provide charity or assistance if prudent. If I buy some long term storage freeze-drieds, this is where they will go.

Finally, the TV coverage of the tornadoes in OK a year or so ago convinced me of the need to have backups OFFSITE. So I have a lot more bulk, cans, water, fuel, stoves, pots and pans, and other supplies stored elsewhere. That was a bit of a ‘panic buy’ and is far less organized. I expect a bunch of spoilage in that offsite storage, although I’m trying to rotate some of it home. Like I said before, I expect spoilage and waste in my long term storage food. We just don’t eat those things in our everyday lives, and my storage conditions are less than ideal. I can live with it. Can’t live without it 🙂

nick

So that’s how I do it. The system has evolved over time, and worked well through several regional disasters. The addition of longer term and bulk was very easy to integrate, as I just tacked it on to the back end. I’ve still got a way to go, but I feel pretty good about where I am at the moment, and can focus on other things. It should be clear, but if it’s not, almost all of it was incremental. With the exception of the couple of months when I added a bunch of cans and bulk to every Costco trip in my ‘panic buy’, I built what I have by simply buying a bit extra with every shopping trip, especially looking for bargains and buying what was on sale at the time.

I’m looking forward to the comments, and seeing how this whole thing looks 🙂

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

80 thoughts on “Let’s try out this guest post thing!”

  1. I like your tiered approach. I’m working on my wife, to have more of a “store” area, from which we restock the kitchen.

    European culture is sometimes weird: the classic household here goes shopping almost every day! In the US, it’s at least normal to stock up for a week. Here, you buy what you’re cooking tonight, and maybe tomorrow. From this mentality to having stocks for months, well, it’s a long trip…

    Ok, we have a full and full-sized freezer, and stocks of sugar, flour and the like in the pantry. Enough to see us through a massive snow storm or such – maybe a couple of weeks. If I can formalize the “shop” idea, and relieve her of the bulk shopping, then I can grow the stocks gradually. She can still do the daily shopping for fresh fruits and veggies, why not?

  2. If you can stand it, or if you actually like it, like I do on occasion,
    canned mackerel is the cheapest (I mean least expensive per unit
    weight) protein (I mean meat) that you are likely to find.
    It’s packed like canned salmon, with edible vertebrae, and it can
    be eaten straight or in some sort of patties.
    On a tangent, this is a good time to mention “unit pricing” on the
    grocery shelf… but be aware of the weight of liquids being included
    in the product weight in some cases, or in all cases. It’s hard to tell
    without weighing the useful product and comparing, I guess.
    Feel free to consider the mackerel broth to be “useful” if you wish, but
    I think it’s unwise to pay “meat” prices for it.
    One canine of dubious good sense really really liked that broth and
    any fish chunks I decided to share poured on cheap (I mean cheap)
    dry dog food, so it does have a use.

  3. Good post. I’ll probably follow it with a similar post of my own.

    Like you, I don’t worry about “best-by” dates, which for canned and foil-pouched items are pretty much imaginary. I’m old enough to remember when cans didn’t have best-by dates. That started in the early 70’s, IIRC, and it was never really anything more than manufacturers trying to convince people to throw out perfectly good food and buy more. I’ve eaten canned foods that were 40 and 50 years old, and they were just fine. A few of them tasted a bit “old”, but all were still safe, edible, and nutritious.

    The idea persists that canned tomato products have very short shelf lives. That may have been true up to the 50’s or 60’s, when some canned foods did not have the interiors plastic coated, but the use of BPA (later replaced almost entirely by PET), eliminated any corrosion danger from acid foods.

    Keep posting!

  4. It does feel a bit strange poking around in someone else’s blog, and this was unplanned, but that’s why I like questions and comments–they give me something to build off of.

    @brad, the European habits will take some overcoming, but there are plenty of non-prepper habits here too. A lot of people, especially the lower economic classes, never cook. They eat almost every meal out. That’s not good prepping. And at the opposite end of the spectrum you find the same thing, but for different reasons. Lots of busy two income households rarely cook due to time constraints. In both cases, money for prepping is just going out the door to restaurant owners.

    I wonder if the ‘shop every day’ habit comes from the aftermath of the World Wars. Lack of widespread refrigeration, small housing, and a serious lack of food (UK didn’t stop rationing until the mid-60s IIRC) would all bias toward just getting what you need for the day. You see similar habits in crowded and expensive US urban areas. Small apartments, small refrigerators, nearby stores, and eating a lot of prepared foods.

    And it’s a lot easier to prep and store food when you are the one doing the shopping! It’s something I haven’t given a lot of thought to, and I don’t have a strategy for overcoming. Off the top of my head, maybe take on the stored food chores like you take on the outdoor grilling?

    Have to go meet someone for a Craigslist sale, shouldn’t be more than a few hours….

    nick

  5. Like you, I don’t worry about “best-by” dates, which for canned and foil-pouched items are pretty much imaginary. I’m old enough to remember when cans didn’t have best-by dates.

    I tend to agree, but my wife is very anxious about food past the date, even sell by dates.

  6. I wonder if the ‘shop every day’ habit comes from the aftermath of the World Wars.

    true, and after it was 1900, also, remember since 1950s and perhaps before american way of life was automobile way of life, so, longer distances were affordable, since tiem could not be stretched, minimize tiem and go once a week or more

  7. I don’t worry much about best before dates, but on UHT milk and soft drink they do make sense. A few years ago I discovered some of the above in a long neglected cupboard, about five years beyond the date. The milk had gone more or less solid and the soft drink was awful, so they both got turfed.

    Spook wrote:

    “Feel free to consider the mackerel broth to be “useful” if you wish…”

    Or kippers, herring or sardines… Yum.

    Vegemite, the toast spread of heaven, is also worth keeping.

  8. So, uh, is this the accepted defined area for exclusively prepping notes, tips and comments?

  9. I have always practiced @nick’s tiered approach, that is basically the old way my family on both sides has kept food for centuries. That was just the way it was done.

    WRT best “by dates”: While in most cases they can be ignored I am finding that canned tomato products are not storing well, even in ideal conditions. About 10% of canned tomato products (brand exclusive) are swelling, developing holes, and leaking well before their “best by” date.

    I am considering trying to repackage some “tinned canned” tomato products into Mason/Ball Jars and pressure canning them. I want to see if this second “canning”
    affects taste/quality.

    Today’s cans are substantially thinner than 10-years ago. While it is a plus that most no longer have a side or bottom seam, the “safe” coating that is being used is not effective. IMHO, the “best by” date means more how long the inside coating is still effective and not the wholesomeness of the product contained.

  10. Suggestion for titling for our “guest” posters: A date in the title would be helpful as well as topic.

    @RBT’s post just using a date is fine as it is basically a chronicle.

  11. Both BPA and PET are impervious to acidity at the pH of canned food. It sounds like you got a batch with faulty inside coatings. Of course, we don’t store tomato products other than spaghetti sauces in PET bottles, which I know from experience remains fine for years past its best-by date.

  12. I have some of the same experience.

    Cans are thinner. I have several exploded soft drink cans in the past year, and I’ve had some swollen canned goods.

    One nice thing about the imported cans, they are generally thicker steel.

    DEFINITELY follow the use by dates on UHT milk. It might not kill you, but it turns to tapioca in the carton. That is one of my biggest areas of spoilage.

    The other is pasta stored in cardboard boxes. It gets a stale flavor after about a year past due….probably not harmful, but not tasty.

    nick

  13. “Suggestion for titling for our “guest” posters: A date in the title would be helpful as well as topic.”

    Weird, I noticed that it lost the date as title like RBT’s posts have.

    I added a tag, ‘guest post – nick’ and tagged my post, so I guess if we used that as a convention, all my posts will be find-able.

    Or whatever RBT wants, it’s his place after all…..

    nick

  14. Okay, I’m going to take you guys’ word for it. As to UHT milk, it’s obviously not intended for or suitable for LTS. As to canned tomato products, I don’t store them. I store lots of spaghetti sauce in PET jars, and they last for years. . I store evaporated milk in cans, which remains good if a bit ugly looking for years.

  15. I enter dates manually for my article titles. You’re welcome to keep doing it as you are, add a date to your titles, or whatever. As you may have noticed, I’m pretty laid-back about people doing whatever they wish.

  16. Suggestion for non-RBT post titles: if you’re focusing on a single topic and wish to encourage commenters to stick to that topic, put something like “Prepping – Food Storage #1” as the title. If it’s a more general topic, something like “Supergenius Nick’s Superuseful Post for 2016/07/11”.

    I’m pretty laid-back about people doing whatever they wish.

    To paraphrase Sarah Hoyt: I’m going to take over the world and then leave people ruthlessly alone.

  17. I tried that. In 2008 and 2012 (IIRC) I ran for Dictator for Life, but I didn’t get many votes. Had I won, I would indeed have left people ruthlessly alone.

  18. Word is that the FDA is looking to revise the regulations on “sell by” and “best by” dates to reduce food wasted by being thrown out too early.

  19. As far as I know, the FDA has no regulations about sell-by or best-by dates for any food other than infant food. States do regulate sb/bb dates on some foods.

  20. One prep thing we don’t talk a lot about is health. Diet, exercise, physicals, dental health, etc. Anybody have any input? I know Dr. Bob isn’t big on the exercise and doctor stuff. How important is this stuff? Assuming you are in good health.

  21. One prep thing we don’t talk a lot about is health. Diet, exercise, physicals, dental health, etc. Anybody have any input? I know Dr. Bob isn’t big on the exercise and doctor stuff. How important is this stuff? Assuming you are in good health.

    I’m assuming being physically active is important. I think as with anything, balance is important. You don’t want to overdo and cause injuries, but you don’t want to get too carried away.

  22. I wonder if the ‘shop every day’ habit comes from the aftermath of the World Wars. Lack of widespread refrigeration, small housing, and a serious lack of food (UK didn’t stop rationing until the mid-60s IIRC) would all bias toward just getting what you need for the day. You see similar habits in crowded and expensive US urban areas. Small apartments, small refrigerators, nearby stores, and eating a lot of prepared foods.

    We lived in the way far outskirts of London back in the summer of 1973. One of the weird problems was the constant rotating power outages. Anywhere from a single hour to multiple hours. The Arab oil embargo was ongoing then and quite a bit of the power was produced with slightly refined crude oil. So, they moved to coal. And now the Brits are moving to wind and going back to rotating power outages.

    So, the people of GB are used to power outages which means refrigeration difficulties and electric cooking problems (not much natural gas in GB but that is changing). So, more prepared food.

    The nearest tube stop to us was three blocks away but there were several very small (15 ft wide by 30 ft deep) specialty food shops within a block away. We lived in a huge tenement with well over 1,000 other families.

  23. Like you, I don’t worry about “best-by” dates, which for canned and foil-pouched items are pretty much imaginary. I’m old enough to remember when cans didn’t have best-by dates.

    Why not cycle those out of date cans into a deep, dark reserve ? I’ve got about 40 or 50 soup cans going out of date this year so I plan to move those to the back of my office shelves. When you are starving, they might taste pretty good then.

  24. ‘One prep thing we don’t talk a lot about is health. Diet, exercise, physicals, dental health, etc.’

    Shiver… Dentistry before Amalgam and anesthesia. I SURE wouldn’t want to depend on extractions and liquor. How much stannous fluoride toothpaste do you have?

    Thanks for the reminder

  25. Shiver… Dentistry before Amalgam and anesthesia. I SURE wouldn’t want to depend on extractions and liquor.

    You are going to have tooth problems if you live long enough. I am 56 and have ten crowns with one root canal.

    See the movie “Castaway” for a novel tooth extraction method.

    How much stannous fluoride toothpaste do you have?

    I bought two more four packs of Crest at Sam’s Club saturday night. So I am back up to 3.5 packages (14 tubes of toothpaste). The wife keeps about four tubes on hand and I have no idea about the daughter, she can use my stash if necessary.

    One wonders how good the “good by” date on toothpaste is? The ones I bought were Jan 2019.

  26. I love to run. I bike to work as often as schedules permit – 1-2 days/week. I don’t like hiking or camping, but do on occasion. I’m still over 250, so I’m not as spry as I could be, but I’m getting back there. Knee injury 5 years ago did a lot more damage than just the knee.

    Fitness is critically important. When you can’t get there from here, and you need to, you’ll know. Fitter people tend to survive where the unfit fail.

  27. One prep thing we don’t talk a lot about is health. Diet, exercise, physicals, dental health, etc. Anybody have any input? I know Dr. Bob isn’t big on the exercise and doctor stuff. How important is this stuff? Assuming you are in good health.

    Having a hospital nearby for immediate items like heart attacks is imperative. The sooner they can help you, the less damage there is. I had a fairly major heart attack six years ago and lost the back side of my heart (around 15% of the muscle). One of my great grandfathers had a heart attack about 30 miles away from here in Wharton in 1935 when he was 52. No treatment. He never walked again (angina ?) and died two years later. I walk just fine, I just get easily tired (I walk two miles each night OUTSIDE in the misery that is called Houston right now for six months).

    Or cancer. My wife is ten year breast cancer survivor. She had the entire breast cut off (mastectomy) at age 45 and rebuilt using belly skin / fat at MDACC. Fairly specialized microscopic surgery to move two arteries and two veins. One in eleven women will get breast cancer during their life time. Before age 40 is still usually a death sentence but others have ultra high survival rate if found in time. Best treatment is still a mastectomy (amputation).

    My other great grandfather got kicked in the stomach by a mule while he was plowing a field in 1945 just 25 miles away from here in Wharton. Ripped an artery loose and he could not walk home. He died in the field since they did not get him to the hospital quick enough.

    Access to blood pressure drugs and measuring equipment is ultra important for anyone over the age of 45. I take 25 mg of a extended release beta blocker (metaprolol) per day. Knocks my blood pressure from 140 / 100 down to 110 / 70.

    There are many other medical problems out there. My daughter had both sides of her thyroid removed when she was 18 due to three goiters blocking her windpipe. She takes a daily mix of synthroid and armour thyroid for the rest of her life.

    Having babies is tough on women and babies. I forget what the pre-hospital death rate was but I seem to remember 10% for both. And I can personally attest that even having a baby in a hospital can result in death of the baby and / or the mother.

  28. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other people with more than just basic medical and emergency training will be worth their weight in gold if the SHTF bad enough. It’s been a struggle to keep them here in Vermont for a while now, and then with ObolaCARE and our truly effed “HealthConnect” mess of a web site and enrollment nightmares even harder. Mrs. OFD can’t sign up again until January and will probably need surgery on at least one eye, we figure both eventually. And she’ll need thyroid meds for the rest of HER life, too. We are starting to realize we may just have to bite the bullet for some medical issues and pay cash, and not pay something else, if necessary. I also found out last week from one of the other vets who has been through the mill with this stuff and then some, that if we’re over 50% disabled, the VA takes precedence over Medicare/Medicaid. As it is, the VA has taken good care of me and I have zero complaints thus far, other than occasional communications breakdowns recently and delays in getting back to me with info.

    After SHTF and no VA care and hospitals kaput? Mass suffering and die-off. If wife doesn’t have her thyroid meds, she’s gonna be gone in a month or two, at most. I only take a minor BP pill every day and could manage OK without it. But as we all know, chit can strike us at any time, esp. as we age, and are more prone to stuff, as well as accidents. Get ancient enough and slip on the ice and you’re liable to fracture multiple bones and knock you out of commission until you finally croak. Shovel snow too fast and too hard and get a nice haht attack or stroke. And that’s just the physical stuff; what about mental issues? My dad died of early-onset Alzheimer’s and in his last year or two really needed 7×24 care; now my mom is going through that, same deal. There’s that, senility and dementia, and gee what a surprise, PTSD of varying levels among millions of returned combat vets and also with emergency personnel.

    So let’s hope that at worse it’s a slow slide and minor dystopia and not a full-fledged catastrophe.

  29. So let’s hope that at worse it’s a slow slide and minor dystopia and not a full-fledged catastrophe.

    Amen bro! Cliffs suck, velocity kills.

  30. Yep. Once I’m prepped up enough to take care of us all (fems included), I don’t want to croak from a heart attack.

    My Mom is on 10 scripts and will die in a couple of weeks without them. She’s made it to 91 with two fake knees, busted hip, breast cancer (beat it with mastectomy), rectal cancer (in check with chemo pills), high BP, thyroid, insulin, afib. Most of those will take her in a couple of weeks.

    If I store seeds and then croak, the fems will try to eat them rather than plant them. Just like in those African countries. No good dirt here anyways.

    I brought this up since I lost a filling Thu last. Got in to the dentist Fri and they now mostly put in “inlays” instead of fillings. They scan the hole and mill the inlay from a block of ceramic. Glue it in. Imagine no anaesthesia dentistry? No, thanks.

  31. I also found out last week from one of the other vets who has been through the mill with this stuff and then some, that if we’re over 50% disabled, the VA takes precedence over Medicare/Medicaid.

    Um, no. Only if the VA has a contract with that hospital. If the VA and hospital do not have a relationship then you are on your own. My father-in-law found this out the hard way even though he is 90% disabled. As far as I can tell, he has spent $100,000 in the last two years and a lot of that went towards his medical bills when he was in the hospital and ER. He had not registered for Medicare since he was 100% covered by the VA, right? Wrong. Always register for Medicare three months before you turn 65 even if you think you are covered by something else.

    And, since he was 81 when he registered for Medicare, they wanted to charge him for not registering when he was 64.75. He kept on trying to tell them that he was covered by the VA but I am not sure what happened. He is covered by both now but I am not sure for what.

  32. I don’t want to croak from a heart attack.

    I’m still holding out for dying in a bizarre nose-picking accident.

    You laugh? Think it’s impossible? Consider this: sitting in your car at a traffic light, waiting, waiting, nothing better to do, go looking for treasure, then BAM! you get rear-ended by some idiot who wasn’t paying attention. Your air bag smacks your arm and your finger gets driven into your brain. Who’s laughing now?

  33. Imagine no anaesthesia dentistry? No, thanks.

    I tried that once. I split a wisdom tooth in half down to the root one night back when I was 35. Excruciating pain. I called my dentist at 2am (you do have a dentist, right ?) and he prescribed me some hydrocodone. Picked it up, only took the edge off.

    Met my dentist at his office at 8am. Was Christmas Eve day, he was normally closed. No support staff, Just me and him and another guy whose horse reared his head back into his lower jaw. He shot me up and I got some blessed relief. Then he went and fixed the horse dude. Then he pulled my tooth, sitting on my fricking chest.

  34. Made a trip up to Tx A&M to pick up some radio stuff from the auction. Nice drive, but they sure do get some wind.

    Then took 650 pounds of aluminum camera enclosure to the scrap yard. 14 pounds of stainless steel too, just from the giant hose clamps used to hold the enclosures to their pole mounts. Still have one pallet of enclosures left to break down. Worth it for the quick cash, and the long term money from the bits that go on ebay, but man that’s a lot of work. Still, cash is cash and every bit helps.

    My craigslist deal went down no problem. Guy was LMI on politics, but out of date on guns, and didn’t volunteer even a hint of prepping. Homeschooled his kids, and his teenage boy was with him to help lift and carry. Quiet kid, helped without complaint or needing direction.

    DIY dentistry should scare everyone. And you should have some basic dental first aid in your kit, like wax and oil of cloves. The pharmacy has a conveniently packaged kit. No reason not to add one to the preps……

    @steveF, now imagine that scene with a pen or a chopstick, so you can get deeper than your fat finger…………

    nick

  35. Beware of an insurance (obolacare or private) gotcha with “providers”. In this day and age hospitals are having a tough time keeping enough staff and providers so they use “travelers” (these are doctors nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, labs, etc.). Here comes the rub, your insurance only covers providers on their “approved network”. The “travelers” are not in their “approved network”. You will get a separate bill and you are expected to pay cash right now.

    I’ll try to spare you the long story, but about 18-months ago my wife had surgery to release a tendon in her right hand. The “in network” anesthesiologist came in for the pre-surgery brief. However, a “traveler” did the actual anesthesia and 2-months later we get a bill for $1,300.00 for the “anesthesia services”. My wife and I hit the roof and went to the doctor (who is a personal family friend, the surgery was in his “day clinic”) and asked “WTF is up here”. He turned red and said that he had had verbal agreement with the “traveler” that there would be no “out of network” bill. Out of personal friendship and professional courtesy he took care of things. You will not be as lucky. You will also not be informed beforehand, unless specifically ask and get in writing that no “out of network” services will be performed.

  36. ” You will also not be informed beforehand, unless specifically ask and get in writing that no “out of network” services will be performed.”

    Even then, they might try it. They did with me and an indian ortho reading some xrays, from india, via internet. DEF not in my network, despite my clear statements that I wouldn’t pay any out of network fees.

    Don’t remember what the outcome was, probably paid the in network charge to settle the bill. Might have paid it all. Cheaper than going into collections.

    nick

  37. The “travelers” are not in their “approved network”. You will get a separate bill and you are expected to pay cash right now

    That happened to me when I went to the ER for an issue. The hospital was in network, the ER doctor was not. Hospital was covered by insurance, doctor was not. Got a massive bill from the physicians practice (a group of doctors) for only 5 minutes worth of his time, something north of $2400.00.

    I contacted the insurance and demanded they pay. They said no, it was an out of network doctor and was not covered. I reminded the insurance company that the facility was in network and the use of the facility covered any doctors as if they were in network even if they were not. Because in an emergency situation the patient has no control over the choice of doctors. Dug up a little clause in the contract for my insurance coverage that basically said the same thing in 8,000 words. They agreed to cover after I threatened to take the matter to the state insurance office. (Good thing I did not have to because I have since found out those government workers are only drawing a paycheck and not really doing anything to justify their salary.)

    My insurance company also failed to cover a couple of my doctors visit because they said I had medicare. I had to inform them that I only had part A, not part B and thus the insurance company was the primary coverage. They did finally cover the cost.

    Insurance companies work by denying coverage and hoping the insured will not notice or understand the coverage. The insurance company when caught says it was an error. I disagree, I think it is intentional.

  38. Insurance companies work by denying coverage and hoping the insured will not notice or understand the coverage. The insurance company when caught says it was an error. I disagree, I think it is intentional.

    And we have a great book and movie, “The Rainmaker”:
    https://www.amazon.com/Rainmaker-John-Grisham/dp/0385339607/

    Will putting everyone in the USA on Medicare fix all these problems ?

    Or will we just get a new set of problems ?

  39. @steveF, now imagine that scene with a pen or a chopstick, so you can get deeper than your fat finger…

    The chopstick doesn’t work. “Bizarre Chinese take-out accident” is only mildly amusing, not nearly in the league of “bizarre nose-picking accident”. The pen might be OK, if you (or whoever writes your obituary) can gussy it up a bit.

  40. The insurance company when caught says it was an error. I disagree, I think it is intentional.

    Of course. There’s a benefit for trying and succeeding and no penalty for trying and failing. Happens constantly, in many contexts.

  41. “Always register for Medicare three months before you turn 65 even if you think you are covered by something else.”

    I’ll try to remember that, which will be easier if my senility doesn’t get any worse.

    “Your air bag smacks your arm and your finger gets driven into your brain. Who’s laughing now?”

    Moral: Don’t pick yer schnozz in traffic. Pull over to a rest area, like you do with yer smartypants phone and then go full boogie.

    So the info I’m getting in regard to medical practices, procedures and insurance is that it’s a friggin’ crap shoot and you have to practically be a lawyer yourself specializing in medical chit to keep on top of it so you don’t get effed too badly.

    Meanwhile I’m reading Robert Kaplan’s book from a few years ago on “The Coming Anarchy” and he starts it out by discussing the situation back then in west Africa, and strongly implying that that is how it will be in our Euro-American future. i.e., a Turd World nightmare of poverty, war and disease. And our current rulers are doing or not doing whatever it takes to accelerate the process.

    My hope is that we have enough people here with Western Christian educations and culture backing them up, along with the knowledge of technology and engineering to slam on the brakes. ‘Cause they sure don’t have that in west Africa anymore now that the hated white colonials are long gone, nor in much else of the rest of the world.

  42. “Imagine no anaesthesia dentistry?” Sad story. We lived in New Zealand 2001 – 2005 with our granddaughter. NZ had a comprehensive single payer health system at the time. Dentists visited the elementary school to examine the children. We were told Crystal had a cavity and needed a filling. So we visited the local dentist and were told they would take care of it at no cost. We sat in the waiting room upset listening to the cries of our little girl from the back. When the procedure over and the dentist came out I asked him if he had a problem giving her anesthetic. “What?” He replied “you didn’t request anesthetic. National insurance doesn’t cover it, you have to request it and pay extra” I felt awful that we subjected our little girl to what amounted to torture.

  43. “Out of network services”?!

    There are some things I pay cash for. But if I go to the doc or the hospital and hand them my insurance card, and they accept it, that’s a done deal. They would never have the right to suddenly bill me privately; they have accepted payment through insurance. How can it be otherwise? As Ray points out: you, the patient, usually have no control on what personnel the facility uses.

    On a legalistic front: You should be able to argue that you have an implied contract with the facility. I can’t think that such charges would ever stand up in court.

    I remember some of my Dad’s too-frequent hospital visits, 40 years ago. That was bad enough (an aspirin costs…what?). I had no idea it had gotten this bad!

  44. Oh, it’s worse than that. They cycle docs and specialists thru in 1 minute shifts just to bill you for them. They bill for meds, equipment, and svcs you never received, and they bill at about 1000% markup from cost.

    All this is to attempt to recover enough money to fund the operations after giving out a crap ton of care to illegals, indigent, drug seekers, and others with no means or desire to pay. Such care being mandated by law, without funding from same.

    It is an ugly mess, and Ocare made it orders of magnitude worse.

    nick

  45. “It is an ugly mess, and Ocare made it orders of magnitude worse.”

    In effect, simply commie redistribution of resources and money from one class to another. I maintain that it’s deliberate and with malice aforethought.

  46. All this is to attempt to recover enough money to fund the operations after giving out a crap ton of care to illegals, indigent, drug seekers, and others with no means or desire to pay. Such care being mandated by law, without funding from same.

    This is why I maintain that we need Medicare for All ™. The feddies broke the healthcare payment system, they need to fix it. At least under Medicare for All ™, the hospitals will get paid for each patient cycling through.

  47. This is why I maintain that we need Medicare for All ™. The feddies broke the healthcare payment system, they need to fix it. At least under Medicare for All ™, the hospitals will get paid for each patient cycling through.

    They’ll be losing money on every single patient visit.

  48. You’re proposing to solve a problem caused by federal government by increasing the power of federal government? How about my proposal that the government get out of healthcare (and everything else) entirely? If you want health insurance, you buy it yourself on the open market. If you want healthcare but you have no insurance and cannot pay for it, no doctor or hospital is obliged to provide services to you.

  49. In the US I’d just leave it to charity. Doctors, etc, who care can donate their time, benevolent people can voluntarily support such medicos/hospitals.

  50. This is why I maintain that we need Medicare for All ™. The feddies broke the healthcare payment system, they need to fix it. At least under Medicare for All ™, the hospitals will get paid for each patient cycling through.

    They’ll be losing money on every single patient visit.

    That is a separate issue. It is a well known fact that Medicare does not pay the cost of the service. Medicaid is far worse!

  51. You’re proposing to solve a problem caused by federal government by increasing the power of federal government? How about my proposal that the government get out of healthcare (and everything else) entirely? If you want health insurance, you buy it yourself on the open market. If you want healthcare but you have no insurance and cannot pay for it, no doctor or hospital is obliged to provide services to you.

    Not gonna happen without a reboot of the system. That reboot will be very painful. The USA will probably split into Dave Hardy’s 9, 10, or 11 countries. And, 50% (SWAG) of the citizenry will die in the process. The civil war to end all civil wars, I pray that it does not go nuclear.

  52. “They’ll be losing money on every single patient visit.”

    Not so wise man once said: “Sure we lose money with every sale, but we make it up in volume.”

    The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the addenda and other modifications used in the USofA (amounting to currently over 200,000 codes) specify the time that my be spent on a diagnosis/procedure. All of these times are ridiculously short as they have no basis in actuality. The payment amounts are further reduced by factors depending on whether Medicare or Medicaid is paying. The Medicaid payments vary by State. None of these payment schedules pay out a reasonable amount. Therefore providers attempt to pad their billing, and they frequently get away with it.

  53. “Therefore providers attempt to pad their billing, and they frequently get away with it.”

    yep, they know their submitted bill will be cut by x% as a matter of course, so they just increase the bill by the same x% to end up where they started.

    This has the effect of making service look MUCH more expensive than it actually is, and makes service for anyone who DOESN’T have a negotiated rate more expensive. You can reduce this by negotiating directly with your provider, offering to pay cash at the BCBS negotiated rate, for example. Or just whack 40% off whatever number they give you as a starting point. FWIW, my buddy negotiated the cost of his childbirth in advance with a major CA hospital, so I know it is doable. I’ve had providers accept the in network rate for out of network procedures if it helps them (IE they prefer to use a certain medical center.) The problem is doing the negotiation BEFORE you need the service.

    If you aren’t in the habit of asking for discounts, or offering alternatives, you’d be surprised how often it works. Do it politely, and accept the ‘no’ graciously if that’s the answer. You have nothing to lose.

    nick

  54. In the US I’d just leave it to charity. Doctors, etc, who care can donate their time, benevolent people can voluntarily support such medicos/hospitals.

    That works OK when only 60% of the patients are not paying. Many hospitals are approaching 80% of non-payers, especially in the inner cities.

  55. This has the effect of making service look MUCH more expensive than it actually is, and makes service for anyone who DOESN’T have a negotiated rate more expensive. You can reduce this by negotiating directly with your provider, offering to pay cash at the BCBS negotiated rate, for example. Or just whack 40% off whatever number they give you as a starting point.

    My in-laws happened to be stupid enough to choose to be uninsured just before my mother in law was diagnosed with a serious illness. Nick is right. My in laws had the hospital call them and offer to accept 50% of the bill as payment in full. They accepted the deal no questions asked. What kind of person gets an offer to settle a $40,000 bill for $20,000 and doesn’t wonder what happens if you offer $10,000 instead?

  56. Why should people in the inner cities get any medical care at all? It just encourages them.

  57. Seems to me that either extreme will work – just the unholy middle is a mess. Either you have purely private healthcare – buy insurance if you want, pay for what you consume. Or you have socialized medicine. The US is trying to have both, and getting the worst of each.

    Just as a though experiment, consider drug seekers. They fake some accident or untestable pain, and show up at the ER. In socialized medicine, they will have to wait in a queue for 12 hours before seeing a doctor, who ultimately hands them a Tylenol and tells them to get lost. In a privatized system, they would be turned away at the door. Only with EMTALA can they actually go into a hospital and get away with wasting time and resources, and stand a real chance of walking out with opiates.

    I don’t much like the socialized medicine approach – which is what we are approaching. But it’s better than whatever you call Obamacare: corrupt-regulation-of-private-business?

    On a vaguely related note, someday we (collectively, the world) have to do something about IP abuse. Patents and copyrights both have their places, but currently they are being massively abused. Just as an example: There is some rare disease where people are basically allergic to sunlight. There is an effective treatment, but still under patent, and the drug company recently decided to triple its prices in the Swiss market. Same drug as always, but now it costs $20,000 per year instead of $7000. Because this is a rare disease, most health insurance doesn’t cover the drug, so this has put the drug out of reach for most patients who have the disease. There is a strategy here: the drug manufacturer hopes that government will – out of pity for the sufferers – add this drug to the “required basic coverage” list. Frankly, I think the right response is to exempt the drug from patent protection and ask a generics manufacturer to make it – thus making the patent worthless. But IP treaties prohibit this…

  58. “That reboot will be very painful. The USA will probably split into Dave Hardy’s 9, 10, or 11 countries. And, 50% (SWAG) of the citizenry will die in the process. The civil war to end all civil wars, I pray that it does not go nuclear.”

    Just nine (9) REGIONS, not “countries,” as part of a loose confederacy. Obviously different regions will have different cultures and priorities; the Northeast seems to like socialism in one form or another and their own Soviet-style nomenklatura. The Deep South would be quite different, as would the Murkan Southwest. It would be nice, of course, if the breakup happened relatively peacefully and slowly, devolving without violence, but that’s probably too much to hope for. We’ll have mass die-off anyway if the Grid fails and/or we have a new slew of infectious diseases, plus outright guerrilla warfare in the cities. I hadn’t considered/thought of nukes being used in a Murkan civil war but I suppose it’s possible. We know the gummint currently, allegedly, has the exclusive lock on them, amirite? But bad actors could get hold of dirty nukes or warheads from somewhere or make them on their own. Say, narcotafficantes in TX get pissed off at the Crips or Bloods in Chicago and detonate one there, screw the collateral population. Or the FUSA regime drops a low-yield tactical warhead on the “American Redoubt” in the Rockies.

  59. Medicine can be very expensive for a lot of different reasons. Doctors make good money but they can have very high overhead from skilled help to medical devices to malpractice insurance. Speaking of med devs many cost what they do in fact because of the ip. Licenses for things like CAT scanners are on going. Usually leased with all maintenance and fees included. Hospitals and even surgery centers are burdened with large mandates rules and regulations usually imposed by government. Skilled worker cost are even higher there. Do you know most RNs at hospitals work three 12hr shifts a week and make well over $100K. Many will work overtime and really clean up.
    Worst of all is the end-of-life cost imposed on many who would just like to die in peace and quite.

  60. Just nine (9) REGIONS, not “countries,” as part of a loose confederacy.

    Ain’t gonna be no confederacy. That has been tried already and found wanting. Gonna be 9 to 11 countries with continuous border wars. Look at 16th through 19th century European land wars as the model.

    Here is the 11 country version, “The Balkanized USA” with no state splits. I believe that to be naive as California and Texas will probably split apart. Also, don’t forget about Hawaii and Alaska, both fiercely independents.
    https://rooktopia.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/the-balkanized-usa/

  61. Speaking of civil wars and suchlike…

    “Of course, many Americans are sheep so the resistance would be a subset, but the daunting math of fighting insurgents on their own territory, according to military expert Richard Maybury, is about 20 military personnel for each domestic guerrilla fighter. So even if only a million US insurgents resist, probably a low estimate, it would require 20 million government personnel to suppress them, not to mention what would be necessary to maintain order should any collateral chaos and violence, including racial and ethnic animosities, erupt. Currently, there are a little over 2 million active and reserve personnel in the military, and about 1.1 million in law enforcement, and some of both are administrative personnel who would not participate in suppression or combat. The government is stockpiling weaponry, but where does it find at least 17 million recruits to pull the triggers and drive the MRAPS, and with what will it pay them?”

    https://straightlinelogic.com/2016/07/12/bring-it-on-by-robert-gore/

    Now Robert is stealing my ideas; how will the ruling junta PAY for its soldiers and cops???

    Oh, and of the 2 million active and reserve? I’d guess only about 10-15% are combat trained and qualified, fewer than that experienced. Most of the rest are some variety of REMFs. Of the million cops, most have received shitty training and what they’ve had dictates their going home at the ends of their shifts, no cuts, bruises or feeling in any danger from anybody. In a real SHTF, many of them will run home to their families.

    So now we’re talking about maybe 300,000 active military and 150,000 cops, at MOST, to cover the major population centers on the coasts and the big cities in Flyover Country. While also maintaining “law and order” in the face of inner-city chaos and incoming waves of Turd Worlders from south of the border and the musloid shit-holes. AND, prosecuting the overseas clusterfucks that our overlords love so much.

    Looks like a lose-lose to me, but they’ll give it a shot anyway, won’t they.

  62. how will the ruling junta PAY for its soldiers and cops???

    Economics is one of the foundations of world-building. Good world-building, that is; there’s plenty of crappy world-building in novels and role playing games and forecasting the future.

    Son#2 and a friend have been working on a role playing game with intent to sell, preferably with novel tie-ins. He asked for advice on a couple of sticking points and I suggested he figure out the economies of the different lands. “Ah-ha!” quoth he, and many problems fell away because differing economies would create varying tensions between the lands.

  63. YMMV, as always:

    http://preparedgunowners.com/?p=1671

    I was just hefting the 870, with its handguard, light mounted, optical, fully loaded with ammo, etc., and it’s a beast. I’m a good-sized guy but swinging that thing up and down stairways and around corners and blasting it at invaders and perps would be just loads of fun. Not so much for wife, although she’s pretty good-sized, too. Then I picked up an AR, basic, no handguard, light or optic, just iron sights. What a diff, of course, probably under seven pounds. It would still be lighter with the accessories and far less recoil. So keep this in mind: you may be Godzilla but what about the other peeps in yer household?

    Also, if someone was to go with an AR for house/home defense, they might do well to consider one of the pistol versions with a silencer.

  64. Looking at this book, “Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Locations,” by the Skousens, father and son, they have a five-star rating system based on a dozen categories, like proximity to big cities, potential nuke targets, gun liberty, pop density, etc. Only two states get the whole five stars, Idaho and Utah. Montana gets four and a half stars. Northern New England two-and-a-half to three stars. Several states get NO stars, like New Jersey. Kalifornia gets one, probably ’cause it’s so big and you could find a good spot in the northern reaches still, and the great Lone Star State has three stars. NC and SC not too well due to proximity to Mordor, and more nuke targets than I woulda thought. Another big consideration is being in the path of hordes of fleeing refugees.

    On the whole, I’m fairly comfortable with our chosen place to live here and it would be too much of a cultural shock at our age to pull up stakes wholesale and move to the three five-star states out West. If I was thirty years younger I would mos def consider it, and probably opt for Montana or Idaho.

  65. I may be thinkig of a similar book, but it had NC as a B+, one of less than half a dozen states that got B+ or better.

  66. According to the book I’m looking at now, if you’re gonna be in NC, you are in probably the best area. But NC didn’t fare a lot better than northern New England; still, WAY better than NJ or CA or Louisiana.

  67. At first I thought the Rooktopia guy had some points, but looking closer, you’re right, he’s FOS.

    Atlantic seaboard, maine splits to Canadia, maybe the carolinas and Fla as SE USA, no way OR gets ID. Too much eastern US in the Midwest too.

    There is another map based on who talks to who that has some surprisingly sharp regions. Wish I could find it…

    nick

  68. “Atlantic seaboard, maine splits to Canadia…”

    Three northern New England states plus north-country NY hook up with the Maritimes and have a sweethaht relationship with La Belle Province Quebec.

    Metro NYC, three southern New England states, NJ, Metro Philadelphia, Delaware, all together. Mordor razed to the ground and allowed to revert to malarial swampland.

    Florida hooked up to Cuba and the islands; former Confederate states united again.

    Murkan southwest and a large chunk of Texas becomes Nuevo Aztlan, of course. Southern half of Kalifornia likewise. Oregon and Washington link up with British Columbia as Cascadia. Our northern western and midwestern states with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

    Alaska with the NWT and Yukon. Hawaii with Indonesia and Japan; they can fight over it and good riddance.

  69. At first I thought the Rooktopia guy had some points, but looking closer, you’re right, he’s FOS.

    Atlantic seaboard, maine splits to Canadia, maybe the carolinas and Fla as SE USA, no way OR gets ID. Too much eastern US in the Midwest too.

    There is another map based on who talks to who that has some surprisingly sharp regions. Wish I could find it…

    Yup, there is a way better map of a 11 way split of the USA. I have lost it though. And the one I knew of was low res. Still, that map, as bad as it was, got my point across. The USA during a civil war, could split into 9, 10, or 11 countries.

    For whatever reason, it’s a “boo-wie” knife in Texas and D.C.*
    http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1

    And there is no freaking way that The Great State of Texas is going to form a country with DC.

  70. My google foo is weak and inconsistent.

    ???!!!??? Taking responsibility for any mismatch between expectation and result? Are you sure you’re an American?

    My google foo is weak and inconsistent. I blame Global Warming.

    FIFY

  71. Re Guest Post Titles and such:

    If each guest post gets a specific category name, then it is possible to have a separate menu item with posts from guests (by selecting that category name). The posts will also show on the main page, but the separate menu item might be useful for some. Easy enough to set up if desired (I can do it for RBT)>

    Guest posts could be submitted by email, so no need to get into the admin side of WP by the guest posters. The ‘allowed to post by email’ authors can be limited by their sending email address.

    And, there can be a ‘subscribe’ thing for email notification of new posts (either all posts, or a specific category of posts).

    All things that I’ve done for other WP sites.

    Or we could have a separate domain/site for prepping posts. I’d volunteer to set up and host, and would even pop for the first year registration of the domain name.

    If anyone is interested….

  72. Well, @nick: with RBT’s permission; I’ll do all of the setup for ’email posting’ and a category page on here.

    And all of the setup of a new domain for prepping posts.

    So, no pain for RBT (or guest authors), if he wants it done.

  73. Thanks, Rick, but I prefer to keep things as simple as possible. I don’t think we need article posting via email or a new domain. Nick actually got things set up fine as far as I’m concerned when he created a new category for guest posts by him. I assume that Dave Hardy will do the same when he posts his first article here.

  74. My 2-cents FWIW, I am a follower of KISS, so while it is great that @Rick H wants to go with the gold standard, I am happy with status quo.

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