In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2006 / 8 Shevat, 5766

Enjoying spending other people's money

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I thought someone had taken a baseball bat to the back of my leg.

I was playing racquetball the other day. As I attempted to chase a ball into the corner, my 43-year-old body had another idea. It thought it would be more fun to explode my Achilles' tendon, the stringy rope that used to connect my heel to my calf, into two separate pieces.

It's never a good idea to explode your Achilles' tendon. It's a particularly poor idea if you are self-employed and buy your own high-deductible health-insurance coverage.

I pay the first $500 of any treatment I receive, then 20 percent of all treatment up to $5,000. If the total amount of my treatment costs more than $5,000, I'll be out of pocket $1,500.

Asking the price
This usually makes me something that most health-care consumers are not: a shopper.

I ask how much things cost. I asked the surgeon how much it would cost to reattach the stringy rope to my heel and his answer was telling: "I don't know."

In his defense, I don't want my doctor to worry about what things cost. I want him to worry about the best treatment he can provide, regardless of cost.

But shouldn't I worry about cost?

Isn't health care, in many ways, a service just like any other service? If you go to the dry cleaner or a lawyer or a dentist, don't you want to know what the bill is going to be before the service is provided? And doesn't each usually provide a fairly precise estimate?

Sure, if you're having a heart attack, you're not in a very good position to be soliciting bids from cardiologists, but there are a lot of health care goods and services you could shop around for.

The cost of a prescription drug varies widely from pharmacy to pharmacy. And I'll bet the crutches the doctor sold me were significantly more expensive than the crutches I could have bought on my own.

Out of control
It's no wonder America's health-care inflation has long been out of control. Health costs have risen 140 percent in the last decade. America spends nearly $2 trillion on health care every year, nearly twice as much per capita as other industrialized countries.

Part of the reason is that too few people are shopping. That's why President Bush was dead on the money when he discussed health savings accounts in his State of the Union address.

Here's how they work: If your employer pays $5,000 a year for your low-deductible policy, why not have him pay $2,500, more or less, for a $2,500 deductible policy. He'll give you the $2,500 he saves, which you can invest and save for your own health care needs.

Since you'll now be paying the first $2,500 of any treatment you receive with your own money, guess what you're going to do. You're going to shop around.

And as you exercise your individual choice — as you take closer command over your family's health-care decisions — you're going to provide a valuable service to the rest of America: You're going to help keep health-care inflation in check.

To be sure, cost is the "Achilles' heel" in our health-care system, and a total lack of accountability is what is driving that cost. Which makes me feel guilty for what I'm about to admit.

Since I know that the total cost of all my treatment will exceed $5,000 — since I know I'm going to have to shell out my $1,500 share to get fixed no matter what happens — there's no longer any incentive for me to shop around.

I'm going to go to the most expensive hospital that has the most attractive nurses. I'm going to demand caviar for lunch and prime rib for dinner.

I'm going to spend money the way politicians do: I'm going to spend somebody else's money and savor every minute.

I can't wait to get back on the racquetball court, either. I can't wait to blow out my other Achilles' tendon so I can enjoy spending other people's money all over again.

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© 2006, Tom Purcell