Free Prescription Drugs, Joining the National Power Grid, and the Future of Southfork Ranch
After my story reviewing pharmacy discount cards, I heard about “the first free pharmacy serving the general public in Texas”. The association is looking for a promotion. I gladly comply here.
On another subject, I have to tell you that between my last Atmos gas bill and the skyrocketing increase in home insurance, I’m at my wit’s end. I need to smell the salts.
Also, can anyone help solve the mystery of the future status of the legendary Southfork Ranch?
Let’s start this collection of great Watchdog shorts with the discount pharmacy.
Carlos Irula is the head pharmacist at St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy. He tells me about free prescription drugs available primarily for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and mental health.
To qualify, a person must have no health insurance, a household income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level ($83,250 in a four-person household), and be a Texas resident with a valid prescription. . You don’t need to go to the pharmacy because they deliver.
Find out if you or someone else you know may qualify by calling 469-232-9902 or visiting www.svdpdallas.org/pharmacy.
Increase in home insurance
I wondered why my home insurance had jumped 36% in one year. I made no complaints.
The culprit was the cost of replacing the house, which jumped $100,000 in one year, I was told. wow.
My initial guess was that it was the result of the February frost. Someone has to pay for all those broken water pipes in so many Texas homes. But Ben Gonzalez of the Texas Department of Insurance tells me my guess is wrong.
“Industry sources indicate that wood and other building materials are more expensive,” he said. He also cited labor shortages and natural disasters. “If it costs more to build a house, it will cost more to insure it,” he said.
Richard Johnson of the Texas Insurance Board told The Watchdog, “Your 35% increase seems like an outlier. …The national average is about 11.4%. We see closer to 7% to 10% in Texas. »
His advice for me? Shop!
Sale of Southfork Ranch?
I’ve been told that the future of Southfork Ranch, legendary home of the Ewing family of television, is in jeopardy.
I called there half a dozen times, but no one called me back. Finding out who shot JR was easier than finding out about this world famous tourist attraction from Parker.
Realtor Sarah Hamilton of 1845 Realty in Frisco checked it out for me. She learns that the ranch is under a sales contract. But the future of the tourist attraction is unknown.
After I told you how several big banks were eliminating NSF fees and ending overdraft protection fees, another big one jumped into the pool. Citigroup has announced that it is ending all overdraft fees and insufficient funds fees.
The Center for Responsible Lending says Citi is the biggest bank to do so.
Join the grids
Isn’t it ridiculous that Texas leaders don’t want to join the two national power grids? I mean, come on, if Putin has taught us anything in the last few weeks, it’s that we need reinforcements.
I disagree with former Governor Rick Perry, who explained that “Texans would be without power for more than three days to keep the feds out of their business.”
But as University of Texas energy professor Michael E. Webber points out, Texas already deals with federal regulations when it exports natural gas, gasoline, liquefied natural gas and crude oil.
Why not electricity too? He estimates that by joining the large grids, Texas could sell $10 billion worth of excess energy each year. And in the event of a disaster, we could buy back some of it.
Note that Pat Wood, a former chairman of the Utilities (Public) Commission, told the Texas Tribune last month that Texas could join without losing control of its system. But for politicians, it sounds better to say we don’t want the federal government in our business.
Post office changes
I will never forget that 16 years ago I reported a story to my editor about the US Postal Service, but he didn’t believe it could be true.
The USPS had raised the price of a stamp by two cents and charged more for priority, express, and certified mail. Most people thought it was because the post office was failing. But in fact, that year, the post office had a surplus.
While attending a postal conference, I learned that the money was used to pre-fund future pension benefits for postal workers, not postal operations themselves. My boss didn’t believe it.
Now, all these years later, Congress has voted to end the practice of pre-funding retirees on postage.
A postal overhaul bill awaiting President Biden’s signature also locks down six-day-a-week delivery and — my favorite part — imposes special postage rates for local newspapers to promote local news, The Wall Street Journal reported.
AT&T Tip of the Day
Finally, I pass on this common-sense advice from Arlington’s Mark Schnyder:
“Whenever I have a billing issue with AT&T, at the very end of the call, when they ask if there’s anything else they can do for me, I say, ‘Hey, since this issue has was caused by AT&T and I had to spend x-amount of time dealing with it, how about a $25 loyalty credit?”
“I get it almost every time,” he says. “The thing is, they will if you ask. I’d like to think that if we all did this when AT&T had to correct its own mistakes, maybe the company would start to feel enough pain, it would make fewer mistakes. A guy can dream.
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The Dallas Morning News Watchdog column is the 2019 winner of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ top column writing award. The contest judge called his winning works “models of suspenseful storytelling and public service.”
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