Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Laughs Abound

Washington DC — Congress Creates Restaurant Insurance

Since the nation’s healthcare insurance works so well, Congress has decided to create a restaurant insurance industry to encourage more people to dine out.

The effort puts in place insurance firms that collect money to be used in payments to restaurants when a diner wishes to eat out. People obtain their coverage from employers who are required to set aside funds for their workers.

“This makes it convenient for the average joe to take out his family,” said Sen. Morgan Weight. “He doesn’t have to dig into his pocket for those flimsy credit cards.”

However, restaurants are struggling with long lines of people who wait for hours to check out as groups of restaurant administrators have them sign forms.

“I saw a broccoli third party administrator who made me fill out a form in triplicate when I ordered a stuffed pepper filled with broccoli,” said Les Green, a new vegetable advocate. “The dish meant that the restaurant had to work with a third party for the vegetable side dish, and another third party for the subcontracted work with the added broccoli.”

Yet the new jobs are a boon to the economy, according to Rake Itinn, a business lobbyist. “Businesses run the country, and anything that helps them, helps the country.”

Other lines have been set up in tented streets next to restaurants to accommodate the people who have to identify types of dessert and appetizer they want so they can have the correct coverage. Restaurants no longer make complete meals, but have to contract out with local food provider groups. The tented areas in streets have caused a traffic jam in most cities as cars try to navigate around the restaurant areas.

But the benefits of the restaurant insurance structure are greater than the obstacles, according to Sen. Cap Tilsim. “This is just the marketplace at work and we can’t hinder the marketplace.”

The employer groups have been excited about spending the extra money for their workers because they obtain special food for CEO banquets from the insurance plans.

Most plans have been set up in either a Hot Meals Organization (HMO) or a Plate Plan Option (PPO) that handles the way people are covered. The insurance firms believe this will keep the costs of food down.

“People are demanding more and more special items,” said Ginger Flakes, an insurance spokeswoman. “We have to run tests in most restaurants now to determine the types of food best suited for the diner.”

These tests include the Most Ravenous Index (MRI) and Eating Kitchen Gourmet (EKG) are forcing manufacturers to design equipment to scan the diner so they can determine the best menu for the person.

But these options can annoy some diners who liked certain foods besides what is shown in the tests. The insurance firms refuse to cover previously digested patterns.

Restaurant goers are also finding that not every restaurant will be covered. Often, people have to visit a special restaurant that offers a previously desired favorite like seafood. Usually, these would be considered out of network for many insurance firms.

“We can’t cover everything the person wants to eat,” Ginger said. “We’re trying to contain costs for the employer.”

The tests also take time and add to the long lines that bother neighborhoods. “These restaurants are putting a drain on our entire city,” said Pete Zer, from a Foods Rights group. “Why don’t we have a one plate system like other countries?”

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