Monday, June 8, 2009

Ten Reasons Why Medicare for All Will Be AWESOME!

From “MEDICARE FOR ALL would be like sunshine and a beautiful sky, a grassy field, people relaxing and children playing…like a sunny breezy day.”

Oh, you silly, silly conservatives, pouting and moaning and shouting from your pulpits about the dangers of socialized medicine. You just need to come back down and wallow with the people for a change in the mythology of the horrors of today’s American medical care. My recommendation? When in a Social Democracy. (It’s kinda like the “when in Rome” thing, but since we liberals say just about anything with the intent of bringing about something completely opposite, let me go ahead and spell it out for you: Smoke more dope to get in touch with your inner mellow, then pop a few Vicodin when the paranoia sets in.)

It’s a right good prescription for a new progressive vibe, the consciousness to get on board with the sweeping health care reform heading your way, Medicare for All (and the only kind of medicine you’ll really be able to find by then, anyway). This idea for health care reform is so fresh it’s like that block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese I’ve kept in the back of the fridge for special occasions, for 10 years now. What the heck, they say a little hair on the cheese is good for your insides now and then. Plus, it’s the kind of special treat you’ll reserve for yourself once you become accustomed to the exciting promise of life under Medicare.

In fact, here are 10 really cool reasons why Medicare for All will be just, like, soooooo awesome:

10. Everything will be decided for you. You won’t even have to think about it. Oh, sure, at first, your employer will dangle a few “options” under your chin, offering the choice of private insurance plans A and B or government cheese. Little by little, as more and more people opt for the easy life on government street and private insurance companies try to recoup spiraling losses with higher premiums, your employer will ask you to pay more and, then, like a sunny breezy day, suddenly blow your options back to Antarctica and shove you into the single-payer plan. From then on, you won’t even need to think about it. You’ll be under the loving arm of the Motherland, nuzzling against her for comfort and care, in health (we’ll get to “in sickness” in good time). And you won’t even have to search for your own doctor! Government health czars will find one for you. You don’t want to think too hard about choices anyway, do you? Why waste brain cells figuring out what’s best for you and your family when you could be watching Season 42 of American Idol?

9. It’ll be FREE! Free, I say. It’ll be so free you won’t even have to bother checking your pay stubs to make sure the accounting department didn’t accidentally deduct the entire company’s insurance premiums from your check. You won’t need to worry about that sort of thing anymore. Why, a simple little tax rate of 900% on your earnings (to include your benefits) will come off the top of your automatic bank deposits each payday (like your bookie’s cut of your college football winnings), nice and tidy, easy squeezy, as simple as any good government program should be. Just tuck the old way of doing things in the back of your hippocampus and forget it. And, while you’re at it, have a lollypop; they’re recycled from the floor scrapings of the Government Candy Factory, formerly known as Tootsie Roll Industries.

8. You will get more reading done. With more and more people entering the system, your chances for grabbing a doctor’s time will shrivel (what those in the biz like to call “rationing”). You’ll become intimate with the wonderful world of waiting lists, as if you’re standing at the back of a line snaking outside your doctor’s waiting room into the hallway and outside the front door and across the street, stretching to the other side of the county. You will spend your waiting time being more productive than ever before. You wanted to read War and Peace in your lifetime, anyway, right? That’s unintended enrichment right there, baby. Quality health care in the time it takes to read Tolstoy, a splendid marketing campaign that’s sure to impress.

7. Retirees and their caretakers love it; you will too! Why, it’s incredibly fun when you’re 70 to find out your doctor suddenly won’t see you because you’re on Medicare. It’s even more fun searching for a new doctor among the dwindling numbers of primary care physicians, many of whom already can’t make enough from equally declining Medicare reimbursements to keep their businesses afloat. Meanwhile, if you’re taking care of dear old mom or dad, think of the hilarious phone calls you have to make when Medicare suspends coverage for their prescriptions and the 10 different people you have to scream at to find the root of the problem and get it fixed. You have a better chance of navigating the bureaucracy of the cable company when you mysteriously get billed 6 months in a row for services you didn’t order. I like a good mystery, don’t you?

6. It’ll be better than going to Disney World. Just like Chrysler and Government Motors and the federal government overall, Medicare is already bankrupt. By 2018, Medicare will be running a deficit of around $100 billion; compared to the overall CBO estimates of the federal deficit by then, I’d say Medicare is incredibly stable, like the Titanic just before it hit the iceberg. Throw the entire population under the Medicare umbrella, and you’ll create the greatest amusement park ride of all time. The terror of experiencing the violent motions of a sinking ship is drastically overrated anyway.

5. We’ll need fewer medical students. Since doctors already earn less, thanks to Medicare and Medicaid, more would-be medical students will go into something else, like garbage collection…or undertaking. Those two businesses are easily the least likely to fall under government control anytime soon. Garbage is money, always has been (ask The Mob); for med students, taking care of the dead would be just a few steps away from operating on the live, without the $300,000 in student loan debt or the hassles of malpractice insurance.

4. We’ll see the invention of doctor trailer parks. Doctors who stay in the biz (due either to their own altruistic reasons or, more likely, to government extortion in exchange for the forgiveness of student loans or practice-related debt) will experience the community joy of public assistance, using food stamps to fill a shelf or two of their refrigerators (if they even have electricity). They’ll sell their homes at a loss and move into federal trailer parks for doctors, seeing patients out of the back room to cut down on practice overhead. The parks will have names like Bones Village and Blue Star Doctors Park and Good Samaritan Estates and take the place of hospitals, saving the federal government billions annually (because, naturally, we’ll have to bail out hospitals by then, too). They’ll become tourist destinations; we’ll plan vacations around our doctor visits and then tour the grounds, letting little Jimmy ride his first x-ray machine in exchange for a $5,000 admission fee. Universities will offer classes about them, with names like Contemporary Medical Trailer Park Economics and Staph Infection in the Trailer Park Hospital. Congress, meanwhile, will continue to conduct annual hearings on the State of the American Healthcare Crisis.

3. If you get cancer, you can see the world (or what’s left of it). The Government Health Decision Board will rule you ineligible for care, saving the taxpayers (by then) billions. You’ll use your retirement savings, or what’s left after you pulled them out of the market just before The Crash of ’12 and hid them under a stone in the hearth, to take a fishing boat to Haiti, the ocean cruise business having gone under and Americans no longer visiting any country east of Bermuda after nuclear ballistic missiles, unable to reach North or South America, wiped out every other continent during Iranian President Ahmed Ahmadinejad’s failed attempts to annihilate Washington. You’ll meet a witch doctor who will make you drink chicken’s blood and mumble incantations while stuffing his face in a bong during a 4-hour ceremony to exorcise your tumor. Amazingly, you’ll recover and come back to America and live a long and healthy life, taking annual vacations (by row boat, since you’re now broke) to Haiti for preventive health care.

2. On a related note, trailer park emergency rooms will have far less congestion than the old hospitals. Take your typical accident victim today. When he’s wheeled in, his arm is nearly severed and he needs a bucket of blood and is comatose, having had half his brain crushed when he was thrown from the vehicle. Medicare for All will simplify the whole problem. Accident victims will be treated only if they still have more than 75% of their blood and all of their limbs and at least 90% cognitive function (no substitutes, please). This will preserve the dwindling blood supply and eliminate the waste of resources required to keep a patient on life support. (Plus, it will help save the planet!) And think of the boon for transplantation! Why, with all of the accident victims unworthy of treatment ending up dead, we’ll have mobile organ harvesting sites outside each doctors’ trailer park. Donor waiting lists will become obsolete…that is, of course, if the recipients are still working and able to pay their share of taxes in support of the Motherland.

1. It’s patriotic to pay taxes. If you have to pay taxes anyway, you might as well fund a good cause, excessive taxation being the greatest form of charity (for those who didn’t earn the money in the first place). Medicare for All is as good a cause as any other, except for maybe freedom. Besides, it’s not every day you get to put best in class American ingenuity into the hands of bureaucrats and completely destroy it, all while finding your government sponsored sunny breezy day.

This satire has been cross-posted at Feed Your ADHD and Smart Girl Nation.

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