I went to the post office today. I know, there was no way to avoid it, I’d rather have a root canal, but I had to mail this very large package. So I’m standing in this long line…watching as the three pleasant but weary postal workers attended, very slowly, to the customers. Each new customer was greeted with a forced-pleasant, “Hi, how are you?” and then attended to the customer’s request. This one had three odd-sized packages. That one wanted to buy some of those new stamps. Another wanted to send a registered letter. The line slowly moved along.
On the up side, it gave me a chance to study all the people in line. An occupational habit, I study people wherever I go, particularly when I’m a captive to some long, slow-moving queue. The line moved so slowly, in fact, that I had the opportunity to memorize what all 32 line-standers were wearing, the color of their hair, the shape of their faces, my best guess at their ethnicity, their height….and as I was starting to indulge myself with guessing each person’s weight and how I would do working at a carnival, my thoughts began to wander. (Did I mention the line in the post office moved very slowly?)
I had satisfied my fill of people-study; had mentally crowned the Strangest Looking, Most Obese, Most Attractive, and The Most Likely To Use The Word ‘Obsequious’ In A Sentence…and my attention began to wander to the workings inside this post office. I live in the San Fernando Valley and this post office is smack dab in the middle of a vast inland-empire suburban metropolis. It serves thousands upon thousands of people…very slowly. There were three postal workers on duty to serve the public that day. I should say two postal workers, as one would periodically rotate out for a ten-to-fifteen minute break. A smoke break, judging from the heavy tobacco smell that accompanied each of their returns to duty.
“Hi, How are you today?” the Postal Worker rasped, as I had finally arrived at the desk.
“Well…I’m a little annoyed to tell you the truth. I’ve been standing in this very boring line, waiting for all of you to finish your respective cigarettes, pushing my large package along the linoleum, watching you and your co-workers slowly attend to the customers like you’ve got all the time in the world. Like this is some sort of purgatory we’re all corporately stuck inside, nobody going anywhere; and you all seem quite indifferent to whether or not this whole sad circus will drag on into a dark and dreary bleak eternity. That’s how I’m doing! How the hell are you?
Nah, I didn’t say any of that. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as humanly possible so I hoisted my large package up onto the counter. The post-person weighed it. I saw $32.96 appear on the scale readout. Cool, I can handle that. Then he measured the package. 20″ by 20″ by 26.”
“Your total is $97.50.” Straight faced, no joke. I stared at him until I re-entered earth’s atmosphere and managed a, “Uh…I’m sorry. Say what?”
It turned out the weight was a thirty-six buck charge, but the large(?) size added an additional sixty-four. The value of the contents, a broken speaker, which if it had been working right, which it was not, was still worth less that the cost of shipping it.
With a sigh I lugged the package out of the post office, trundled down the street to the local UPS station…and ended up sending my package to Tennessee for forty bucks and change.
Why am I dragging you (slowwwly) through this sad and torridly tortured tale of Fun with Postal Workers? Yeah…you guessed correctly: If the President gets his way, the same people who run the post office will soon be running our health care industry.
How’s that for a happy thought?
I even see a possible cost-cutting consolidation: Mail your packages, buy stamps, and have your gall bladder removed – all in one convenient location! And since the number of doctors will decrease dramatically, hence increasing the wait time…you will be able to self-medicate with the new Easy-Does-It Gov-Care Med Dispensers while you’re waiting in line. With the right combination, hours will seem like seconds.
The President addressed a fawning crowd in Wisconsin last month and delineated the ‘catastrophic’ consequences of not spending trillions of tax dollars immediately to fix our ‘broken health care system.’ People can’t afford health care, they’re dropping like flies, and it’s an urgent crisis. We’ve got to completely reorder medical care in America and we have to do it immediately, or we’re all gonna die. It’s a crisis.
Sound vaguely familiar?
But I want to be specific if I take issue with Mr. Obama. So here goes: The President said, “Rising premiums are straining family budgets to the breaking point.”
Oh, I see. But…is that all families? Half the families? One tenth? Fifteen-sixteenths, what? Can you be specific, Mr. President? And what exactly is the ‘breaking point’? And could massively reducing taxes help at all? Just a thought.
Obama went on, “In the past nine years, health care premiums have gone up three times faster than wages have gone up.”
Could that have anything to do with an increasingly litigious mindset and left-leaning encouragement of frivolous lawsuits in which hospitals, doctors and health care institutions are sued at the least provocation?
How about the resultant ‘ get-something-for-nothing’ attitude fostered by the Left’s welfare society of entitlement? And what about the increasingly intrusive role of government meddling in the industry of health care and health care providers, which by all reports of those directly involved, indicates that the presence of government in the health care industry at all drives premiums higher. I’m just saying.
The Prez continued, “…desperately needed tests and procedures are put off, because the price is too high.”
But at least we can get those tests and procedures, Mr. President, without having to wait two years, as is so often the case in Canada, or Great Britain, or New Zealand or any place socialized medicine holds its people in rationed third-world misery.
My father was a surgeon and sat on the board of the CMA, the California Medical Assoc., and was one of the board examiners who went around and inspected hospitals. The expertise acquired enabled him to later build three hospitals himself, and manage nine more. And I had been telling everyone I was going to be a doctor as well, since I was six years old. But you know? My father told me about the evils of socialized medicine and how it was creeping into our system. My father ultimately influenced me to not go into the medical practice. The reason: Government had become far too intrusive in the health care industry. And this was 35 years ago.
It’s only gotten worse since. More and more would-be doctors are seeking other professions as the word gets around. It used to be – you work hard, do well in a four-year college, go to med school, work your butt off for four years, then another two at internship and residency, and then, you open up a private practice. But there’s no such thing anymore. Because it’s not private – the government is your partner. And more and more, the government is becoming your boss.
With fewer and fewer doctors there will be much longer waits to a) get in to see a doctor, and then b) receive any treatment. In Britain and Canada where they have ‘free’ national health care, waiting times of two years are not uncommon to receive life-saving surgery. And a lot can happen in that time. Like…you can die.
The President tells us our health care system is ‘broken’ because health care has gotten more expensive. Really? That makes it ‘broken,’ because it’s expensive?
Health care costs in the country have risen in the past few years. Absolutely right. New innovation and high-tech breakthroughs cost a lot of money. New life-saving drugs are expensive, because years of research and development are necessary to bring them to market. The best costs money. Don’t you pay more for a finer cut of beef at the grocery store? Don’t you pay more for a nicer car, one that has more amenities? We don’t have the cheapest health care on the planet, it’s true – but we do have the best health care system. So when President Obama every other day proclaims solemnly that ‘our health care system is broken’…what the hell is he talking about?
He’s talking about controlling more and more of your daily lives.
Our health care system isn’t broken; it’s the best in the world. I’d say our government is broken, starting with President Obama!
When foreign dignitaries get very sick or need life-saving surgeries, do they book it in Canada? Or England? Hell no – they come to the U.S. The medical technology, physician expertise, and quality of medicine is the highest here than on any place on earth. And it costs money to develop the medicines, the technology and train the doctors. Why do people think that good things shouldn’t cost money?
And these AARP adds. And ‘The Scooter Store.’ Granny doing donuts on her living room carpet and happily proclaiming she didn’t pay anything out-of-pocket for the scooter. That’s because YOU all paid for it. And I don’t mean to be harsh here, but …does Granny really need to motor around her house? Wouldn’t her doctor agree that her health would benefit if she merely got up off her sedentary butt and walked to the kitchen. Walked to the bathroom? Walked around and exercised a bit, pumping life-giving blood through her extremities? Of course it would. Granny – God bless ya, but — Stop thinking that other people should have to pay for your stuff!
And another thing — You hear many in the news today saying, “The main problem with National Health Care is ‘How are we going to pay for it?'” Really? That’s like saying, “Listen we of course want to tie you up, shove a dyslexic hamster up your bum, place you upside-down in a glass tube of acid filled with scorpions and jellyfish…but the main problem is ‘How do we pay for it?'”
Uh….Forget how we pay for it – it’s a stupid idea!!!!!
Okay, Gary, you obviously have no compassion. What about the poor? What about the poor who can’t afford health insurance? I would ask you for a definition of what ‘they’ can afford. Can they afford that HD wide-screen? Twenty-four-hour Direct-TV All Sports channel? How about that brand new Hummer? I know a lot of people who say they can’t afford health insurance, but manage to take three vacations a year on their boat and have more toys that I’ve ever had.
Choices. People make choices in life. They choose to spend their money on health insurance. Or…they upgrade their wide screen. Get their house painted. Buy a new dining room set. Or…they save up to pay for their health care insurance.
Yesterday, at yet another Town Hall Meeting, (or as I like to call it, Doctor Obama’s Magic Traveling Medicine Show), a rather rotund woman, Debbie, came up to the President and tearfully pleaded that she was diagnosed with a tumor and didn’t know what to do. In a brilliantly staged move, the Snake-Oil-Salesman-in-Chief warmly embraced her bulk, saying that she was “Exhibit A” [of why our health care system is broken]. And I couldn’t help but remember that old TV show from the late ’50’s…”QUEEN FOR A DAY” in which each week three women would come on and tell their sad tale of woe and disaster and deprivation to the studio and television audience. The studio audience would then vote for whom they thought was the most deserving Queen-For-the-Day. It was heart-rending. One tragedy bested by yet another disaster, and finally trumped by an apocalypse of misfortune. Tears, sad organ music, and warm, supportive love and grieving.
And finally it was announced, and the winner was crowned “QUEEN FOR A DAY”! The pipe organ would swell as tears and applause and a robe and crown and the new Queen of Pathos was regaled with new washer-dryers, sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, reclining chairs…and it was all so maudlin and sappy. But the show was a big hit. People tuned in to hear the sob stories and get their heartstrings tugged. And afterward…they felt a little better about themselves.
This is the essence of Liberalism. It’s all about feeling a little better about yourself by doing ‘something nice’ and giving something to someone else. And I say GOOD! As long as no one is forcing me to give to someone else. I’m all too happy to be nice to someone else, to give to a stranger, let’s say…voluntarily. (And by the way, Americans, and in fact Conservatives, are the biggest givers on the planet.)
But you write it into law, and back it up with a gun…now we got a problem. Liberals are very generous – with other people’s money.
So when a zillion ‘Debbies’ come to me and ask me to pay for their health care, to treat their tumors, I say…HUNH? Why should I have to pay for your health care? And likewise, why should you have to pay for mine? You don’t pay for my groceries, I don’t pay for yours…and isn’t food more vital that health care? Here’s a novel idea: Why don’t I pay for my health care and you pay for yours?. Just a thought.
But how about this for people like Debbie: HEALTH CARE TELETHONS! Televised much like the Jerry Lewis MS Telethons, each stricken victim parades forth and tells their story – straight into the camera. And the phones will light up with pledge money. We can have menthol drops standing by for those not quite motivated to shed real Oprah-worthy tears. And yours truly will keep whatever we raise above and beyond what your surgery or treatment ends up costing. And I’ll put that money in a lock-box. To be disseminated at a time and to a recipient of my choosing.
Now doesn’t that make more sense than what the Prez is proposing? That because supposedly 30 million in this country (largely illegal or simply opting out) don’t have health insurance, our health care system — the best, most advanced medical system ever known to mankind — is ‘broken’ and needs to be turned over to the federal government to run?
What the President is proposing is insanity. Return the medical industry to the private sector. That is the only way to reduce costs and keep the quality of service at its optimum.