I hate to admit it, but some political strategists are geniuses. They have taken something that has been hated, reviled, and scorned by Americans for generations and turned it into an institution that many now believe we must protect, foster, and preserve. No, I’m not talking about telemarketers who call during dinner. I’m talking about the medical insurance industry.
Over the years, I’ve heard many people say, “I love my doctor,” but, until now, I never heard anyone say, “I love my health insurance.” But to some, medical insurance companies have become the “Heroes of Healthcare.” During the Great Healthcare Debate, legislators and their “gullibles” are saying they like their current healthcare system so much that they don’t want anyone to touch it. In fact, there are claims that the very idea of changing the healthcare system is un-American.
Obviously, if people don’t like a certain approach or the principles or cost of any of the proposed legislation, they should object. I’m talking about those who now claim that we don’t need to change anything about healthcare at all. Not a single Republican voted to even open up debate on the issue. Obviously, they don’t think we need to change anything. They’re probably even OK with not having any current magazines in the waiting rooms.
When both of my kids were born, we got bills from the hospital that included tests for my wife that she didn’t get, treatments that she didn’t receive, and medications that weren’t prescribed for her. Each time I complained to the hospital. They said it was their procedure to bill for all of these things. It was a “package” — like one of those Las Vegas “Three days, six nights” things or whatever they’re called. They couldn’t understand why I was so upset, since my insurance company would probably pay for the overcharges. I told them I was upset because the bills didn’t represent the truth. They immediately corrected them. They didn’t argue or fight or even put me on hold listening to “Moon River.” This showed me that they knew the bills were unfair. Unfair? They even charged my wife for ice. I guess we’re lucky they didn’t ask us to chip in for the air-conditioning.
Do you know even one person who doesn’t have a similar story?
One of the objections of the naysayers has to do with the government getting involved in healthcare. Haven’t they ever heard of Social Security and Medicare? Would they like those to be abolished, too?
And of course there’s the cost objection. These people didn’t object to government spending when it came to the Bush and Obama bail-outs of the financial industry, but they don’t like the idea of spending whatever it takes to fix healthcare. Oh I forgot, they don’t think it needs fixing.
The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, yet, the last time the World Health Organization put out its rankings, we were 37th in healthcare — in between Slovenia and Costa Rica. Don’t those who oppose any change think we should at least move up to, I don’t know, maybe 15th and kick Iceland’s butt out of there?
Usually, our medical bills are so hard to read, that most of us don’t bother trying. Couldn’t the billing system use a little reform?
When a ride in an ambulance for three blocks costs hundreds of dollars, shouldn’t someone look into that?
Is waiting 11 hours in an emergency room OK with those folks who don’t want anything changed?
If the senators were all really voting their “consciences” as so many of them claim, don’t you think at least a dozen or so Democrats would disagree with parts of the bill and at least a similar number of Republicans might think, “Hey, that’s not bad?” It’s an amazing coincidence that on something this complex so many consciences happen to line up with their party’s agenda.
I just hope that a whole bunch of senators don’t yell so much in opposition or in favor of the healthcare bill that they hurt their throats. It would be a shame if they had to seek medical attention. Oh, wait a minute. It wouldn’t be a problem for them at all. Members of Congress already have great healthcare.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Home Improvement” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his Web site at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.