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The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: US Healthcare Reform: From Our Archives

Healthcare Panic
Dean Borok

I once had a friend named Lenny, who was the leader of a fifties cover band called the Jets that played at the Yakkety Yak Club. Lenny was a cool guy and a very charming person. He was also a little bit of a lush, y’know? By the third set he could be counted on to be half in the bag.

One night Lenny was in the men’s room having a leak when he got involved in a conversation with the fellow at the next urinal. When he turned to the guy to make a point he pissed on the guy’s leg and the guy broke his jaw.
These town hall rubes who are disrupting and breaking up community meetings on health insurance reform remind me a little bit of Lenny, but they are not anywhere near as charming and good-natured as he was, and they sure can’t sing and play "Don’t Be Cruel". Nevertheless, with their incoherent, hysterical diatribes about socialism and death panels they are pissing all over our leg.

I am not here to debate the merits of universal health insurance. That is a given. I am complaining about the lunatic fringe of society – loudmouth sociopaths who are being bussed around the country and paid cash money by insurance companies to do what they do best, scream and yell vindictively and inflict their freakin country values on the industrialized world.

Nobody outside their little wacky circle of friends cares what they think.. Nobody is trying to take away their health insurance. They complain that they shouldn’t have to contribute to a national plan, but meantime the rest of us have been paying school taxes to educate these citizens’ idiotic offspring (to what result?) and have never complained about that.

People in New York have been paying a fortune in taxes which goes toward subsidizing idiot people throughout New York state and beyond, and these morons have never shown the least amount of gratitude to us, but we don’t constantly complain, even though we don’t care about them at all. All my life I have been paying taxes to educate other people’s idiot offspring and keep yokels in Biloxi, Mississippi, afloat, to subsidize Bush’s ridiculous Iraq comedy, and now I need something, health insurance.

Since all the good industrial jobs went abroad, I have been working in offices with a bunch of lazy nitwits, sometimes with health insurance and sometimes not. The stress of it gave me an irregular heartbeat, and it is only by scheming and gaming the system that I have so far succeeded out staying out of trouble. I am too young for Medicare and not poor enough for Medicaid. I need normal coverage. I don’t care about the convoluted reasoning presented by the entrenched interests and parroted by their paid agitators. Quit jerking me around! Right now New York is going through hard times.

Things would be a whole lot easier if we didn’t have to pull a trainload of idiots and nutcases behind us. Basically, New York would be a lot happier if we could be our own country with our own flag (a Yankees flag!) and our own passport. More exclusive! We could set things up the way we want without a gang of cretinous morons inflicting their hick sensibilities on us. I’d vote for that!

It’s like a marriage that’s not working out. I had a conversation with this Texan who inherited a lot of money but not a lot of intelligence. He told me, "Poor people have to accept that it’s their destiny to be poor". Easy for him to say. He expected me to agree with him, because for a long time that type of thinking has been the default position. I told him that to my way of thinking Willie Nelson is the greatest living Texan, which didn’t impress him too much. In his part of Texas they don’t admire ol’ Willie too much.

Every time I see one of those red state suckers, I want to shoot the television. Fortunately, in New York we have got gun control, so it keeps me from inflicting damage on myself or anybody else. The rest of the country doesn’t have gun control, much less mouth control.

Update: 08/18/09

Let’s examine the most overheated subject of this summer, which is whether the government should be permitted to set up a health insurance plan to compete against private companies. In Europe private companies were driven out of the health insurance market a long time ago, yet they are still making piles of money. AXA, Allianz, SocGen all still have huge insurance operations, and they are still in the health field by selling insurance plans that supplement the government plans. Some of them have even seen their supplemental plans skyrocket as cautious Europeans seek coverage for expenses that are not covered by the single payer entities, such as private hospital rooms, home health care for the elderly, cash payments during periods of incapacity, etc.

Of course, the European insurance companies did not do this by choice. They were driven to it by the political will of the public, who long ago determined that they were sick of being bled dry and having their health suffer just to enrich the coffers of private insurers.

This process is now taking place in the United States, on a primitive level. U.S. healthcare is being held hostage by a medical/banking establishment which is bleeding it dry and exacting huge profits by exploiting the political ignorance of the population, and they mean to keep it going by any means necessary.

If it means buying off politicians, no problem. No matter how much they spend on corrupting politicians it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the amounts they are raking in. With the shrinking industrial base and cut-throat competition coming from other countries, there are very few investment opportunities as lucrative as holding a gun to the heads of the people and soaking them for medical care.

There’s an old gag in the comedy business. When a table of customers is laughing, the comic tells them, "Why don’t you run around the room and pretend you’re a crowd?" The medical/insurance combine has taken that gimmick to heart, busing the same stale characters around the country and paying them good money to bust up any kind of consensus on medical insurance by doing what they do best: scream, cry, hold up bibles, complain about abortion – any kind of distraction. Then the news media focus on these Potemkin Villages of outraged yokels to convince the public that people don’t want insurance reform, even though increasingly huge segments of the population have no coverage, are being bled dry or are being bankrupted by the medical oligarchy.

Sorry to say, but when the news media behaves in such a destructive, antisocial manner, maybe it’s time to conduct a public examination of the big media conglomerates to discover whether or not there is any conflict of interest behind their reporting e.g. whether they hold insurance or medical stocks. That would be an interesting subject of public inquiry, to be sure!

Sure I write a lot of garbage, and some of it is antisocial, considering the kind of societal set-up we have. But who is more destructive, me or Fox News?

Dean Borok - August 18th 2009
*Since deceased - his lively contributions still missed.

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