Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The doctor will not see you

All this ink and air time being burned on the intricacies of health care in this country, and I'm no wiser on the subject than I was five years ago. I don't even care any more. Maybe all we really need to know is that nobody wants to make less money, and health care can't be cheaper unless somebody does make less money. Since the most influential voices in this debate are the corporations that make a huge amount of money, and the politicians who rely heavily on the trickle-up, and the dopey masses who can be mesmerized by a bumper sticker, I think we can see where this is heading: Things will stay pretty much as they are. If anything changes, it will be this: The usual cohort of scammers and venal swine will end up making even more money than they do now. I guarantee you that no insurance company will make less.

This is a cynical view and I apologize. But let's face it. The truth is, if you're worried about health care, your only realistic option is staying healthy. I suggest you work out, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, quit tapping the little keyboard on your mobile device while you're rocketing down Highway 54, look both ways before crossing the street, floss regularly, avoid trampolines, lock up your firearms, get that mole looked at, and buy nothing under the warming lights at Quik Trip. Oh, and knock wood. Because Dr. Sanjay Gupta does not make house calls.

If you're already indisposed, if you're morbidly obese and your primary means of getting around is a power scooter with an oxygen bottle on the back, well, good luck. Have another Marlboro and remember what a great time the '60s were. If you have a weird growth on your neck, consider it benign. If you have symptoms of fibromyalgia or Crohn's disease -- hey, who doesn't? If you have leukemia or pancreatic cancer, take the long view: It'll be over before you know it.

And it'll be over way before anything gets through Congress. These people have little sense of urgency; they all have nice insurance plans and they all have supper waiting. The people they heed the most -- the corporate oligarchs -- prefer the precise opposite of urgency. The oligarchs' best strategy is to run out the clock. Fortunately for them, that's not so hard to do in a town like D.C. Even the charismatic Obama is a politician, and politicians don't get any points for falling on their swords.

What's to be done? Beats me. If I had any clue, I'd be having lunch with Sen. Max Baucus as we speak, maybe sharing my genius with Anderson Cooper. As it is, I must content myself with watching CNN and hoping I stay healthy for a good long while.

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