Whimsy, satire, irreverent humor, and hijinx from a place not so far away

Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

Health Care summit with 5th graders (Part 4)

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February 26th, 2010 Posted 9:46 pm

Continuing coverage of the President’s Health care summit with 5th graders.  Next up for the class is Matt Burpmore:

Q4. How can we make the Health insurance companies themselves more efficient so that insurance costs can come down for the people?fifthgrade4

Matt:  Why are the health insurance companies inefficient now?

President:  Part of the problem, Matt, is that there’s not enough competition among the health insurance companies.  When there is less competition, companies are not quite driven to reduce costs…so costs start going up.

Matt:  I see.  Thank goodness there’s not just one company running all insurance…imagine how costs would go out of control if that ever happened!  But is there a way to get more competition going?

President:  One problem is that Health insurance companies can’t compete from one state to another, so that limits how much competition there can be.

Matt:  Why don’t you just let them go ahead and compete in other states?  Is there some reason that wouldn’t be a good idea?

President:  Well, it’s complicated.  It’s like if your mom told you that you can only trade marbles with the kids on your street, but not the kids on the next street…because we don’t really know them very well, and they might try to take advantage of you.

Matt:  I don’t care if they’re on the next street.  If some kid there has a marble I like, then I’m going to trade for it.  Wouldn’t you?

President:  Yes, probably.  But there is still a problem with all these insurance companies just making too much money and getting greedy.

Matt:  Yeah, I know what you mean.  Last summer, my friend Johnnie Plunger set up a lemonade stand down the street and was charging 5 bucks for a glass of watered-down lemonade.  That was ridiculous.  He was being greedy, and I went over and told him he shouldn’t be so greedy.  He told me to…well, I better not say what he told me I could do…but I’m not sure if it’s even technically possible.  Anyway, I set up my own lemonade stand and charged 50 cents.  I had a line of customers a block long.  Twelve nano-seconds later, he dropped his price to 50 cents.

President:  Maybe there should be a government rule on the maximum price kids can charge for lemonade?  Say, no higher than a buck a glass?

Matt:  No, sir, I think that would create more confusion, because kids would just keep varying the size of the glass.  I think if you just left us kids to work it out, we’d work it out, trust me.

President:  Perhaps you’re right.  Well, kids, thank you for all your insights on health care issues.  If all of us in Washington were as smart as you, we could solve a lot more problems quicker.  But that would just put all the pundits out of a job.  Have a great day.


Disclaimer:  all stories in Bizarreville are fiction.

Tort reform

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September 14th, 2009 Posted 1:49 pm

As the health care debate continued in Bizarreville, the discussion eventually turned to Tort Reform.  Truth is, the people of Bizarreville were definitely sue-happy…it was almost an official pastime where the mayor would throw out the first whiffle ball at the opening of sue season.  Seems everybody would look for any excuse to sue their friend, neighbor, or (especially) doctor in order to get something for nothing:  “Why work and slave when you can just sue your buddy, get a rich out-of-court settlement, and kick back on the back porch with with a pitcher of margaritas?”  Made sense.

But, in spite of this seemingly ideal state of things, there was a semi-lunatic fringe element bellowing about how all this was causing Health Care costs to skyrocket.  Malpractice insurance was getting so high that many doctors just said Screw It, and bailed.  One doctor got sued for $1 million because some lady’s hang nail got infected, causing her months and months of mental anguish.  The doctor replied, “I was treating you for a swollen ankle!”  But the lady said, “You should have noticed the hang nail.  That’s the trouble with you so-called ‘specialists’.”

The Legislators tried to put an Amendment on the Health Care bill to place limits on malpractice claims, which also included strict guidelines on what was/wasn’t covered.  It would no longer recognize pain/suffering claims, would limit coverage to out-of-pocket expenses, and put strong burden of proof on the claimant to show cause that a case was truly malpractice.  It would save hundreds of gazillions of dollars in phony baloney claims and bogus legal proceedings.

The legal lobby strongly objected.  The powerful Ambulance Chasers International (ACI) decried that this would give doctors free-rein to run rough-shod over our poor patients, do slip-shod meatball surgery at will, forget to take the forceps out of grammaw’s tummy after her gall bladder-ectomy.  They rolled-in poor Mr. Shlumbunk to the hearing who had gone to the hospital for a skin irritation, and ended up mistakenly getting his full package cut off by some renegade doctor, whose only comment was: “Ooops”. 

“Patients need to have recourse on these mavericks.”  And there were boatloads of hound dog lawyers ready to sniff out any crevice to make a case.  And sniff they did.  Sniff, sniff, sniff…

Meanwhile, the Doctors were appalled by these ACI loudmouth charges, and sued the lawyers over defamation of character.  But they couldn’t get any lawyers to try their case, so they filed another suit about restraint of trade/monopolistic practices.  The lawyers counter-sued when the doctors threatened: “Yeah, well, in the unlikely event that you can find an MD who will treat you, better be prepared for a full body cavity examination.”  Ouch.

The Legislators dropped Tort Reform amendments.  They realized that suing each other was just too central to the Bizarreville culture.  Plus, the lawyers were such great contributors to their political campaigns…much better than those stingy old penny-pinching doctors who threw quarters around like they were manhole covers.