Thursday, October 29, 2009

OPINION: Sylvia quick to solve health insurance crisis

By Anne Sullivan

“I don’t know what to do,” said Sylvia, her head drooping closer and closer to the floor.
“About what?” I asked absently as I handed her a mouse-occupied sticky trap. “Put this in the garbage can, please.”
Sylvia continued the conversation when she returned from the errand. “Gordo wants to know where his bonus is.”
“What bonus?” I asked, laying a fresh sticky trap under my bed.
“That’s just it. What bonus?”
“Did you promise him a bonus?”
“We-l-l-l, not exactly in so many words.”
I cut to the quick. “How much does he want?”
“Five thousand dollars.”
“Five thousand dollars!” I echoed.
“Yeah, and RingWorm wants compensation for counseling Gordo.
She says his Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is not covered by his health insurance. The insurance company claims it’s a pre-existing condition and they’re planning to drop him.”
“I didn’t know he had health insurance.”
“Gordo says he got it through his previous employer.”
“He couldn’t have had a previous employer,” I said. “He was just a kitten when he arrived; unexpectedly, I might add.”
Sylvia put a paw on my knee. ”Didn’t he tell you? Gordo got the health insurance from the modeling agency he worked for. Evidently they took and sold a lot of pictures of our pretty boy.”
“Well, knock me over with a mouse trap. Will wonders never cease,” I said as I finished laying my DeCon barrier along the walls of my beleaguered bedroom.
“But if that insurance company drops him, he’ll be no better off than the rest of us.”
Sylvia paused for a long time to think before she came out with, “I thought those folks in Washington are fixing health insurance so that everybody can get everything they want.”
“Everybody except the insurance companies.”
“Oh, are they unhappy?”
“You said it.”
“It seems to me everyone is unhappy about health insurance,” Sylvia said, visibly pondering the situation.
“I think they’re looking at it the wrong way.”
“Really? What’s your idea?”
“Simple. If nobody gets sick or injured, we don’t need doctors or medicines or hospitals or sick days off from work and then we don’t need medical insurance.”
“That’s true but the adjustment is easier said than done.”
“I know how to do it,” said Sylvia. “We have to reward the people who don’t get sick.”
“They’re already rewarded by being healthy.”
“No, the reward has to be more immediate and more concrete, something like tickets to ball games and free meals at restaurants and healthy candy for children and days off from work and lottery tickets for a college education.”
“Wouldn’t that be very expensive?” I asked.
“Yes, it would but it would be a lot cheaper than paying for insurance. This way we could dispense with insurance companies and hospitals and we wouldn’t need so many doctors. It’s very simple. We could call it Public Option Times Three.”
“Perhaps you should go to Washington and explain this to the powers-that-be,” I suggested.
At this point Sylvia hopped on her imaginary soapbox and saluted.
“You know how I hate to travel,” she declaimed.
“However, if Washington is willing to listen I’m willing to go and serve my country and humanity in general by solving the health care crisis.”

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