I look at the confederacy of imbeciles running our country, and I listen to them blather on incessantly about health care. And while I can pinpoint the moment it happened to the presidency, I wonder when exactly it was that the aggregate IQ of the House and Senate dropped into the single digits. Then my heart stops as I realize it was us that voted them in, putting our respective intelligence quotients at an even lower level.
Like throngs of excitable lemmings, we have been duped by partisan posturing and self-righteous pontificating on a host of topics, most notably, health care. We swing wildly for the left or right wing fences but have taken our eyes off of the ball.
Shame on all of us.
We have become so polarized over the issue of health insurance, that we have abandoned reason and critical thinking for whatever rhetoric it takes to win the argument. The bigger the accusation, the smaller the partial truth, the louder the headline. To the unrestrained glee of the health care, pharmaceutical and hospital industries (all of which profit the sicker we get), we have missed the essential truth and tolerate a host of insanities that have inexplicably become the new norm.
At the end of last year, my wife learned that she had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, which when combined with the fact that her mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 49, put her at an extremely high risk for cancer. We opted for preventative surgery. She had a hysterectomy and is considering a double mastectomy.
As part of the process, she had a mammogram which revealed a few “suspicious” spots in her left breast. The first attempt at a biopsy failed since the doctors weren’t able to locate the spots with a sonogram. Several weeks later, she had an MRI assisted biopsy which took just over 2 hours.
The bill for the MRI assisted biopsy was $13,364.
In what universe can a biopsy – a two hour procedure – cost $13,364?
I play 3 hours of jazz piano at a night club in Mamaroneck, and I get $40 and a chicken sandwich. Not counting the value of the sandwich, it would take me 363 nights to pay back that debt. With a wink and a nod, we were told not to worry, because insurance would cover all but $4300. Which led me to an equally impassioned follow up question:
In what universe can a biopsy – a two hour procedure – cost $4300? (naturally, our insurance company initially denied coverage).
Jimmy Kimmel was right – to a point. Wealth or lack of it should not be the variable that determines whether a life threatening but curable condition should be treated. When a doctor says, “hey, we see a spot on your wife’s mammogram, shall we do a biopsy?” your first thought shouldn’t have to be, “I’m not sure, let me ask my financial advisor or see how much cash I can get for the car.”
Before we rage on about health insurance packages – who’s covered and who pays for what – let’s rage first against the bloated elephant in the room that no one seems to acknowledge. Prices of our drugs, doctor visits, MRI’s, teeth cleaning, hospital stays, surgeries, and the like, have reimagined the concept of criminally insane. Yet instead of working together to manage that festering cyst of greed, a system that profits as we deteriorate, everyone runs around screaming that with prices so high, we had all (or at least some of us)better find a way to get properly insured.
There’s an 800 pound rabid gorilla on the loose sodomizing everyone in its path, and our genius representatives are at each other’s throats arguing about who should pay for the lube.
And so we leap into the fray, frothing with passion, burning an impotent trail of opinions, punches and counterpunches across the social media landscape. We defend the ACA, stupidly named “Obama Care” (it has nothing to do with the care of Obama) with unmitigated passion, despite the fact it’s a 2700 page document that almost no one has ever read, much less understood. Many others applaud its repeal and defend the GOP’s version, not that anyone knows what that actually is, though it is reported to be about 2698 pages shorter than the ACA and begins with the words, “once upon a time…”
As Trump summarized after glancing for several seconds at the title page of both documents, “are there pictures?”
We sway too freely in the winds of our favorite op-eds. As hard as it is to admit, we get all amped up on partisan sound bites and cling feverishly to our opinions without really having a clue. We forget to take the time and hard work to learn the facts and fail to realize that the red and blue mental midgets dancing around the truths on Capitol Hill are, sadly, reflections of ourselves.
Health care is a life and death issue, and neither party has come close to delivering viable answers. Let’s put the rhetoric on hold and demand more than partial truths from ourselves and our representatives.
And would someone please shoot the fucking gorilla.