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Nshima & Curry
Nshima & Curry
A HEALTHCARE SYSTEM THAT NEEDS TREATMENT
My wife and I recently took our baby girl, Lekha, to a
hospital emergency room. It was the middle of the night and
we couldn't get her to stop crying, so we thought something
was seriously wrong. Forgive us, we're first-time parents
and our imaginations tend to run wild. Did she swallow a
loose thread in her blanket? Is she too young to eat fiber?
Will it leave her stomach in a knot?
We thought we'd find answers at the hospital, but we'd have
been better off taking Lekha to our mechanic. Not that the
doctor didn't try. He checked her pulse and pressure, even
took X-rays. After Lekha had calmed down, the doctor
shrugged and said, "Perhaps it was gas," a diagnosis that
sounded eerily similar to a recent one from our mechanic.
Lekha didn't cry on the way home, but I burst into tears,
realizing we had been blessed, beyond doubt, with another
hospital bill. Despite having health insurance, we'd have to
cough up $115. That's because our health plan is called
"managed care" and we're never quite sure when our insurance
company will manage to care. Some hospital visits are fully
covered, others are not, and to figure it out, you need a
degree in quantum physics.
Even so, we're thankful we have health insurance, for we
know that so many people don't. In this rich and powerful
country, a shameful 41 million lack health insurance,
according to 2001 Census Bureau figures. The ailing
healthcare system is further burdened by millions of illegal
aliens who can't afford hospital visits, not to mention all
the money that's being spent on Dick Cheney's heart attacks.
Bill and Hillary Clinton tried to fix the system, but the
only thing they managed to fix was their cat. Thankfully,
President Bush seems just as concerned about America's
Reporter: "Mr. President, would you please explain your
Bush: "Well, it has three important components. First and
foremost, we must eliminate the primary threat to our
health, a threat known to everyone as Saddam Hussein. He is
a cancer on our nation. We must operate on him as soon as
possible. Second, we must make a commitment to rid the world
of weapons of mass destruction, especially the ones that
don't belong to us. As long as such weapons exist, our
health is at risk. And finally, we must provide tax cuts for
ordinary Americans such as Ted Turner and Bill Gates.
Without tax relief, they will never be able to feel healthy.
As the old saying goes, wealth is health."
Unless you're one of the 41 million who lack health
insurance, it's easy to believe that overhauling the
healthcare system isn't as important as, say, providing
government funds for a scientific study to determine why
monkeys scratch themselves. After all, the study might have
a huge impact on our understanding of baseball.
Unless you're one of the unlucky ones, you may believe that
only certain classes of people deserve health coverage, the
ones who need it the least, the ones who drive around in
Jaguars and BMWs, saying, "Who cares about America's health
system? We've got a great wealth system."
Unless you're one of the unlucky ones, you may even believe
that hospitals are cheap, doctors are underpaid, and Santa
Claus delivers prescription drugs.
"Merry Christmas! Anybody want some Prozac? It'll make you
forget you have no health insurance!"
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