A scene from the future.
Senate cloakroom. An unscheduled meeting of Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Al Franken (D-WI), John Kerry (D-MA), and John Rockefeller IV (D-WV).
Dorgan: It’s not working.
Kerry: Of course it’s working. Polls show the
Dorgan: John! It’s not working. Polls? Hell John, you’ve got polls that show you won the presidency ten years ago. Barbara, you ran national commercials showing that North Dakotans were mostly covered by one health insurance company. Do you know how many we have now?
Rockefeller: Two? Three?
Dorgan: None! Your public option killed our local Blue Cross. We don’t have that many residents. We couldn’t support three or four major companies. Competition? We want our old coverage back.
Kerry: People across the country love Medicare Part E.
Franken:John, enough with that. It was fun when Olbermann came up with that. But the Republicans successfully dubbed it Medicare Edsel to seniors and Medicare Error to others.
Kerry: Nobody else calls it Medicare Part E?
All: Just you, John.
Senator Beau Biden (D-De) enters the cloakroom.
Biden: That never gets old. What’s going on?
Boxer: Byron’s unhappy with the health plan.
Dorgan: I’m unhappy? My constituents are unhappy. And you? How happy are you?
Franken:The numbers are awful. We were told that costs would go down. Happiness would go up.
Biden: Doctors still on strike in San Francisco?
Boxer: Yes, but at least most of them are back to work in Los Angeles and San Diego.
Franken:The claims are through the roof. We undercut the insurers and took their healthiest clients. Since we didn’t ask any questions or exclude any preexisting conditions, we got all of the unhealthy, too. The insurers are making money, hand over fist, selling supplements and we were left holding the bag.
Kerry: I didn’t know so many had cancer.
Boxer: Or heart trouble.
Rockefeller:Or asthma. Half the country must use inhalers.
Brown: Much of this is preventable. If we could only get people to take better care of themselves, quit smoking and drink less, we’d be OK.
Biden: Good luck with that.
Brown: Well, I’ve got an idea. I would like to initiate a trial program in Northeast Ohio. It’s based on a great idea from a few years ago. Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic has pointed out that obesity is the root cause of much of our problem.
Boxer: Yes, we all know that obesity related claims are killing us. What’s the idea?
Brown: The Cleveland Clinic would send out three cans of Slim Fast to every household in Great Cleveland. Once people see how easy it is to lose weight, our problems will be over. And of course, since this is such a good idea, they won’t mind paying for the diet shakes.
Rockefeller:How much will it cost them?
Brown: Just $50.
Kerry: Sounds like a steal!
I hope you are reading this under the glow of a low-energy light bulb.
I have been reading your articles during my lunch break, and I have to admit the whole article has been very valuable and very well written. I thought I would let you know that for some reason this blog does not view well in Internet Explorer 8. I wish Microsoft would stop changing their software.
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