Thursday, November 26, 2009

Health Care Reform Turkey?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 46 million turkeys will be consumed during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. Imagine that......46 million golden-brown birds will be served to hungry, thankful families in a feast that commemorates the survival of the settlers who landed in New England in 1621. Afterward, people will indulge in a tryptophan induced trance to watch football or plan for the sales tomorrow. Even people who worked today, as I did, managed to celebrate a little of the holiday by sharing a meal with their work family.

It just so happens that the number of Americans who do not have health insurance is just over 46 million. This is a coincidence, and certainly no reflection on the turkeys.

Just imagine, though, that through some bizarre quirk of fate every family that had Thanksgiving turkey today suddenly had no insurance, and everyone who had other plans suddenly had insurance. Through no fault of your own, your family now has no insurance. You will have difficulty making a doctor's appointment unless you are financially able to put up a substantial deposit. If you have emergency surgery, you could have to come up more than $10,000 on very short notice. You may have to sell your house to finance treatment of your cancer.

On a sober note, you will receive fewer health care services, even if you offer to pay for them. You will get less care, later in your illness, than if you had health insurance. Frankly, you won't live quite as long or quite as well as if you had health insurance. All because you chose turkey today.

Now I realize that this scenario is farfetched and is a depressing thought for Thanksgiving day, but the fact that the number of uninsured Americans is equal to the number of turkeys that sacrifice their lives for Thanksgiving was just too ironic to overlook.

Perhaps President Obama could pardon someone without insurance in the Rose Garden next year along with the turkey.............

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