September 7, 2009

Health Care: Special Delivery

Hatched by Dave Ross

During the town hall meeting where President Barack Obama compared the post office to Fed Ex and UPS, little did he know that one year later, the U.S. Postal Service would be put in charge of the nation’s first public option medical insurance -- and that its arch enemies would also decide to jump head first into health insurance!

President Obama had started the evening off by launching into his usual spiel about how evil doctors and even more wicked health care companies drive up the cost of premiums.

“Now say that someone bites off your finger and your doctor decides to amputate your thorax because he can get more money --“ He looked down at his leg where a Portuguese Water Dog was whining plaintively. “Now, Bo, stop begging! You can’t have a finger!”

He looked back up at the camera. “Anyway, that’s an example of how unscrupulous doctors inflate the cost of health care. In a government run health care system, you would not only save your finger, you’d get a refreshing spa treatment manicure that would leave your finger better than new! And if Granny needed a new heart we would save money by giving her an aspirin.”

During the question and answer period that followed, the president glanced away from the teleprompter for a split second and quipped that if you want an example of a government run business that does well, you need look no further than the post office. This led to a fateful chain of events…

Obama, of course, never intended that the Postmaster General should become the Postmaster-Surgeon General; however, one night at a Georgetown party, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman were in a bedroom picking up their overcoats when they both leaned over the bed at the same time.

Their heads struck with a loud crack! They awoke several hours later in bed with twin headaches, with Pelosi snoring softly in Waxman’s arms. Both looked over at the same instant. Waxman saw Pelosi’s rictus smile, she saw his gap-toothed grimace. Both drew the same erroneous conclusions, both drew back in horror, and quickly gathered their belongings, muttering and refusing to look at each other as they fled down separate staircases.

The next morning Waxman and Pelosi were haunted by the horror of the night before; so when a computer glitch put language into the omnibus health care reform package that was actually intended to be bailout language for the post office, first Waxman (muttering “The horror! The horror!”) and then Pelosi (still too dazed and haunted to pay much attention) gave their assent.

Over the next few weeks, since no one actually read the 3,000-page bill, the fact that the USPS was put in charge of the public healthcare option was left unnoted.

Pelosi was later treated for post-traumatic stress syndrome. Waxman would have been also, however the waiting period for treatment was two years and he was instead shunted to end of life counseling.

Several months later, just as the public option was about to be unveiled in a White House ceremony, the President’s chief of staff walked into the oval office, bent over the president and whispered.

“Sir, I have some bad news.”

“Has Vice President Biden been appearing on TV again?”

“No sir, it’s worse. The post office has been put in charge of health care.”

“Well, thank God I’ve got my own doctor. Everybody else will just have to make the best of it, though, in the spirit of spreading the wealth around.”

The new Postmaster-Surgeon General, Wilford Higgenlooper, opened his press conference by announcing, “In order for the post office -- public option insurance company to be competitive, we are going to have to stop delivering babies on Saturdays. However, we have been listening to our customers; and we have introduced the “Forever Co-Pay”: You buy a co-pay from us now, and no matter how long you wait to use it, you never have to pay anything more.

“We are also going to introduce the ‘Cash For Tickers’ organ buying program. If you have an old, malfunctioning kidney, or a malfunctioning liver, even a bum heart, we will buy it back from you, as long as you promise to buy a brand new, less polluting organ.”

Because of the same unnoticed loophole in the law that put the post office in charge of health care, UPS and Fed Ex were allowed to compete in that same field.

Soon, Mr. Brown had painted a picture of the Stork on the side of his delivery truck, and had photographed one of its newly hired surgeons in shorts and a white lab coat triumphantly holding up a gall bladder and exclaiming, “When It Absolutely Has To Be Removed Overnight!”

Higgenlooper fought back by pointing out that Americans have long been used to standing in line to buy stamps and send packages, especially during the holidays. “Heck, we know people who held tailgating parties while waiting to buy a stamp. Some have met their life partners, spent enough time together that they were ready for a divorce, and still hadn't mailed their blasted special-delivery letters!”

He urged UPS to not employ unfair businesses practices such as operating more efficiently, then added ominously, “Many of us at the post office have assault rifles and we know how to use them.”

Hatched by Dave Ross on this day, September 7, 2009, at the time of 11:55 PM

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