Posted by: JDM..... | March 20, 2013

Turn your head and cough…..

….or you’re what….. fired…..?

One of the issues fueling my concerns over the advent of “Obamacare” has been the human tendency to protect those things in which one has an investment and to put the “no sweat off my back” things in the kitchen junk drawer. Now, I’m not referring to the almost-hackneyed complaints about welfare abuse. Just about anything that could be said on that score has already been gummed to death, and any further effort spent passing it around the campfire again would be better spent crocheting cozies for fire hydrants. Wait. That’s already been done, too.

One must look toward the caretakers, not the cared for, in order to view the devil lurking in the details of this Grand Plan.

The passage of “Obamacare” by the otherwise Petrified Congress instantly moved the erstwhile imaginary “cradle to grave” scenarios from the pages of fiction to the realities of today. It marked a leap ahead in the inevitability of government bureaucracies becoming progressively involved in virtually every aspect of an individual’s life. Any time a financial stake in something is established, whether by an individual, a group of individuals, or a government, the holder of that lien establishes a line of rational authority to protect the investment. In the case of government, “protecting the taxpayer’s money” becomes the carte blanche license to do whatever it decides is justified, including overwhelming and invading the minute by minute operation of whatever is directly or indirectly funded. It takes over like a fart in a sauna.

If the United States government is going to force a person by law to purchase health insurance, establish minimum standards for that purchase, and subsidize that purchase if one can’t afford it, government will have acquired an interest stake in what one eats, drinks, or uses in any way to function in the activities of daily living, including time. Furthermore, Uncle Sam’s lead concubines (selected business interests) are highly likely to emulate the escalation under the “Monkey see, Monkey do” principle”. If the other guy does it, so can I.

I noticed evidence of this creeping mentality today when I read an article reporting that CVS, the pharmacy giant, was forcing employees to voluntarily “have a doctor measure their weight, height, body fat, blood pressure and glucose and fasting lipid levels by May 1.” CVS management will then have the data analyzed, and people who the company deems to be outside of their sandbox of approved body structure characteristics will “voluntarily” have to participate in a company “wellness” program.

It used to be that one went to a physician for the assessment and care of one’s body functions. Then along came “managed care”, which added several layers of intervention between the patient and the physician. Next, the Health Maintenance Organization appeared on the scene, sending knee-breakers around to twist the arms of big city and small town doctors alike, enrolling them by the thousands to do the bidding of their handlers. Odd. It wasn’t but twenty five years or so ago that I sat face to face with my doctor in his office (it was in his house) while he smoked his pipe we talked about my sore foot. One on one. No opinions or permissions other than his and mine. Today, my doctor works on an assembly line, allotted fifteen minute time slots per patient and assigned daily quotas like a salesman.

Healthcare and insurance have not become cheaper in the years since, though people are lulled into believing it for several reasons:

(a) Complexity. The patient tends to judge the cost by the bill he or she ends up paying out of pocket, and probably has no clue regarding the fancy bookwork and subsidies that hide the true cost in a camouflaging fog.

(b) Bribery. It used to be that a person might take a long lunch to play a quick round of handball with the boss…good for the health….good for the career…Now the boss more likely than not will announce that the new insurance contract provides for “free handball court membership”, to be used on the employee’s personal free time, of course. If they work for CVS, the Howdy Doody Grin is more apt to be a Simon Legree scowl. See item (c), below.

(c) Extortion. Lots of stuff rolls down hill, but in the realm of healthcare stuff seems to inexplicably roll up hill. If the boss doesn’t do what the government never-says-but-always-makes-perfectly-clear-anyway, financial consequences are positioned to roll down hill in his direction, and if he complies with the unspoken-but-perfectly-clear from on high….well, nothing rolls down on him. This is a progressive phenomenon, with the guy that sweeps up and empties the trash on the bottom. He goes home and teases the gerbil, but not until after he goes to his “Wellness” meeting at the Tai Chi studio and stops by the local Health Food store to bribe the cashier into giving him a stack of bogus receipts for an array of really shitty tasting but also really healthy concoctions on The Company’s approved list.

(d) Complacency. One of the first things that happens when one starts picking up the tab for the gang every Friday night at the Bowling Alley is that the folks in the gang start forgetting their wallets. The second thing is that they kind of decide it would be a great idea to play on Wednesday nights, too. And, if the benefactor sneaks an extra pin or two in on the scorecard for one of them every once in a while, he’ll have the next best thing to a Yellow Lab by his side for the duration.

(e) Dependency. Refer to (d).

So, here we are on the cusp of full-blown Obamacare, and I hope there is enough moral P and V floating around this country in the next few years to at least start the process of correcting our course. We aren’t perfect, but we and our ancestors have demonstrated, when necessary, that we are not only willing and able to take care of ourselves, but we also have the innate values and desire to help a neighbor or family member in need. It is now necessary for us to exhibit those characteristics energetically once again, and to fire the Nanny to whom we carelessly handed responsibility for our futures. That’s our job. The Nanny’s only job is to maintain a safe environment for us to accomplish that in.

Or not.


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  1. When I heard about CVS I was more than a little concerned. My retirement insurance premiums went up 115% this year. Yes, more than doubled. And now, I too, am under the gun to fill out an online “health habits” questionnaire and attend wellness clinics at designated stores (a large grocery chain that shall remain unnamed) with pharmacies; to be weighed, measured, have sugar and cholesterol levels checked and talk to the available nutritionist. If you choose not to participate they want to know why. So, in fear of losing my retirement benefits I will be complying, albeit begrudgingly.
    As you so succinctly stated, the government has stuck their noses into virtually every aspect of our private lives and now they want to stick them into our orifices as well. Maybe George Orwell wasn’t so far off when he wrote his book back in 1949. His timing was just a little off.

  2. Well stated, Jeff.

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