Joe the Heart Patient

by Rich Herschlag

I want to keep the health insurance I have—which is no health insurance. I was dropped when I had a heart attack. My insurance company called it a preexisting condition, and they were right. Heart attacks have been around a very long time. The important thing is that I treasure my insurance company’s free market right to maximize profits at all moral and ethical costs. I would willingly die defending that right. And now, finally, I may get that chance.

I try not to worry about my needless impending death. I don’t lose sleep over the pointless suffering between now and then, and I refuse to get down about leaving my wife and children behind without any health care of their own. What I do worry about is the prospect of private insurance juggernauts experiencing a ten to fifteen percent decline in annual gross revenue due to the availability of a public option. Now that’s scary.

I don’t have a doctor. But if I did, I wouldn’t want some bureaucrat coming between me and him. Like Sarah Palin, I am against Obama’s death panels. I prefer Liberty Mutual’s death panels, because at least they’re American. I am not impressed with claims of socialized medicine working in countries like Britain, France, and Canada. It’s far better to die of septic shock in a free country than to receive antibiotics in a single-payer one. Single-payer systems, as we know, just aren’t fair. Why should one person have to pay for everyone else? What if that person runs out of money?

I’ve always relished getting the insurance statement envelope in the mail following a surgical procedure. It makes me fee a little like a nominated actor on Oscar night. I never know if I’m going to be reimbursed 80 percent, 50 percent, or not at all. I firmly believe the suspense has kept me going all these years. But under a single-payer or a public option, let’s face it—the thrill will be gone.

Bleeding heart liberal commie pinko anti-American leftist homosexual traitors contend there are 47 million uninsured people in this country. But the truth is, 46,999,996 of them are illegal immigrants and the other four are my family. Let’s get something straight, though—we don’t want a handout. We have a little thing called pride. I can proudly say I’ve been turned away by some of the biggest names in healthcare, from Aetna to AIG to CIGNA to United Health—a virtual Who’s Who of the insurance business.

I am not in the least offended that members of Congress receive superior healthcare provided entirely by the federal government. I recently spoke to my congressman regarding this issue, and he personally assured me that were I ever elected to the House or the Senate, the exact same health plan would be made available to me.

One day, should I miraculously live that long, I’ll be eligible for Medicare, and the government better keep their grubby hands off it. Back when our country was founded by a few brave men, many of them gave their lives for Medicare. If these same patriots were alive today, they would do what any patriot would do in the face of a government takeover of Medicare—show up at Obama rallies with loaded assault weapons.

Because of government interference in the natural order of things, bloodletting has become a lost art. Castor oil and cod liver oil for treatment of everything from a common cold to multiple bone fractures has become a thing of the past.

Amputations are way down, and that’s a problem because, as everyone knows, a severed limb cannot be reinfected. I am not troubled by life expectancy in the U.S. ranking 35th, a bit behind Bosnia and a hair ahead of Albania . Life expectancy is vastly overrated. Post-mortem relapses are increasingly rare.

I am dead set against government sponsored preventive care. Preventive care not only weakens our natural defenses against disease but also casts our government in the role of parent. My own parents had a different approach to medical concerns. When my right foot hurt, Dad would stomp on my left foot, and vice-versa. Mom said he picked this up while watching old episodes of The Three Stooges, proving once again that we can certainly learn a lot from our forefathers.

The fact is, the misguided outcry for a public option—or any sort of healthcare for that matter—represents a serious threat to intelligent design. Intelligent design is a constitutionally guaranteed right granted by our nation’s founders. Under intelligent design, we evolve into a superior civilization as the strong survive, the weak perish, and the really weak run Blackwater.

Government programs are doomed to failure. Aside from the GI Bill, Social Security, the FDA, the Hoover Dam, the Federal Reserve System, the FAA, the SEC, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the National Guard, and NASA, name one government program that works.

I believe the Earth was created in six days by an all-powerful benevolent God and that on the seventh day He created our current healthcare system in His own image. Tampering with the Lord’s healthcare system is heresy and will surely bring the wrath of nations down on this once great land. When that day comes, we owe it to ourselves to bleed to death and resist the evil temptation to show up at a free clinic.


Rich Herschlag is the author of Before the Glory: 20 Baseball Heroes Talk About Growing Up and Turning Hard Times Into Home Runs (HCI, 2007). His other books include Lay Low and Don’t Make the Big Mistake (Simon & Schuster, 1997) and The Interceptor (Ballantine, 1998).

15 replies »

  1. Damn straight. All men are created equal. If some develop heart conditions, then surely it’s because of the freedom of choice our great nation affords us. Smoking and diets high in saturated fat? These are not scourges. They are God-given rights! Genetic disorders? Bah! The Good Lord never gives us more than we can handle.

  2. Joe, I wish it were all a cynical joke, but it’s real, or maybe surreal. It takes a lot to bring a human being into the world and keep them going. We can’t afford to just throw them away.

  3. I feel the same way. I have a small case of swine flu. The other passengers on my morning bus ride to work are started to get annoyed about all the coughing and sneezing. But since they dont want to pay for my doctor visit, then they get to share the fun.

  4. “Bleeding heart liberal commie pinko anti-American leftist homosexual traitors”

    God bless you sir. As a child, I think my father called me that when he learned my favorite animal wasn’t from North America (it may have just been “pinko commie”). I have since straightened up, and with your wisdom, perhaps America can straighten up, too.

    Oh, and you could count state colleges depending on your view of them. And the School of the Americas, of course.

  5. We had the best insurance in the world and my lovely wife died at age 49 of ovarian cancer that metastasized, Insurance or not, there was nothing we could do. Not to minimize your condition or feelings, my heart goes out to you and I wish you well and hope that your prognosis improves.


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  7. As a conservative that does not see the wisdom of a public option i do agree that there should be regulations that preclude insurance from denying pre existing conditions. I also believe that tort reform is vitally needed to stop the rapacious lawsuits and also insurers should be allowed to cross state lines thus creating more competition. I also beleive that all politicians,pres,v-pres all cabinet officers and all congressmen and senators should have to live under the Pelosi disaster. Liberals should ask there dem politicos why they 11 times voted down amendments that would require them to also be on the Pelosi plan. Can liberals figure out why ?? I can…………………..

    • I also believe that tort reform is vitally needed to stop the rapacious lawsuits

      But you probably DON’T believe that we need stringent regulation of the corporations whose products necessitate those lawsuits, do you?

      As for the “Pelosi disaster,” I don’t recall you ever wandering in here before January of this year to carp about the “Bush disaster.”

  8. Bush is’nt president or speaker of the house and has nothing to do with the health scam being concocted by the libs.Slammy, should the lib politicos that want to shove this plan down are throats be exempt from it ?? why won’t they vote to put themselves on it ?? this is the subject, not your hard on against Bush. stay on the subject or drop out of the conversation.

    • Well, they don’t want to be on the plan themselves because it is dramatically inferior to what they have now. I didn’t realize this was a mystery. What Pelosi (who I do not love, btw) ought to be whipping is a plan that gets all Americans the quality of care that Congress has.

      This isn’t happening because of the legislature’s conservative elements – the GOP and the Blue Dogs. So I guess I’d agree that Pelosi and Reid and Obama are on the verge of giving us a “mess,” but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that said mess is a direct result of Congress’s right and “center” elements. So honestly, I’m not sure where you’re going as a self-professed conservative. The math would indicate that you’re indicting yourself.

  9. Conservative elements want tort reform which will lower insurance costs by getting a grip on the absurd “pain & suffering” awards which make lawyers rich and drives up the cost of insurance to doctors and hospitals. Guess who pays for that….we do.Also doctors and hospitals live in such fear of lawsuits that they have a multitude of tests and consultations that are unneeded just to cover their butts. Who do you think pays for that….we do. Conservatives want to allow us to get insurance across state lines so if i can get insurance cheaper in Pennsylvania instead of the state i live in then i can. That would promote large savings in insurance costs. Why are neither of these changes part of the Pelosi horror ?? Because the libs refuse to enact either change. Over 80% of all lawyer and lawyer association political contributions go to Democrat politicians. Who do you think pays for that Slammy…we do..If you and the libs were serious about insurance reform that will drop the cost of insurance and make it available to most people then you would insist on real change, but your so stuck on your ideology that you are incapable of thinking. If this soumds angry it is because me and others that know whays really going on are sick of it. You said yourself that the libs are giving us “a mess”. I can’t possibly imagine why you support that other than stupidity. I’m not wasting my time with you anymore, get the facts before you rant your hate against the very people that are trying to help you………………..

    • In short, I think I hear your anger, and I know I hear a lot of arguments that are shaped by ideology. What I did NOT hear, though, was an answer to the question.

      It’s interesting that you can see how lawsuits have skyrocketed, but you seem unable to connect the dots regarding how this has correlated with rampant deregulation. A lot of people might argue that the ideal approach would be to nip that little litigation problem in the bud by removing the cause – that is, let’s not let corps run hog wild. (BTW, if we’re going to talk about campaign contributions the way we might talk about chlamydia, which party benefits the most from CORPORATE donations? I mean, I assume you want a fair and balanced conversation here, right?)

  10. The GI Bill is still leaving me with 50 grand in student loans by the time I am done, Social Security is doomed, the federal reserve shouldn’t even exist, the FAA does a good job for all I know, the SEC are you serious???? Being in the Army let me tell you a little story. At the end of every training year the Battalion Ammo NCO would bring us hundreds of thousands of dollars worth or unused ammo and munitions and say “Use it!” cause if we didn’t we would lose money the next year in our training budget so every year my unit and others(there are a few units if you care to count in all the branches of the military) wastes money. That is only one example of course.

    to bad you couldn’t actually die before whining about it. We all die in case you were unaware.

  11. This is just great. I mean, honestly, I have no other words to describe it.

    Listen, I’m a registered voter. I registered as Independent because personally, I think that to associate oneself with a specific political party is foolish. You should be entitled to your own political opinions and not let your party dictate them for you. That being said, I’ll be the first to tell you that I definitely sway more towards the left side of the political spectrum. That is, until it comes to the healthcare reform. When it comes to that, my views on the topic are so conservative that when I look to the right, I see no one else (except for maybe this Joe character…at least I’m in good company).

    The healthcare reform is something that outright scares the shit out of me. The government already takes enough of my tax dollars to fund government assistance programs such as Section 8, Food Stamps, etc., and sure, there are certainly some people who benefit from this program who actually deserve and need it. But a vast majority of the beneficiaries are (sorry to sound ignorant) illegals who want a free ride in this country. So now I get to pay for their health insurance, too? YIPPEE!! I’m sorry, but years and years ago when my great-grandmother emigrated to this country from the Ukrane, after being imprisoned in Poland for simply crossing the Poland/Ukrane border, leaving my great-aunt to take care of her younger brother and sister, the last thing she asked for was handouts, and she was actually here legally. She and her husband (who had come to America a few years prior) got jobs making pennies per hour, learned English, and (gasp) actually supported themselves and their children, because the government back then wasn’t so apt to assist each and every person that swims, boats, flies, walks, or drives their ass into this country.

    Sorry if I digress, but the point I’m trying to make here is, sure, our country could use a new healthcare system. But the proposed one is hardly an answer to the problem. So until Wonderboy Obama can come up with one that is more sound, Joe and I will be hanging out over on the conservative end of things.