Health care !!!!! Give me liberty and give me death or something like that

America is the world leader in most important categories: #1 in nuclear warheads, #1 in citizens incarcerated, and breaking into the top 50 in healthcare.

That’s why our cherished Constitution forbids socialism to flourish anywhere within our borders – with the very narrow exceptions of our public schools, postal system, fire and police departments, interstate highway system, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, federal prisons, all state universities, most community colleges, Social Security Administration, National Guard, Coast Guard, public libraries, most local garbage collection services, the National Weather Service, and a few thousand other minor social service programs.

My point is, with a few isolated exceptions, the USA simply does not tolerate the tyranny of socializing our civil services (if you don’t count the folks at the Civil Service Administration). The mere mention of the word socialism stirs a visceral fear in the hair-trigger psyche of our proud democracy.

Socialism enslaves people through intrusive government over-regulation. Case in point: Canada’s socialized healthcare system. Ask any Canadian how they feel about their healthcare compared to ours. An astonishing 98%* of Canadians surveyed said they would gladly swap their healthcare system for ours (* if it was necessary to do so in order to get their child back from kidnappers).

Until Obamacare (known by liberal America-haters as the Affordable Care Act) was enacted, America was the proud supplier of one of the world’s elite healthcare systems – and by elite I mean #37, right behind Costa Rica, and several places ahead of Pakistan.

Sure, 32 of the world’s 33 most highly developed nations all have universal healthcare. But Americans have never followed the herd. We forge our own path, dig our own grave. Who invented the Snuggie? The Clapper? The TV show Ice Road Truckers? One word: Pioneering Americans. (Okay, so we don’t rank very high in global word count rankings.)

So what if prior to Obamacare, the average American had been paying on average 40 to 50% more per year than countries with universal healthcare? Those other 32 countries include backwards, oppressive socialist-leaning regimes like Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and (gasp) France. And do we really want to look to France as a model for anything? (Okay, France, I’ll give you points for inventing crêpes. They’re yummy.) If you don’t agree that Obamacare means an end to our freedom, just look at some of its core provisions. It denies freedom-loving Americans….

the right not to carry health insurance because we know we will never get sick and need it
the right to be denied health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, and
the right to have our coverage unilaterally dropped when our policy is no longer profitable to our health insurance provider

Oh sure, I might decide to buy health insurance eventually – maybe when I’m 85 and eying a hip replacement or a heart transplant. But until then, no meddling government bureaucrat has the right to make me buy health insurance, not when I can make far better use of that money buying Power Ball lottery tickets.

Just over a week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court listened to arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare. Obama wants to force every American to purchase health insurance, much the way we’re required by law to buy car insurance. Does Obama think the American people are cars? What an insult. If so, my body would be a broken-down 1982 Chevy Citation with the radio missing, but I digress.

I believe it was Patrick Henry who once tweeted Give me liberty and give me death! – or something like that. Our fore fathers – five if you include Alexander Hamilton – founded a Christian nation based on the fundamental principle that all white, male, Christian, educated, landowning Americans with slaves were endowed with certain inalienable freedoms:

Freedom of speech
Freedom of assembly
Freedom to carry a concealed weapon to a house of worship of their choice (so long as it was Christian)
Freedom to have insurance providers raise everybody else’s rates and let others pick up the tab for your emergency room surgery because you didn’t bother to buy health insurance

When it comes to our cherished freedom to decide how to manage our own health – listen to Patrick Henry. Give us liberty and give us death. Say Hell-No to Obamacare and Hel-lo to undetected stage-four lymphoma.

Who among the top 1% would benefit from Obamacare? No one. Oh, sure a small number of people might be better off – and by small number I mean barely 32 million previously uninsured Americans – none of whom are Facebook friends of mine. And who is President Obama to tell me I must spend a portion of my hard-earned paycheck on health insurance premiums instead of investing it wisely as I see fit, by placing it all on Daddy’s Overdraft in the third race at Pimlico? (He’s excellent on a muddy track.)

If all goes well, come June, the Supreme Court will hand down its decision to overturn this nefarious threat to our liberty. We’ll all happily return to the wonderful way things were, safe from the threat of a hostile government takeover of healthcare, comforted knowing that our civically-minded health insurance companies will do their darndest to resist shareholder demands to raise our premiums for years to come.

But if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, you can kiss all your cherished personal liberties goodbye forever. Before you know it, the government will start regulating local libraries, public schools and national parks – someday maybe even Medicare. Oh what a hellish nightmare!

Please join me in praying that God will direct the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare and return our great nation to a simpler time when healthcare decisions were private matters, and the government stayed out of it entirely – the 13th century.

This way we can continue like this

“Hello! Thank you for calling Air Health Care, the airline that works like the health care system. My name is Cynthia. How can I give you travel care today?”

“Hi. My name is Mike Green . I need to fly from Washington, D.C., to Eugene, Oregon, on October 23.”

“Yes, I’d be happy to assist you with that. It does look like we can get you on a flight on January 23 at 1 p.m. or February 8 at 3 p.m. Which would you prefer?”

“Neither. I need to be in Eugene on October 23. As in, the 23rd of October.”

“I’m sorry, we have nothing open on that date. You might try another carrier.”

“I suppose I’d better. Who has availability?”

“I’m afraid I have no way to know that. I have no way to look into their systems.”

“Who would know?”

“You can call them individually and ask. I’m sure you can find one.”

“Look, I don’t have time to call two dozen airlines. It’s important that I get to Eugene on the 23rd. There must be something you can do.”

“Well, it looks like maybe we could squeeze you in on October 26, if you don’t mind departing Washington Dulles at 5:35 a.m.”

“Good grief. All right, I suppose it will do.”

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t use e-mail to transmit records and other personal or secure documents. We keep our records on paper.”

“Great, thank you, I’ll be happy to make that booking for you. That’s one flight from Washington Dulles to Chicago O’Hare on October 26. Will there be anything else?”

“Wait, hold on. Chicago? I’m going to Eugene. It’s in Oregon.”

“Yes, sir. The Eugene portion of your trip will be handled by a western specialist. We’ll be glad to bring you back from Chicago to Washington, though.”

“You mean I have to call another carrier and go through all this again? Why don’t you just book the whole trip?”

“Sorry, sir, but you do need to make your own travel appointments. We would be happy to refer you to some qualified carriers. May I have your fax number, please? Before I can confirm the booking, we’ll need you to fill out your travel history and send that back to us.”

“Cynthia, I have filled out my travel history half a dozen times already this year. I’ve told six different airlines that I flew to Detroit twice and Houston once. Every time I fly, I answer the same battery of questions. At least a dozen airlines have my travel history. Why don’t you get it from them?”

“We have no way we could do that. We do not have access to other companies’ records, and our personnel have our own system for collecting travel history.”

“But 95 percent of these questions are always the same. Don’t you know that every time I fill out one of these duplicative forms I increase the chance of error? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hold my travel information centrally, so that everyone could see the same thing?”

“Sorry, sir, we have no capability for that, and we do need to have your travel history at least two weeks before you fly.”

“I don’t suppose I could fill out these forms online?”

“No, sir. The forms are only about 30 pages, though. Did you have that fax number, please?”

“I don’t have a fax machine. No one faxes anymore. Just e-mail me the forms.”

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t use e-mail to transmit records and other personal or secure documents. We keep our records on paper.”

“What century is this? You think paper is secure?”

“We do keep all your travel records on low-acid paper and in fire-retardant file drawers. When someone needs access to your records, we make a photocopy and put them in the mail. Or fax. How many items of luggage were you wanting to bring?”

“Two.”

“OK, good. We suggest you make luggage arrangements with Rapid Air Transport, though of course you’re free to use any luggage company you like.”

“Luggage company?”

“Yes, sir. You’ll need to arrange baggage transport. Would you like a phone number for Rapid, or would you prefer to find your own baggage company? I’m sure Rapid would be pleased to work with you. All you need to do is sign the Personal Travel Records Release form. Where would you like me to mail that?”

“Release form?”

“Yes, sir. You’ll need to sign and fax or mail that back to our Travel Records Department so that we can release your travel records to Rapid. Under the privacy rules, we’re not authorized to tell them when or where you’re flying without your written permission.”

“I suppose I couldn’t just e-mail you this permission, or grant it online?”

“No. Did you want a list of luggage carriers for your Chicago-Eugene leg?”

“Let me guess. Rapid doesn’t operate out West. I have to find a separate luggage company for the second leg.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And they’ll need more copies of all the same paperwork. And they’ll ask me all the same questions. And I’ll have to arrange to get my travel records to them by mail or fax. And I’ll repeat all this nonsense five or six separate times between here and Eugene, because the providers aren’t equipped to talk to each other and my records aren’t digitized and no two providers use the same system.”

“Yes, sir, that’s right! Did you have a preferred fuelist, or did you want a reference for a company to provide jet fuel for your flight?”

“Fuelist. That would be a fuel specialist, I suppose.”

“We can make a fuel arrangement for you, but please be advised that the fuelist’s charge will be billed separately and you will be responsible for it. We’ll need to know where to have that bill sent.

“May I have your flight-insurance information, please?”

“Millennium Travel Care, group number 068832, ID number RS-3390041B.”

“I’m sorry, sir, we’re not in Millennium Travel Care’s provider network.”

“You’re listed on their website. It says you accept Millennium.”

“We did until last week. If you like, you can pay out of pocket for your ticket.”

“How much would that be?”

“Yes, sir, I’ll be happy to get that price for you. That would be $17,885.70.”

“What? For a flight to Chicago? Does anyone actually pay that?”

“I’m sorry, sir, I wouldn’t know. I can tell you that different clients and insurers pay different rates. For individuals, the rate is $17,885.70.”

“Oh.”

“In a sane system, I would call an airline and it would give me a price for the whole trip, not just for one part of it.”

“Plus tax. And fuel.”

“Is anyone else cheaper?”

“Sir, again, I couldn’t tell you that. Carriers don’t have public rate sheets. Prices are privately negotiated, so there’s really no way you could comparison shop.”

“Oh.”

“Did you want to go ahead, then?”

“No. I DO NOT WANT TO GO AHEAD. I do not want to go anywhere! I want to jump off a cliff!

“This system is insane. It is fragmented to the point of incoherence. Record-keeping is stuck in the 1960s. Communication is stuck in the 1980s. None of the systems talks to the others. Everyone reinvents the wheel at every stage of the process. There is no pricing transparency.

“In a sane, modern system, I wouldn’t have to arrange each leg of my flight myself. I wouldn’t have to fax documents around, find and juggle multiple providers, fill out again and again what are essentially the same forms every time I use a provider.

“In a sane system, I would call an airline and it would give me a price for the whole trip, not just for one part of it. It would sell me a safe round-trip journey, instead a series of separate procedures. It would have back-office personnel using modern IT systems to coordinate my journey behind the scenes. The systems and personnel would talk to each other automatically. At the press of a button, once I entered a password, they would be able to look up my travel history. We’d do most of this stuff online.

“In fact, Cynthia, I would be able to arrange a whole trip with a single phone call!”

“Sir. Please. Calm down and be realistic. I’m sure the system can be frustrating, but consumers don’t understand flight plans and landing slots. Even if they did, there are thousands of separate providers involved in moving travelers around, and hundreds of airports, and millions of trips. Getting everyone to coordinate services and exchange information just isn’t realistic in a business as complicated as travel.”

“Yes. I suppose I’m dreaming.”

“Was there anything else I could help you with?”

“No.”

“My goal today was to provide you with outstanding service. Did I accomplish that?”

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