IN THE REHAB ZONE

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Your Health Care-Is It Worth A Bucket Of Chicken?

Sue Lowden is running for the Senate seat in Nevada.  Leading in most polls, Ms. Lowden revealed, what she believes is an innovative idea to bring down the cost of Health Care.  Ms. Lowden feels that we should consider returning to a system of bartering for health care.

Ms. Lowden says, ” “You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say, ‘I’ll paint your house.’ I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people.”

As a health care provider, I agree, doctors ARE very sympathetic people. In fact, many offices, including my own, often make accommodations for patients who may not be able to fully afford good care.  But providing solutions for those with financial hardship is not what Ms. Lowden is proposing.

Ms. Lowden is proposing an alternative form of payment for health care.  Instead of working to improve an inefficient health care system, a system that serious people on all sides of the debate agree requires improvement, Ms. Lowden is proposing the American people pay their doctors with poultry! 

In the words of the great orator Popeye, “I’ve had all I can stand, and I can’t stands no more!”

Ms. Lowden’s proposal is so ridiculous, I feel compelled to introduce a bill myself.  I propose that doctors be allowed to open-hand slap any person who offers them a bucket of chicken as payment for their health care.

To be clear, this is not an endorsement for violence, this is an endorsement for common sense.  I am probably as much in the dark about the politics of this heated Health care debate as the next person.  I have my personal feelings, but like most Americans, I think the extremes on both sides are way out of bounds.  I don’t know what to make of the Obama Bill, but I’m certain it is neither the “Magic Pill” that will save America, nor is it our Armageddon.

Butthis much I do know;  If somebody doesn’t stand up against this chicken idea or “Catfish For Care” or “Mutton For Medicine”, hundreds of well intentioned people will be getting open- hand slaps in doctor’s offices all across this country!

There are several obvious reasons why this country no longer uses a barter system as a viable means of commerce:

1.  This barter system was common in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, right around the time doctors were using leeches and a shot of whiskey as regular courses of care. We have evolved as a people, and in 2010 are better than that.

2.  Bartering requires the person receiving the commodity, me, to want what  you have to barter.  No offense to the bucket of chicken, but I don’t want your chicken.  And lets not overlook the obvious, I don’t want the next 40 patients to enter my waiting room with their finest bucket of chicken (or catfish or whatever).

3.  Bartering almost used to work when the exchange was of equal value.  And that’s the real issue in this discussion.

How much is your health care worth?

-How much is Heart Surgery Worth?  A full picnic dinner with all of the trimmings?

-When your spouse wheels you into the doctors office, because your back pain won’t allow you to walk or stand up, are you saying that the value of the doctor who gets you back on your feet is worth a rack of ribs?  A plate of collard greens? A Nintendo wii?

I stand firm that the most valuable thing you have is your health.  I don’t even think it is debatable.  How important is that new car, or that job interview or even your Lotto ticket, if you were diagnosed with a terminal disease, or were having an apparent heart attack.

I don’t have all the answers to the health care debate, but I do know this.  We have completely lost our way as a society, when smart people, even leaders in our community think that ones health can be worth roughly as much as a meal at Applebees.

And worse than that, we still have this thing called Health Insurance which was designed so people could get good care, doctors could get paid to do good work and everyone could walk away happy in the end.

So here is all that really matters.  We have to agree:

-Our Health Care system needs to be improved, so fix it.

-We desperately need everyone involved in this discussion to get engaged and present good ideas.

-We don’t have time for insulting, crazy talk like “Bring your doctor a chicken” to pay for your important health care needs.

-We are better than this, and I have already given this politician and her craziness way too much ink…

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