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The $640 Popsicle

The $640 Popsicle

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Published by Helen Winslow Black
MOTHER'S DAY OUT, Vol. 1 No. 3 October 31, 2009
Halloween treat: A mischievous foray into Current Events by a decidedly non-political writer (I've got much bigger fish to fry! Like Literature, and Art!). As Sammy Davis Jr. would say: "The devil made me do it!"
In memory of Norman Cousins, editor-in-chief of The Saturday Review, who proved to me (if not the medical community) many years ago that laughter really IS the best medicine.
MOTHER'S DAY OUT, Vol. 1 No. 3 October 31, 2009
Halloween treat: A mischievous foray into Current Events by a decidedly non-political writer (I've got much bigger fish to fry! Like Literature, and Art!). As Sammy Davis Jr. would say: "The devil made me do it!"
In memory of Norman Cousins, editor-in-chief of The Saturday Review, who proved to me (if not the medical community) many years ago that laughter really IS the best medicine.

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Published by: Helen Winslow Black on Nov 01, 2009
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07/22/2011

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Sometimes the best way to deal with something is through humor. So in the interest of keepingmy blood pressure way, way down, MOTHER’S DAY OUT proudly presents herewith,heretofore, and hereunder, a non-partisan/bi-partisan/post-partisan (did I cover all the bases?)bill for your consideration. It’s already made it through her House, so let’s present it to theSenate—those guys really look like they could use a good laugh right now!
 Best part: it’s onlyTHREE pages. (Old Mother knows you have the attention span of a gnat.)
 
The $640 Popsicle
or
 ,
My (Medical Insurance) World and Welcome To It!
 
Old Mother’sRadical Blueprint for Health Care Reform
 
By Helen Black
October 31, 2009
 
At our house, insurance coverage consists of:1)
 
essentially, catastrophic care ($5,000 deductible),
2)
 
the privilege of a twenty dollar co-pay whenever we visit the doctor (rarely*),
and 
 3)
 
the implication that we are getting a special discount on services above andbeyond that (supposed to make us feel better about the whole deal & does if we don’t think too hard, which is easiest when the martini bucket is close athand).
* because the kidlets are super-skinny and otherwise physically and psychologically sound, and we strive toprovide them with healthful habits they will carry through their teenage years, during which they will not engage inrisky behaviors that threaten life and limb (their own or others) because they are as aforesaid psychologicallysound, and will therefore survive into adulthood, during which they will be energetic and productive members ofsociety because they are, as aforesaid, physically sound, and will continue to live out the good health habitstattooed on their foreheads by Old Mother and Old Father and so continue to be no burden on society health-spending-wise (the lion’s share of healthcare spending being on obesity-related illnesses), insofar and inasmuchand in point of fact being the actual individuals who will
create 
the value in the marketplace which will then betaxed to provide health spending for
other 
members of society who are not so favored and so is there a tax creditfor this yet please?
For all of the above Old Father and I pay about the equivalent of the annual GDP of asmall, newly-minted Balkan republic. This is in pre-tax dollars, because we are self-employed. It all works fine, if as I said you’re not thinking too hard about it, UNTILsomebody has to go to the emergency room, because they are bleeding from an openwound and it’s a Sunday.This brings us to:
THE EMERGENCY ROOM.
 Ah, the Emergency Room. Why is it whenever I walk into the Emergency Room I feellike there are huge arrows and flashing lights over my head spelling out GOLDENGOOSE?
(I was going to title this little ditty the $350 popsicle, because until my recent triple-header I hadn’t been to theemergency room since 2006. I’m here to tell you that it’s now the $640 popsicle. And by the time you read this, itwill probably be the $656 popsicle.)
Suffice it to say that a single visit to the Emergency Room can blow a big, wide hole inthat personal household TARP plan. Yes, that sucking sound you hear is the dread musicof our wallet being sucked into the black hole of deficit spending. In a quaint attempt tostem the tide I have strategically posted around the house signs which read, to wit,heretofore, and hereunder:
 
 
NO ACCIDENTS OR ILLNESS AFTER 9 P.M. ON WEEKDAYS
(this is when the urgent-care place closes, which only charges the regular co-pay)
OR ON SUNDAYS WHATSOEVER
(when absolutely nothing is open)
Despite this practice of defensive medicine (I suggest placement in kitchen, bathrooms,garage, and workshop), accidents
will
happen and there will inevitably be a trip to theemergency room, for example, ibid, nota bene, gaudeamus igitur, heretofore andhereunder, when:a barefoot child steps on the partially-concealed tine of a rake, resulting in a neat littlepuncture wound; a pre-verbal toddler runs a high fever and won’t eat or drink; someonefalls backward though a picture window and cuts his scalp just enough that you know astitch (or staple) will be required; a teenager, playing a toddler’s favorite game called“Swirly,” wherein he swings him around by the hands, accidentally dislocates toddler’selbow; a child inserts a small bead into her ear; or jokingly demonstrates a baseball pitchIN THE KITCHEN, which even though it is done with a spongy nerf-type ball triggers aPavlovian catching response in yet another child who comes down over and onto thecounter in such a way as to catch an art glass bowl cutting his hand just enough that youknow a stitch will be required.
Disclaimer: I am NOT SAYING that any of these things have actually and definitively occurred in my OWN house.Maybe they happened in someone else’s house. Some of them probably did. But I’m not telling which. My lipsare sealed. I will say, however, that that was my FAVORITE art glass bowl and because of its colors really lookednice with pears in it, pears that were home-grown without the use of chemical pesticides (is there a tax credit forthat please?).
What do you do?You go to the
Emergency Room
and you get coded six ways till Sunday!Coded for emergency room visit, office visit, accident treatment, surgery
 
(if humancontact is required), and supplies (if they give you so much as a kleenex).And that’s even before they start treating the
 patient 
! JUST kidding. But seriously, eachcode is worth $150 at least (at this writing), except for the supplies, which are codedindividually and are $54 each, unless they’re made of metal, in which case they are $154a piece. If the doctor has to leave the room and come back, they get to code it twice.And if they need x-rays, many are taken, the extras going into a storage vault as requiredby the terms of their contract for liability insurance.

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Helen Winslow Black added this note
Hope the illustration comes through in the thumbnail! Also increased type to now-standard 14 pt. For them that's wondering, the affectionate titles Old Mother and Old Father come from Robert Paul Smith's "How to Grow Up in One Piece," which, along with his classic "Where did you go? Out. What did you do? Nothing." was on occasion read aloud at the dinner table by OUR Old Father :)
Helen Winslow Black added this note
You're going to have to click on this doc to see the picture of Old Mother INJECTING a little humor into the health care situation...There is a teeny problem with the thumbnail not changing when you upload a doc revision, but support says they know of this bug and are working on it!
Helen Winslow Black added this note
Here's your Friday Funny! A rerun of my Halloween Treat last year (plz read doc descrip!).p.s. I have NO idea why it's coming out in italic, with all apostrophes missing---I didn't do that!!
Helen Winslow Black added this note
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING uninsured (apologies to Milan Kundera!)
Jed Diamond added this note
Helen, I think the answer is for everyone to turn 65 and get Medicare as soon as they are born.
Sal Page added this note
Helen, I love the way you write. There is no doubt you love and embrace life no matter what is thrown at you. Great read.
Brian W. Porter added this note
Ah, yes. The twenty dollar a month per bill that allows one to get by, until there are ten or so bills. I'm glad kiddo's grown.
Irma added this note
good one

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