Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'll Sign Up For That

President Barry, fresh off his trip to the Middle East for....something, returned back home to the good ol' US of A and just a-ready and a-rarin' to go on his next little project: health care reform.

The term "health care reform" is a little misleading because really, the health care in this country is pretty much phenomenal. I'm not saying there aren't issues with insurance and billing and cost and everything that is not the care itself. The care is good stuff. And President Barry doesn't really want to reform "health care", rather he wants to change how people get health insurance coverage to the point that everyone is covered. A noble idea, but at what cost in the long run?

I don't really want to get totally off what my topic is about to be, but however you're going to form your opinion about President Barry's plan, just remember that the percentage of people in this country who are uninsured was roughly 15.3 percent in 2007 according to the US Census Bureau folks. (That figure and many others begin on page 19 of that fascinating and insomnia curing report.) That means that there are roughly 85 percent of people in this country who do have health insurance coverage. Which leaves me with two questions. One, do we have to mess with the 85 percent of people's coverage in order to help out those 15 percent of folks who need the help? And two, when in the hell is President Barry going to start paying attention to folks who are doing OK? It's like the only time he pays attention to the middle class folks who are going about their lives doing what they do is to figure out how to get more money out of their paycheck to give to other people who aren't in the same boat. But I digress.

Regardless as to how you feel about the proposal, perhaps we can agree on feelings toward a one US Representative John Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner, whose name looks like it's pronounced BONER, but he says it's pronounced BAY-ner, is clearly against President Barry's idea. And according to the daily folks over there at Daily Kos, Rep. Boehner made an interesting analogy on the PBS News Hour broadcast on June 11, 2009 where he compared a government run health care system (which is a broad brush definition of what President Barry has in mind) to other government run systems. His statement went like this:

"I'm opposed to a government option, period. Listen, if you like going to the DMV, and you think they do a great job, or if you like going to the post office and think it's the most efficient thing you have run into, then you will love the government-run health care system that they're proposing, because that's basically what you're going to have."

Now, when making statements like the one above, Boner seems a more appropriate pronunciation of his name than BAY-ner does. They seem to be ridiculous comparisons to use for someone who is trying to make his case against something. (And if you'd like to see him making this and other ridiculous statements the video of him doing so can be seen over at PBS via that link.)

I am not a fan of the DMV, but that's only if I approach the DMV experience as one would have approached the DMV experience 20 years ago. If I just show up down at the DMV one day and expect to get something done, forget it. I'll be in a line that goes from here a pier that goes all the way to China (otherwise, how else would the line get there?). And just being in that line does not guarantee me in any way, shape or form that I'm actually ever going to see the front of it.

But somewhere along the line, the DMV realized its own limitations and began offering appointments. What a novel idea! You can make an appointment to see someone down at the DMV and take care of business like that! When I first heard about the whole appointment notion, I was totally skeptical. I couldn't have been more skeptical. (If you can believe it, not only was I skeptical, I was sarcastic about it as well. I might have even mocked them. The horror!) My skepticism came in to play because I couldn't figure out how they were going to have enough appointment slots for all of the people that were always standing in line. Turns out, the DMV did not overestimate the intelligence of the general public, as it would seem that only a small fraction of people who need to do business with the DMV in that particular building actually take advantage of the appointment method. The rest, for some inexplicable reason, prefer to use the "I'm-at-a-bakery-and-I'll-just-take-a-number-and-wait" approach. Go figure.

And in general, after you've made your appointment with the DMV and you've showed up for it (on time is important, by the way. Don't expect anyone to just keep your slot open and waiting for you if you're not on time. You're time isn't more important than theirs!), it's been my experience that the folks that help you with whatever are remarkably competent and fairly pleasant (except for that one jackass of a woman who failed my 16-year old cousin taking her behind the wheel test to get her driver's license. You don't fail someone because of one infraction and because you have other things to do and you are in a hurry, you moron!). Now, I don't expect them to be jovial (they do work at the DMV), so you probably shouldn't expect that either. But I'll take pleasant over snotty any day.

Thus, I'm not quite sure what Rep. Boehner was referring to with that portion of his statement. I've also learned that in Ohio, the state which the man represents (it's right there in his title. "Representative". Not really a gray area.), they call it the BMV. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You'd think he'd at least throw BMV in there somehow. Then again, he's a politician. When was the last time that he ever had to deal with the DMV OR the BMV himself personally? Probably never. Actually, when was the last time he had to deal with his own car personally? I'm guessing it's about the same frequency as his trips to the BMV. Probably never. Ah, yes. A man of the people. Just not the little people. ::: sigh :::

Onto his equally snarky remarks about whether anyone thinks that going to the post office is the most efficient thing thing have run into. Is he unfamiliar with how our postal system works? First of all, Express Mail? The overnight dealio? Cheaper than FedEx. AND the USPS will deliver your overnight Express Mail item on Sunday. Does FedEx do that? Um, no. They don't. They barely have Saturday delivery. They'll deliver, but you have to go and pick it up in most cases. Oh, but FedEx Home Delivery will deliver your item on Saturdays. But they won't deliver it on Mondays. USPS? They'll get your Express Mail item there overnight and deliver it the day it gets there. Even if that day is a Monday, a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday.

I'm not trying to rip on FedEx or anything, but they do offer a comparable service to the USPS overnight Express Mail service. Thus, all of the comparing. But that's overnight delivery. What about regular mail, you ask? Well, since there isn't anything to compare regular mail delivery to, being as how this country only has one postal service, let me just point out a few things for Rep. Boehner there. For a mere forty-four cents, I can have a human being come to my front door and I can hand him a letter addressed to anyone in the country. For that same forty-four cents, that mail carrier will take that letter and do whatever it is that they do with it when they get it back to the post office. (I have no idea how the USPS works. I'm thinking it might be in the same category as how airplanes and electricity work. Magic.) From there, that letter, for which I paid forty four cents for this service, will be in the hands of another human being who will then essentially hand deliver my letter to the exact person to whom I addressed it! And they'll do that where? ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY! For less than a dollar, I can do that TWICE!

I don't even have to leave my walled off compound to do that! They come to me! I don't even have to ask them to come and pick up my mail! They show up every day (except Sundays) just to check to see if I have anything I'd like them to deliver somewhere for me! AND while they're at it, they give me a bunch of mail that other people wanted me to have! For forty four cents?! THAT is service!

So, Representative BonerBoehner, if you're telling me that a government run health care system is going to be like the service that I receive from the DMV, I'll give it a shot. If I know that I can get an appointment and when I show up for my appointment, if I know that what I need to have taken care of will be taken care of, as seems to be the case at the DMV (or BMV as it would be in your state, sir), I'll give that a shot. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

And Representative BonerBoehner? If you're also telling me that a government run health care system is going to be the how things are run at the post office, then where do I sign up? Cheap. Efficient. Convenient. Effective. Simplistic. Easy to understand. Minimal effort on my part. I'm there!

Realistically, do I think President Barry's way of doing things as far as health insurance coverage goes is going to be as efficient and effective as the USPS? Um, no. No, I don't. I think it will be far from the business model employed by the USPS. I think it could be a disaster. But it won't be a disaster for the reasons that Rep. John BonerBoehner tries to give us. No, it will be a disaster on its own merit. But don't worry! There are plenty of US Representatives like John Boehner who will be able to help the right decision be made! Feel better yet?

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1 comment:

Don Dogwholloper said...

Well, it's nice to know that you can schedule your illnesses. The rest of us don't have that ability. It must be because those damned biofeedback classes are so much more expenses for the graduate level courses like Illness Planning. That appointment setting capability will come in handy for you, as it has with the DMV.

First of all, while it is your blog, the ad hominem comments about Rep Boehner's name are pretty juvenile. While you are welcomed to be juvenile on your own blog, I can tell you that it really doesn't make your appraisals of the effectiveness of public health care to be any more reliable than your juvenile humor.

Mr. Boehner's depiction of what the future of health care will look like, since it will be like dealing with any government bureaucracy, make a lot more sense than your apologies for such entities as the BMV (or DMV in some states) and especially the same United States Postal Service that has taken weeks to deliver a 2-3 day package.

We as a nation, drawn by such feeble apologies as yours, seem to be forgetting that the scariest words in the world are, "We're from the government, and we're here to help."

You may sign up for it. I most certainly will not. I will be dragged into it kicking and screaming. I can tell you that you will win, and we will all be stuck with it. I will forever resent people like you, because unsnarling this ratfuck, once created, will take a very long time. All because you don't think that the BMV or the Post Office aren't really all that bad. Bureaucracies take on a vested interest in their own self-perpetuation.