Saturday, December 5, 2009

Healthy Reform

All this arguing about healthcare reform is raising my blood pressure. (And who's going to pay for that?)

Not that I don't believe our healthcare system needs some reforming, but I think the wrong people are making the decision. Sure, government officials make some fabulous decisions. (Watergate and chummy relationships with White House and Congressional interns, to name just a couple.) But the fact is, no one's asked me--or you--for our ideas about healthcare.

First off, I think we need to banish those paper gowns. I would gladly take a tax increase in order to choose my exam room attire from a closet full of silk robes in multiple colors and sizes. Perhaps we wouldn't feel like floral paper-wrapped pieces of beef sitting on the exam table. And we'd be certain which way the damn thing is supposed to open. (From the front, right? No, the back! Well, hell, neither way is likely to lead to anything good.)

Next, we need to abolish the freaking doctor's office scale. Why bother, when it's always five pounds too heavy anyway? And if the office nurse must have some way to embarrass us, just let her read aloud the reason for our visit when she calls our name in the waiting room. I would rather choose hearing her announce my name and then adding, "who is here today because she is coughing up gobs of green phlegm" over stepping on the office scale. In fact, I would rather cough up gobs of green phlegm--for weeks--than step on that scale.

I'm thinking for every 15-minute interval we have to wait for our medical appointment, we should be able to bill the office back for our lost work time--at our own salary rate. That, right there, might take care of that pesky copay.

And certainly we'd save the healthcare industry loads of time and money, too, if we did away with all the paperwork and personal questions. I'm guessing the doctor can just safely assume most of us enjoy a daily diet of Big Macs and Twinkies, use our home treadmills to hang laundry, and only floss the morning of our dental appointments.

Let's also forget, shall we, anesthesia and all its related risks and monumental costs. Before any surgical procedures, just ply us with pitchers of margaritas.

And all the money we've saved with these cost-cutting steps? Let's plug it into research for less humiliatingly invasive ways to test for "women's" cancer and bad prostates. I'll bet the doctors would appreciate that as much as the patients. At least the non-sadistic ones.

It's not likely, however, that my suggestions or yours, will be heard. We're merely the healthcare system consumers, not the deciders. What do we know, really, about healthcare reform? Just leave the trivial day-to-day decisions of our lives up to us.

And so tonight, while I'm sitting here in a silk robe, I'm thinking Nutty Bars over Twinkies. And I'm not going anywhere near a doctor's scale.

How about you?

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