To Boldly Go Where No Plan Has Gone Before

09/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Health...the final frontier..."

Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Chekhov and an anonymous security guard have beamed down to a planet's surface. Lest there be any confusion, these are the characters from the 1960's television part of the 23rd century.

Kirk: Mr. Spock! What's happened to the security guard?

Mr. Spock: Captain, it would appear he has been turned into a cube.

Kirk: Bones! Can you do anything for him?

Bones examines the cube.

Bones: He's uninsured, Jim.

Kirk: Treat him anyway!

Bones: Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor - not an insurance claims adjuster!

Kirk: Recommendation, Mr. Spock?

Spock: We must take the cube to a new system.

Kirk: System? What system? The Rigel system? The Alpha Centauri system?

Spock: No, captain. The single-payer system.

Bones: Blast it, Spock! That's the Klingon system! Even the Klingons don't like it! Do you want this cube to have to wait on a really long line for substandard service?

Spock: On the contrary, doctor, the Klingons are happy with their system, have minimal wait times and keep their costs down. They also make really good bacon -

Kirk: Bones, Spock! I want answers! What should I do? Tell me!

Spock: Captain, although I appreciate your unwillingness to lead on this issue, you are the one who must decide whether to extend health benefits to everyone on the Enterprise.

Kirk: I come from Earth, which, in the 23rd century, is ruled by the U.S. Therefore, Earth is the only planet in the universe that doesn't have universal health care. Anyway, true health comes from fostering competition, say, between the Gorn and the Salt Monster.

Bones waves his medical scanner over Kirk.

Kirk: What are you charging for that scan?

Bones: Don't worry. For you, only $3,000.

Spock: What is your diagnosis, doctor?

Bones: Jim, you're under the influence of something.

Kirk: Of what?

Bones: I don't know. It says you're under the influence of something that spends 30% of its total national expenditure on overhead, charges its customers for its own TV commercials and also for its own profits.

Kirk: What am I under the influence of? Mind control? An illusion? Those weird little kids who said "Study study study or bonk bonk bonk on the head?"

Spock: No, captain. It's the insurance companies.

Chekhov: I am familiar with insurance. It was inwented in Russia.

Kirk: No, it wasn't! And the correct pronunciation is "invented," not "inwented."

Chekhov: (Under his breath) Ahh, go back to your mother's wagina.

Bones: Spock! Do a mind meld with Jim. If anyone can get him out from under the influence of the insurance companies, it's you. You're almost as logical as New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, when he appeared on Morning Joe to discuss health care.

Spock: Say what?

Bones: Just click on the link.

Spock: I can do that. But I can't do a mind meld.

Bones: Why not?

Kirk: Yeah, why not?

Spock: (To Kirk) Because you're not covered for mind meld.

Kirk: Spock! What are you saying?

Bones: Damn it, you're a Vulcan!

Chekhov: Wrong. He is half Wulcan, half insurance agent.

Spock: Now, if you'd like to be covered I have some papers for you to sign.

Kirk: Forget it, Spock.

Bones: I'd rather be a cube.

Spock: Live long and prosper. If you can afford it.