THE BLOG
09/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gelt For Geezers: Obama's New Healthcare Plan

The natives are restless and royally PO'd. Remember when the term "town hall meeting" inspired a Norman Rockwell vision: peaceful, good-natured and respectful citizens politely addressing an assembly, raising their hands meekly, waiting their turn to be called? Those days have gone the way of, well, Norman Rockwell.

Nope. Now we see latter day Bund meetings packed with gun-totin' Jethro Bodines who were promised a box lunch and a bus ride. These summits amount to Jerry Springer on location with every crackpot and deluded yokel within a 50-mile radius hootin' and hollerin' about what, I haven't a clue. Not to mention you've got Rush and the Beck dude channeling Father Coughlin, inspiring Ma and Pa Kettle to display Hitler simulacra fashioned as Obama. It's funny how folks will engage in reductio ad Hitlerum, making clear the ubiquity and relevance of the Godwin's Law meme.

Two fools for Sister Sarah.

Former Alaska Governatrix Sarah Palin, who successfully exercised her own "public option" when she, in effect, opted out of her commitment and promise to Alaskans to serve out her elected term because of reasons yet to be deciphered, caused quite a stir recently when she made the following statement on her Facebook page. Entitled "Statement on the Current Health Care Debate" and dated Friday, August 7, 2009 at 1:26pm, Mrs. Palin noted the folllowing.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

And she has a point but is profoundly mistaken. See, while it would certainly be wrong and inconceivable for a citizen to be summoned before a death tribunal to plead his case in an attempt to dissuade a heartless "healther" (think bureaucrat à la birthers) from giving him the thumbs down and heave ho, there is nothing to prevent an incentivized family member from volunteering, say, an elderly relative for membership on the permanent DL, if you get my drift. Now hear me out.

Call it what you want: nationalized, socialized, Soviet, name it. Healthcare in this country will be taken over by the government. My government. And it's about time. Hooray! Pols are trying to assuage your fears vowing not to permit single payer, public option or dreaded Canadian healthcare models. After all, with the exception of Burton Cummings, what has Canada ever done right? But, folks, it's coming. Get used to it.

Now, under Obama's healthcare plan (notwithstanding the fact that no plan has been described in the least), I think we all know where this is leading. And I'm all for it. Look, I don't want to use the dreaded "E-word" or reference the "youth in Asia" concept, but if we're going to get serious about health care costs, we have to be realistic and address a few facts.

First, we don't live forever. Death, as I like to think of it for healthcare purposes, is the acceleration of the inevitable. Gramps, after having been told his options, may be easily persuaded to forgo and waive costly medical (and, frankly, futile) procedures which would do nothing more than tack on a few months or years and further drain the de minimis inheritance that his successors could and would enjoy were it not for his selfishness and stubborn adherence to the fanciful notion of longevity.

And then it hit me. When the President announced his wildly successful "Cash for Clunkers" program where car buyers receive a $3,500 or $4,500 discount from the car dealer when they trade in their old vehicle and purchase or lease a new one, I thought it was genius. Taking that idea a step further, it seems to me that the government could likewise provide a cash incentive or tax credit to family members who are able to persuade a senescent loved one to forgo unnecessary and expensive medical attention. Eureka! I've got it!

The epiphany.

I call it the "Gelt for Geezers" program. That's gelt, Yiddish for dinero, not to be confused with geld, meaning "to castrate," though, come to think of it, that may be something to look at down the road for some impecunious serial inseminators who clog up the system. But perhaps we'll address that later.

No, this is brilliant. And it should put to rest this Palin specter of the death panel. Why, that's just silly. Death panel?! Puh-leeze. Under "Gelt for Geezers," heavy-handed pressure for early exit won't come from some faceless, nameless, impersonal bureaucrat. On the contrary, an alter kocker won't have to appear before some farkakte hearing officer or death magistrate. Not on your, er, his life! No, instead Granny will enjoy the loving suasion of a relative who can best explicate that during these tough times new policies must be enjoyed.

Think of it as an intervention.

And "Gelt for Geezers" is a win-win for everyone. First, the government saves a fortune in not having to pay for useless, unnecessary and futile procedures like surgery and medication. What's the point? Needlessly delaying the inevitable. Health care in advanced years: It's the medical version of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Second, the family who successfully persuades Auntie Em to forgo all those unnecessary and expensive treatments and procedures picks up a fat tax credit. And you know how Republicans love tax breaks, cuts and credits. It makes you wonder why they're bellyaching about neo-healthcare. Hello!

Note, this centers around the geezer only. The Burt Mustins of the world. This week I heard ol' Pat Buchanan say that the last year of most coots' lives is the most expensive. There's a way around that, Pat. By the way, how old are you, again? Just kidding.

"Gelt for Geezers." Think about it.