Previously on Boomerology: 'Over half of you now favor legal weed. In Canada, they have that, plus same sex marriage and universal health insurance. You could play hockey one night, hit the pipe at the team bong bash and wake up married to your goalie but you're both covered!'
Actually, there's nothing sexual about this week's column but if there's one thing we Boomers have learned, it's that people pay more attention if they think sex is involved, so now that you're here, please read on.
Malpractice Makes Perfect: Health Care or Health Careless?
This just in from Iowa: Michele 'I-won't-rest-'til-Obama Care-is-overturned' Bachmann will be elected when Kobe wins 'Husband of the Year.' Nevertheless, the one point all Republicans agree on is that Mr. Obama must go and take his Barack-a-Doc Health Plan with him.
The medical debate is not only about who's covered but what's covered. Your liver transplant sounds important enough but what about that feel-good Rhinoplasty? Is your urologist 'in-network' or will you resort to the Do-it-Yourself Home Vasectomy Kit? What drugs should be included?
The Erectile Dysfunction Lobby plans to insert themselves in the debate... Congress just got the heads up on that one. Speaking of confused members, we take Celebrex to get the swelling down and Viagra to get it up again... what the... ?!
1) Should the government pay for experimental procedures?
I had a bad knee and a respected orthopod thought it might be fixed by injecting me with a potion of ROOSTER SPERM not yet approved by the FDA but used in France on broken down race horses.
Rooster sperm didn't work. My knee still hurts and I get aroused every time I drive by KFC.
Answer: Insurers determine what's covered so read the fine print. The NIH grants research money for experiments and the pharmaceutical companies spend oodles for breakthroughs -- you'll pay big-time later for those that get FDA approval.
2) Can we still sue for malpractice?
I had a kidney operation the specialist said would be non-invasive. He lied. The attack on Fallujah was non-invasive compared to this.
Dr. Pinocchio said I should be able to have sex in a week. I don't know what kind of sex he has, but it could best be described as 'ordinary'... maybe even 'unaccompanied.'
Answer: Nothing in the Obama plan indemnifies practitioners but established limitations on 'pain and suffering' awards are upheld.
3) How much should we pay for doctor stuff?
Comparisons are often made with that Canadian system which is generally good for the patient, not so much for the doctor. My Dad is a physician in Toronto, where he specializes in Socialized Medicine for Preposterously Low Rates. Canadian doctors complain they have to do a volume business and see 3000 patients a day to afford the same golf courses their American counterparts are playing by noon. Only a faith healer could make money at these prices; a Benny Hinny-style group placebo featuring the laying of hands on your wallet.
Get in the '8 Diseases or Less' line because that waiting room will be crowded.
Dad's passion for medicine dates back to his modest hometown in the far north of Canada in an era when there were no medical specialists, only General Practitioners and they made HOUSE CALLS.
To explain that terminology, a 'house call' is when a doctor gets in his car -- with no driver and no assistant -- and carries his own bag to the home of the suffering individual and actually treats him at his place of residence! Yes, sounds crazy, but this type of doctor not only knew where these patients lived, HE KNEW THEM BY NAME!!! It's a remarkable custom, quaint and gone the way of the Dodo bird and the Ryan brothers' playoff hopes.
(Note: Dad did this in weather 20 degrees colder than Ted Williams' head; in a town where a temperature of 40 meant 30 in the morning and 10 at night. He was -- and remains -- a fine doctor who's performed over 1000 operations and never cut himself once.)
Answer: Insurers establish rates for their network docs and will often pay that amount toward non-network billings.
4) Will federal mandates discourage people from entering the medical profession?
Not if you're interested for the right reasons. My mom was a nurse and my sister is a chiropractor but my brother was the one most interested in medicine. He took drugs for about four years. Not really. We thought he was on drugs; imagine our relief when we found out he was just stupid! (Also not really.)
In the family tradition, I attended medical school but I wimped out and fainted. Often. Some people can't stand blood; I got woozy at the sight of chapped lips. The study of medicine was to me, in a word, disgusting... a senseless waste of human lunch. Sick people made me sick.
When I learned there was no specialty for tennis elbow, I fainted for the third time and told my father I had to drop out. Then he fainted.
The worst fainting happened at the birth of my first son with my first ex-wife, with whom I had taken natural childbirth classes in which the husband stands in front with a first baseman's mitt to catch the baby.
Lesson One: you're a bad dad if you miss and the baby hits the wall.
When the natural childbirth moment came, I did what came naturally, I fainted. She went into labor, I went into a coma.
This came as no surprise to my wife; I had also fainted during conception.
Bottom line: Let us continue evolving a fair system that covers as many citizens as possible -- it's simply the right thing to do. But please keep our doctors happy because you don't want a cranky one handling your essentials.