Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Gate Keeper: A Tale of Hope, Change and Unintended Consequences

A Tragi-comedy by Mike Vanderboegh in two scenes, playing soon at a congressional office near you.

(Author's Note: My thanks to Big Mike Barlow for suggesting the idea.)

Scene the First
13 December 2012

Chuck fumbled with the keys, dropped them, snatched them up and, finally, got the door open. The hospice nurse, alerted by the noise, was already up and standing in the middle of the front room. One look at her careworn face told the story.

"I'm sorry Mr. Daniels," she said anyway. "She's gone."

Chuck dropped his keys on the table as he always did, cognizant only of the thought that nothing would ever be the same again.

Theresa was dead, then. Killed by health care rationing.

They had known this was the way it was going to be. Theresa had even stood in the town meeting, oh, how long ago, and told the congressman that if the Health Care Bill passed as written that it would come to this. They never thought it would be her. But she had been right. Government health care killed her. Too late diagnosed. Finally treated, too little, too late. And then, at the last, the "gate keepers" refused to pay for an experimental treatment that had shown great promise. Too "unproven," they said.

Now she was gone.

What was there left to say?

Maybe, just maybe, there was one thing.

Scene the Second
21 December 2012

The congressman was alone as he finished cleaning out the desk drawers in his local office. He'd laid off the rest of his staff, and even his secretary and part-time bed partner had gone, seeking other employment.

He had been defeated last month, by the revulsion and backlash created by the government-run health care system he had worked all his life to pass. Well, there was one thing he could hold onto. Like every other entitlement program ever made into law, they'd never repeal this one. Health care for all, the crown jewel of his legislative record, would never be repealed. The country was stuck with it now, and there was damn all his opponents could do about it.

The congressmen smiled, if bitterly. It was cold comfort for losing all those perks he had for so many years. But it was comfort.

The door to his office opened, and suddenly a man stood there. What the hell? I know I locked the front door.

"Who the hell are you?" the congressman demanded.

The man looked inoffensive enough. He had a beaten air about him. A sadness.

"I'm Theresa's husband."

"Who's Teresa?" The congressman balked, wondering if this was a jealous husband. He never could remember names.

"Not Teresa, The-resa," the man corrected.

"OK, who is she?"

"Just a woman you killed."

"What the hell are you talking about? I never killed anybody. Who the hell are YOU?"

Chuck Daniels smiled then, and it was a smile that frightened the congressman to his core.

"Why, don't you know? I'm your gate keeper."

"Gate keeper? What the he . . ." His voice stopped, as he involuntarily sucked in air at the sight of the pistol.

Where had that come from? the congressman wondered dully. Looking at his death, he could think of nothing to say.

"And congressman?"

The congressman just looked at him.

"Application denied."

The shot seemed impossibly loud, even in the palatial room.

Postscript: This little drama is currently being scripted by Nancy Pelosi and her pals in the Imperial City of DC. The dramatic license taken for its future possible unintended consequences is my own. Feel free to spread this as far and wide as you like. Just do it in its entirety, unedited, with the information below. Oh, and be sure to send one copy to your congresscritter. It is only fiction, after all. Certainly nothing could ever happen like this. You think?

Mike Vanderboegh
The alleged leader of a merry band of Three Pecenters
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126


erniesjourney said...

That was a great short story - get the points home for sure!!

HermitJim said...

What an excellent story! Makes the point in a very plain and simple way that all can understand!

Well done...

Jimmy the Screwdriver said...

Hey, man.

That's sounds a lot like a threat. I understand fiction and all, but I'd be careful. With all the snitching going on, you don't want the guys in black knocking down your door.

Anonymous said...

I like this blog and hate to piss in your corn flakes but health care is already rationed to those who have the money to afford it. Even WITH insurance.
I broke my foot several years back. A bad break that required surgery to fix. Even with insurance the ER gave me script for pain killers, an ace bandage and a referral to a surgeon. The surgeon required my deductible to be paid up front. (Yeah for Master Card.) Without insurance and the ability to pay the deductible I would be a CRIPPLE for life.
I think the current plan sucks but not because it will "ration" health care any more than what is in reality happening now. I just do not think it does enough to address the problems that we have. There is, for example, a lack of transprancy on the doctors fees. I recently had a doctor freeze off a mole while I was in for a check up. The insurance company classified it as a "surgical procedure" and charged it off to me as my surgical deductible to the tune (wait for it) $179. I can buy a can of crap at Wally World for $14 that will do what the doctor did and freeze lolly pops with what is left over. My last PCP did this for FREE as a part of regular office visits. You can bet your booty that if I had known it was going to cost $179 I would have said "No thanks!"
This is not the first time that an insurance company has pulled this switcheroo on me or denighed denighed denighed a claim even after I had "pre approval". The most aggregious was when my daughter broke her back to the tune of $200,000 medical bills. That one took the threat of a lawsuit. She will NEVER be eligible for any kind of individual insurance that does not classify her back as a pre existing condition.
If you do not have insurance through your employer the costs are just unnaffordable for anything except high deductible major medical. (I know because I just had to purchase 3 months of bridge insurance when hubby changed jobs.)
The insurance/medical/drug industry just GOUGE you every chance they get. They love to prescribe some kind of expensive frigging drug you have to take every goddam day of your life and then check your liver every 3 months to make sure the drugs haven't crapped it out. The same doctors that happily schedule you for a visit to get your liver tested and your prescripton refilled send you to the emergency room every time you call them because you are really ill of have a small medical problem that would take less than 5 minutes of their time and a simple (as in take this for one or two weeks and you are cured)prescription.
Of course the current "plan" fixes NONE of that and never will when you have the insurance/drug/medical industry at the table "helping" to write the plan. How about we debate that? This ain't no "liberal conspiracy" it is just another example of our government being hijacked by corparate lobbies.
Oh yeah, Medicaire. Socialized medicine. I guess you don't want granny to have that either. Somebody might decide that extending her life for 2 weeks as a vegetable on a respirator for a cool quarter of a million dollars isn't cost effective.
I get the whole Libertarian "get the government out of my life" thing but I think you took the bait on this one.

shiloh1862 said...

Sorry Anon, to hear your story. But alas, I disagree. The problem with Medical care is Gov't imvolvement. Unless, you are pretty dang old, you have not lived without Gov't intervention in the medical care industry.

Anonymous said...

I thought this site was for prepping?

Too bad that ignorant, ill informed politics is even infecting prepping information.

There are plenty of right-wing websites, why not post this garbage there?

A person can easily go to the congressional and senatorial websites to read the REAL proposed laws, and separate truth from fiction.

Virtually nobody does that, it's more satisfying to believe whatever lies and rumors reinforce an uninformed persons belief system.

Mycroftxxx said...

Ignorant Survivalist Troll is Ignorant.

Troll who murdered insurance company CEO's would be heroic.