From the desk of author Michael Solomon

Michael Solomon was a 15-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and served  in its drug enforcement division, receiving well over a dozen awards for his excellent service
Date: February 22, 2008   Vol. 3 2- Issue 5

Don't Card Me Bro.

The year is 2011.

It is early in the evening, the first Tuesday in March, as John Masterson (Pseudonym), a 29- year old, single U.S. citizen, walks into the emergency room of the downtown hospital in Any City, USA. He was experiencing a sharp severe pain in his lower right abdomen and was running a fever. It would soon be obvious, through routine tests, John's problem was his appendix and its removal was warranted. The operation would be simple, requiring a maximum stay of two days. He will be treated in the emergency room.

The routine paper work, which is required of the admission clerk, includes the scanning of John's government issued medical insurance card into the hospital's computer, which is linked to the data base at the offices of the Health and Welfare Administration where his medical records are on file.

The medical insurance police who were there to issue a summons or arrest anyone arriving at the hospital without the proper insurance identification card would not be required to complete their assigned task. They could go back to their coffee and doughnuts. John's papers seemed to be in order.

Because of John's extremely high white blood count and his severe pain and discomfort, it was determined he should be taken to the operating room immediately.

Two and one-half hours later (45 minutes for the new laparoscopic laser surgery and an hour and forty-five minutes in the recovery room), he was taken to his semi-private room where he would be properly cared for, bathed and fed for the next 48-hours. John was discharged on schedule. The total cost of his procedure and hospital stay was $12,476.

At the same time John was being treated at the Any City hospital, the Ski-Patrol in Vail, Colorado was escorting unconscious Mary Johnson (Pseudonym), 25-years old down the mountain to an awaiting ambulance. She had fought with a tree on the bunny slope and lost, which left her with a head injury. Once in the ambulance, she was whisked away to the emergency room of the newly opened government trauma center; a stark white building containing the latest sophisticated medical equipment available.

The total cost to build and equip the center was $942 million. It was the most highly technologically advanced trauma center in the U.S. Its annual operating budget is $67 million. It is the first of the 102 new government hospitals and trauma centers that are being built in America, all with taxpayer's dollars.

After Mary's admission, which required a three-day stay, she was sent home for a few days of bed rest. It was determined, after a battery of tests which included a series of X-rays, an MRI, Cat Scan, and a complete neurological and orthopedic work-up with two specialists, that she had suffered a minor concussion and just needed some rest. Mary's government issued insurance would cover all her medical expenses, which including her transportation to the hospital in the government operated ambulance, totaled $17,452.

It seems that government run medical care really does work or does it?

A year later, John Masterson (the real John Masterson), needed to have his appendix removed. The hospital quickly scanned his universal government issued insurance card and determined that it was impossible for it to be an appendicitis attack since his appendix was removed a year earlier at the Any City hospital, two-thousand miles away.

While the real John Masterson's family was arguing with the government worker, who was responsible for ascertaining all medical records of patients seeking medical assistance, that their records were wrong, time was passing. After six-hours, John's appendix ruptured, he went into shock, sepsis set in and despite heroic efforts, he died three-days later.

The real Mary Johnson's doctor prescribed an MRI to discover if the headaches she was experiencing were more than stress. When she arrived at the outpatient center, three days later for her test, her headache was just a memory. She was not upset when the clerk informed her that they would have to reschedule her test for five-months, because she just had an MRI seven-months prior. She was not entitled to another one this soon.

"The rules are, you are entitled to only one per year," the clerk explained. Her arguing that she did not have an MRI and was never in Vail in her life did not mean anything. However, with the waiting room overflowing and her headache gone, Mary ended her dispute and left. By the time she returned for her MRI, five months later, the brain tumor in the middle of her head was the size of a walnut.

These scenarios may sound a little extreme. However, socialized or government run health care may open up a new industry. It seems because people are being fined and may be arrested for not subscribing to the new government medical insurance program, forgers are counterfeiting insurance cards. They can be purchased for $100 to $500 depending on the quality of the forger's artistic abilities.

Not a bad deal, if it allows you to receive all the same benefits as the real thing. Why not! If a phony ID gets you a drink at a bar, why not an appendectomy.

And, that is my opinion.

Michael Solomon

Author of 'Where Did My America Go?"


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