This Ain’t Rocket Science ...
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(04/03/2010) Reportage and analysis (without too much bias): Bil. Alvernaz (email@example.com)
Lost Somewhere in #!@*&! Health Care
Washington, DC - And, now we take you “live & direct” to the first “working model” of just how the new Health Care “reformation” thing-deal is actually going to work as it seems that the effects (or “affects”) of the Personalization Implementation Plan Expeditiousness (known as PIPE) have already been quickly, quietly, and not-without-impact implemented under the cover of darkness by most health care providers who claim they are not “making a buck” by doing this all so fast without having any specifics, which, coincidentally (or somehow, some way otherwise) coincided with 30 to 70 percent price increases (that dovetailed with the “jacked-up” doctor/services fees and “new & improved,” not to mention astro-frickin-nominal health care insurance premiums) that simultaneously all got implemented.
Our Towne Square America Reportage begins as a patient enters the packed, beyond overcrowded waiting room of USA Central Health Associates Facility (which is all part of OHC@RE.MESS) in the early morning hours.
This patient is Emma America who allowed Towne Square America to “follow along” after she was summarily summoned by OHC@RE.MESS to appear for no apparent reason. We put a web cam that had a microphone within the baseball cap she wore the entire visit.
Emma first had to park five blocks away from the facility because there was no parking anywhere near it. Late she would discover that she got a parking ticket because USA Central Health Associates (who also controls all parking and subsequent “revenue generating” citations) didn’t like the way she parallel parked - apparently she parked too close to the curb!
So Emma then trekked those five city blocks which were all uphill, which later she felt was just a “warm up” for what awaited her! After entering the “hard to push” revolving front door, then working her way through the “packed to the rafters,” stifling hot waiting room, Emma made her way to the tiny, disorganized “front desk” that was encased in bullet proof glass where you had to talk through tiny holes many of which seemed to be packed with dirt and soot.
“What can I do fer ya?” asked the burly woman behind the desk without even so much as looking away from her computer where she apparently seemed to be winning a game of Solitaire.
Emma held up an official looking letter and politely said, “This came registered mail and it said I was ordered to appear here ... but I don’t ...”
Still without looking away from the computer, the woman with bushy, untrimmed eyebrows held up a hand like a traffic cop halting traffic and said, “And, you don’t know the reason why you need to come here, right?”
Nodding her head “yes,” Emma said, “I’m perfectly fine so I don’t really need to be here at all. You should be helping people who are sick.”
The woman, who now it became obvious was an extremely oversized and manly-looking (or it could have been a man who had “gone bad” from too much sitting and snacking), stood up, put both palms facing outward on the counter, just behind the dirty glass and said, “Yea, well, you should let us professionals decide who needs taking care of, missy! You’re here because we need to give you a physical. Everyone has to have a physical to get started so we have a baseline for your health and well being. Oh, and here is your “OHC@RE.MESS” card. That stands for ‘Open Health Care At Referred Expense.’ We added the dot mess to the name so our name is also our email address, web site, and phone number, all in one handy-dandy name!” She forced a polite smile and put the shiny, glimmering card in the pass-through box and pulled a level which caused the card to pop out right up into the air. Emma showed cat-like reflexes when she snagged the card in midair.
“Good catch,” said the woman behind the counter who made a note of the impressive catch in Emma’s electronic file!
The woman continued with, “This card is all you need. No more insurance forms. Oh, and, well, you’ll get the chip implanted in a little bit. Now go sit down and wait yer turn. We’ll call you when we’re ready fer ya.”
“What chip?” Asked Emma as she looked at the OHC@RE.MESS card. The woman ignored Emma and motioned for the next person to move forward in what was now an extremely long line.
Emma stepped aside and examined the card. Sure enough, if you replaced the “@” with the letter “a” then you definitely had an email address, a internet address (because of the new “,mess” designation which was restricted to government use), and a phone number, once you figured out that the letters translated to 642-273-6377. She figured it had to be yet one more marketing weasel tactic the FIG (Federal Imperial Government as it was now known) had come up with. She put the OHC@RE.MESS card in her pocket as she looked for a place to sit in the more than depressing waiting room. (the OHC@RE.MESS card is shown to the right)
Emma scanned the waiting room to find a place to sit. She spotted a dilapidated metal folding chair and headed towards it. Just as Emma got to the chair, a homeless looking man cut in front of her, almost knocking her down, while looking at her like she is the one in his way. He sat defiantly in the chair with his arms folded and smiled at Emma like he just won an Olympic track and field race!
Finally, Emma sat down on the floor, leaning against the wall. She then heard over an ear-shattering, blaring loudspeaker system, “Would the woman sitting on the floor please not do that. Only those who are wounded and still waiting are allowed to take up space on the floor. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!”
Everyone looks around at each other and then Emma takes up a spot over by the entry doors. Again, loudspeakers blare out in over modulated tones, “Ma’am, you can’t stand by the doorway, because the new health care laws strictly forbid being close enough to a revolving door through which you might leave. For you see, it is now against the law to leave without first participating in our services.”
Again, everyone looks at each other while Emma “takes up a spot” standing in the middle of the room. As she waits to hear if that is okay, an elderly woman, with a note pinned to her blouse with some sort of instructions on it, slumps over in her chair near Emma and falls to the floor. Emma stoops down to assist the woman when the loudspeaker immediately blares, “DO NOT TOUCH THAT WOMAN!” Emma bounces up and looks to the front desk area in disbelief. Suddenly, two disorderly orderlies appear from out of nowhere. Each one grabs an ankle of the woman and they drag her off through swinging double doors that apparently lead to somewhere for “urgent care.” The loudspeaker blares once again, this time obviously directed at Emma, “PLEASE SIT DOWN IN THAT NOW EMPTY CHAIR!” Not realizing the switch is still on for the loudspeaker, everyone now hears a slightly softer tone of voice saying, “Geeze, do we have to do everything for these people?” There is a loud clicking, popping sound as the switch is obviously and quickly turned to the off position.
SIX HOURS LATER as Emma is about to nod off, she hears, “America? Is there an America here?”
Emma stands and the tiniest of admitting nurses, in an extremely wrinkled uniform, notices her and curls her index finger motioning for Emma to come with her. It is at this point that Emma notices what looks like another waiting room just on the other side of where she has spent what seems like an eternity waiting. Only that waiting room has hardly anyone in it and as someone walks up to the front desk, that person is immediately taken in.
Emma points to the other waiting room and asks the admitting nurse, “Is that another waiting room?”
In a squeaky little voice, the admitting nurse says, “Oh, I wouldn’t worry your purdy little head about that. That’s the area of this facility reserved for elected officials.” With that she turns and walks through the swinging double doors, saying, without looking back, “Come on, honey, we ain’t got all day.”
Emma then winds her way down various and assorted hallways, after being forced into a flimsy paper “gown” that had a tight, scratchy neck collar. Before they go any further, Emma asked the nurse, “Why is this collar so tight and how come it is so itchy?”
The nurse raised her eyebrows, smiled and said, “Oh, that’s a special fabric for trim. Many people say it feels a little like socialist satin bunting. You’ll get used to it.”
They worked their way down more hallways, stopping off for “poking and prodding” and a few blood tests where they broke a needle in Emma’s arm, at which point she was told, “This happens all the time because these needles are from some third world country!” It quickly became obvious to Emma that all of the work done on patients in this facility, before anyone ever saw a doctor, was done by assistants, helpers, or trainees. When Emma asked about this, she was told that there weren’t enough doctors to go around so they were lucky to get “qualified” people who had been trained “online” or via correspondence courses to do most of the work formerly done by doctors. Emma was assured she would still see a doctor at some point.. Emma finally was led down a long corridor that was all spattered with what looks like blood. As the admitting nurse noticed what Emma was noticing, she said, “Oh, that’s not blood, honey. It’s just, uh, um, paint. Yea, paint. That’s what it is.”
They walked and walked and walked some more, going up stairs, along more hallways (which also had the reddish spattered patterns), through open exam rooms, down stairs, up stairs, and through more hallways until they finally reached the teeny-tiniest of rooms that was about four feet by five feet in size. There were two beat up metal chairs in the room. Emma sat on one of the chairs. With a horrified look on her face, the nurse yelled, “Don’t sit in that chair!” Emma quickly jumped up with a frightened look.
The nurse forced a polite smile and said, “That’s the doctor’s chair. You sit in that one!” She pointed to the other chair as she said, “We have very strict procedures here!”
Emma looked back and forth at the chairs that were identical, not to mention they both appeared to be on their last leg, so to speak. Suddenly, a stern looking, very muscular man in a wrinkled blue uniform with one hand behind his back (obviously hiding something he didn’t want Emma to see) entered the room. The admitting nurse left abruptly with a scared look on her face.
“Uh, Doctor? I uh ...” Emma didn’t get to finish her sentence as the very large man said, “I’m not the doctor. But please bend over and lift your gown.” Before Emma could protest, whimper, or ask but a single question of “Why?” this guy, in a swift, whirling dervish maneuver that he had obviously done hundreds, if not thousands of times, spun Emma around, bent her over his knee, and lifted her gown, quite discretely. Before Emma could react or do anything at all, she heard popping “ra-ta-ta-tat” sounds, followed instantaneously by stabbing, eye-popping pain in her buttocks!
“What the ...” Emma said as the man spun her around yet again with such a precise move that she ended up sitting perfectly upright and horribly, awfully uncomfortably in the metal chair. Emma leaned to one side because of the searing pain!
As this man left the room, he said, “That Zap-er-roo was just your med-chip going into place ... sort of the ‘end result’ in all of this, if you know what I mean. It’s also a GPS device so we’ll always know where you are ... just in case you don’t come in when we tell you to! The doctor will be right in.” And, then he was gone.
Emma puffed air out of her mouth upward to blow her hair out of her face and picked up her baseball cap, and said to no one in particular, “Well, I never!”
Another hour or two passed ... Emma had completely lost track of all time and space and was in a “numbed” state of existence. She had no idea what time of day it was or even where she was in the bowels of the facility. Unbeknownst to her, it was now 10:00 p.m. in the evening. She has spent her entire day in this draconian place!
Suddenly the door burst open and a man who looked exactly like Moe of the Three Stooges, complete with the “bowl haircut,” entered the room. He was obviously upset and proceeded to tell Emma how bad and how long of a day he had. He stopped Emma from asking questions, because according to the new health care plan, she can only ask questions of doctors at the OHC@RE.MESS web site or phone banks (which she will later find out are in either of two places - India or the Philippines). “Well, ma’am, everything looks good from your tests and in your chart. Thank you! We just have one more thing. The assistant or assistant’s assistant’s helper will take care of that. Have a nice day.”
With that the doctor quickly exited the room. Then Emma heard voices outside of the door. This is the conversation that she heard: “No, you do it!” “Hey, I did the last two. You do this one!” “No, I’m not going to.” And, she heard footsteps scurrying down the hallway.
The door opened as Emma realized she is in severe pain where the chip had been inserted. Much to her surprise a junior high school student enters as he sweeps his long hair out of his face with his tattooed hand. His other hand is in a fist which he holds out to Ms. America, saying, “Please put out your hand, miss.”
She complied obediently as he opened his fisted hand. A two inch long, purpleish pill with green stripes and what looks like brown warts on it fell into her hand. The weight of it caused her hand to move downward. He stretched his lips across his teeth (all without showing them) and said, “Just swallow this and you can be on your way. Sorry, we don’t have any water. Well, we have water, but no cups. Somebody forgot to order the cups and ... well, anyway, just take the pill.””
Emma had had it and said, “No frickin’ way am I going to try and swallow that!” Emma heard herself scream at this kid, which she knew was her day long frustration welling up from inside of her, but she really didn’t care at this point. She just wanted to go home ... and she certainly didn’t want to, nor did she intend to take that monster pill.
He then spoke into his cuff, saying, “We’ve got an ‘uncooperative one’ here!”
The door burst open as several more junior high schoolers stormed the room. They knocked Emma down as the first one said, “You have to take this, lady. And, you’re going to take it one way or the other.”
Emma, who until now had pursed her lips tight, quickly said, “What are those brown, wart like marks on the pill?” She pursed her lips again, and was committed to never swallowing that pill.
Sheepishly, he responded with, “Oh, I dropped it on the floor and forgot to wipe it off.” He then used his shirt to wipe the wartish marks off the pill. Then he shouted, “NOW OPEN YER TRAP!”
They held Emma down and pinched her nose closed until she had to open her mouth for air, at which point they inserted the pill in her mouth and far down into her throat so she had no choice but to swallow it. She passed out from the pain of the pill working its way down her esophagus.
When Emma woke up she was on the floor in the tiny room. No one was around. She got up, her ass still aching and her throat feeling raw, with her stomach now feeling quite odd, and proceeded to run up and down hallway after hallway until she found her clothes and belongings. She got dressed and headed toward the revolving doors to get out of the place ... only to find that the building has been locked up for the night. Exhausted from such an ordeal, Emma sat down on one of the more comfortable, but still shaky, chairs and read the back of her OHC@RE.MESS card. And, then the revelation hit her - there just wasn’t any way out of this mess! Looking at the back of the OHC@RE.MESS card Emma saw there wasn’t much to read, but it didn’t matter, because she fell fast asleep before she even finished the first line:
Here is what was printed on the back of the card, “*Terms, conditions, and stuff: OHC@RE.MESS is America’s Health Care System (HCS) that is available to any live, warm body standing on American soil or an American (whichever comes first). Once you have an HCS chip implanted in your butt (for scanning, tracking, & billing purposes) you have access to any kind of sort of health care services. No forms, no hassle, just some minor “waiting around” … which you can use for reading the “you can’t ever sue us” terms for any treatment and/or services you receive (or don’t receive or could or might even not have wanted to receive but got “treatment” anyway). You will mostly be seeing Physician’s “Assistants” or “Helpers,” who are any such persons or peoples who have taken the appropriate correspondence or online courses to be of as much possible insistence as is humanely acceptable!”
NOTE: If you would like your own laminated copy of the OHC@RE.MESS card, just send a crisp five dollar bill to Towne Square America PO Box 200159, Austin TX 78720-0159. Be sure to include your mailing address.
Nobel Prize Awarded for Stupidity
Stockholm, Sweden - The Nobel Committee today awarded the Nobel Prize for Stupidity. This is a brand new, “one-time only” category, said Committee member Sven Pjenlonken. And, the awarding of this special prize, which carries no monetary value, personal diploma, or medal, is being handled in a most unusual way.
The Nobel Committee is asking “citizens at large“ around the globe to help notify the winners of this Nobel Prize. The process will be quite simple, actually. All you need to do, if you suspect a person to be “good AND stupid,“ (i.e., stupid enough to qualify for this award), then all you have to do is quickly test that person by asking her or him to repeat, “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” The next step will be determined by the results of the test.
If the person does, indeed, make the statement, because you told her or him to do so, that person is, in fact, stupid. If the person gets confused, that person is, you guessed it, stupid. If the person can’t say the words without messing them up, then that person is stupid. If you help the person make the statement, then YOU, too, are stupid. If the person tells you to “stuff it,” “go squat on a fire plug,” or some other colorful phrase, then the person, most certainly, is NOT stupid.
So, once you have determined the stupidity-ocity level of the person, you may then pronounce that person to be either “A Nobel Prize winner for Stupidity,” or NOT a winner, which, in this case, would probably be a good thing, depending on the person’s intellect! NOTE: There will be no need to notify the Nobel Prize Committee either way of your findings (or lack thereof, be that as it may, wheretofore, whence, and wheretoo).
The Ultimate Stimulus Plan
Washington D.C. - While trillions and trillions of dollars (that we don’t have) continue to be “invested” by our legislators and the current (or not so current) “administration” in various and assorted (not to mention asinine) bailout and healthcare plans which will be an implementation nightmare (sorta, kinda, maybe), we here at Towne Square America feel that each American household, with at least one LEGAL US RESIDENT, over the age of 28, should have been given $250,000 (tax free, with no strings attached). Then our economy would really take off with skyrocketing retail sales! That also would make our economy red hot and the money would be poured back into “made in America” enterprises that further fuel business, banking, housing, and industry. Now how simple AND effective would that be? We certainly could do a much better job of spending what is really our money anyway!
And, really, why do we want to give more money to the people who created this problem in the first place? There is always talk about "adjustments" and "corrections" in the stock market. But, hey, not much is ever said about those of us "paying the freight." We could do much more with the money! Don’t you think? This ain’t rocket science, folks!