Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mystery Solved: The Death of Michael Jackson

At long last, the odd and twisting case of the death of pop icon and tragic precautionary tale Michael Jackson has been solved. It was, it turns out, murder. His killer? The American private health care system.

So says immensely-qualified sage Charles Osgood, known best by his dulcet-toned CBS Sunday Morning hosting duties, but also, apparently, an expert on the complexities of health care.

“Michael Jackson was one of those Americans who liked his health care plan – and decided to keep it,” chides Charles Osgood. “That health care plan was Dr. Conrad Murray and his supply of sedatives”.

Yes, Mr. Osgood. That is definitely an apt analogy. The majority of the American people are just like Michael Jackson. We all have private doctors, hired at $100,000 per month, who are under orders to give us rhino-doses of tranquilizers. At this point, the 24-hour senility watch on Mr. Osgood should have sprung into action. But sadly, he rambles on:

“And yet, he [Dr. Conrad Murray] was only doing what his patient demanded – and in a way, what you hear many Americans demanding: providing privately-funded health care, unfettered by government regulation of any kind…”

Well said, Charley. Oh, and as a doctor myself, I really appreciate your point-of-view. Let me see if I’ve pretty much got your point, okay?

1. Americans who like their health care plan are just like Michael Jackson.

2. The illegal abuse of a corrupted physician’s privileges by a sad, twisted personality with the money to buy and sell some people like furniture, and the selling of wildly improper and dangerous care, just to make a buck, is a perfect analogy to the way most Americans interact with the health care system.

3. By extension, people who are drug addicts are simply exercising their right to health care choice, too. They’re not “drug dealers”; they are “curbside pharmacists”.

4. By further extension, men who visit prostitutes are simply exercising their rights to health care choice as well. They’re not hookers; they are “reproductive therapists”.

5. Doctor Murray was a very typical doctor. His willingness to inject massive doses of surgical anesthetics into an emaciated and clearly-addicted media personality is exactly what the hundreds of thousands of health professionals are forced to do on a daily basis. We are mindless drones, our finely-honed skills for sale on the open market, to be used, misused, or abused at the behest of the highest bidder. We are stupid, idiotic, and depraved vessels of medical knowledge, ready to bow to any master, whether government, insurance industry, or rich patient. Thanks, Charley. I guess lousy journalism is the only respectable profession left.

6. Americans demanding that their government stay out of their private decisions about how they hire people to care for the health of them and their children is rash, erratic, and irresponsible. They are idiots, incapable of even self-preservation without “government regulation”.

I won’t presume to speak for the entire physician community, Mr. Osgood. As for me, though, I would find your genuflection at the altar of medical fascism to be deeply offensive, were you not so entirely irrelevant. You are as important to the real nature of this debate as your contemporary Andy Rooney, but without the Vaudeville side-show entertainment value.

I am glad to hear that you think that people who gripe about changes in their health care are so repulsive, though. I’ll be sure to remember that when Medicare goes down the tubes. Will you remember to keep your mouth shut? Or simply fulfill your destiny as a journalistic hypocrite?

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