following is the dialogue from this week's commentary cartoon "This Modern World", by tom tomorrow. since i cannot post the cartoon segments here, i'd like to offer the conversation between a doctor, a patient, and an insurance company agent: this week, health care and the free market -- with your host, Doctor Hand. the setting is a hospital admissions office.
doctor: i'm not REALLY a doctor, but i dress like one -- so as to appear implicitly TRUSTWORTHY.
patient: aren't you supposed to be invisible?
doctor: oh, will you PLEASE shut up about that?
doctor: speaking as someone dressed like a doctor, i must say -- you're not looking very well ! let's take a closer look -- at your WALLET. ah, we're in LUCK. you seem to be INSURED.
patient: so can i see a real doctor now?
doctor: you know, it's interesting...some people think insurance should be a way of pooling society's resources, so that those who fall ILL can receive the care they NEED. of course, that would be SOCIALISM -- and we certainly can't have THAT.
patient: ~cough cough~
doctor: fortunately the genius of the FREE MARKET has given us a system of PRIVATE insurers, committed first and foremost to healthy PROFITS -- and hey, speaking of the DEVIL --
agent: hello ! i'm from the insurance company -- and this must be the liability -- er, the PATIENT.
doctor: yes -- i don't know what's wrong with him...but it looks EXPENSIVE.
agent: hmm -- what's THIS? it looks like you didn't tell us about a trip to the PODIATRIST in 1986. that means ANYTHING wrong with you can be considered a PRE-EXISTING CONDITION -- and THAT means we're cancelling your coverage.
doctor: best of luck ! don't let the door hit you on the way out.
doctor: and there you have it, folks. it's another success story for the prime beneficiary of our health care system -- the AMERICAN INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
agent: we're here to help YOU help US.
doctor: now let's get out of here. all these sick people -- it's SO depressing.
patient: but -- but --