Weekly Comments: Ole Will recalls 1927 health insurance plan
#562 August 2, 2009
COLUMBUS: Congress has adjourned for their August vacation, at least the House did. The Senate says they want to stay another week to argue over the next Supreme Court Justice and appropriations for agriculture. But really it’s to let the Congressmen and women go home first and take the heat on health care, energy, and global warming.
Dairy farmers say they need support from Congress the same way the automobile manufacturers are benefitting from “Cash for Clunkers”. They figure if the government paid them for sorta de-commissioning every old Holstein cow of a certain age that might reduce the milk surplus and let ‘em get back to break even. Only trouble is that whereas the old cars have to be traded for a new one giving more miles per gallon, most old Holsteins get replaced by young heifers giving more gallons per cow.
The whole health insurance debate has boiled down to who gets the care they need, who pays for it, and who gets a share of the payment. The only ones we can agree on to cut out of the payment is the lawyer, but you’ve got a better chance of cutting lobbyists out of politics.
No dairy farmer wants to go back to milking cows the way they did fifty years ago, and no American in his right mind wants to give up the advancements in medical science over the same time frame.
Well, just as Congressmen sometimes do, I’m yielding the rest of my time here, to a man who had gall stones removed, at age 47, and lived to write and joke about it.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
(Excerpts from “Ether and Me”, a 32 page book Will wrote about his gall bladder surgery in June 1927. The book has sold over 80,000 copies, and is available for about $6 from the Will Rogers Museum at willrogers.com.)
(After the diagnosis, but before going to the hospital) “My wife was setting on the edge of the bed and we were talking it over. She got up and went into another room. I got up and went in to console her. She was digging in an old musty leather case marked Insurance Papers....
(After the surgery...) One day I was a-laying in the hospital and I just happened to have the only bright thought that had come to me in weeks. This operation comes under the heading of sickness, so I thought of those insurance policies I had been paying on for years. This sickness is going to turn out all right. I began thinking how I could stretch it out into a slow convalescence. When my wife called again I broke the good news to her. “If we can get a bona-fide doctor to say I have been sick and couldn’t spin a rope and talk about Coolidge, we are in for some disability.”
Well, I noticed my wife wasn’t so boisterous about this idea. Then the truth slowly came out; she told me the sad story of cutting down on the insurance. She said my good physical condition had misled them. She said the operation would not be money-making.
So if you want to stay well, just bet a lot of rich companies that you will get sick; then if you can’t have any luck getting sick, have the policy cut down, and before six months you’ll be saying “Doctor, the pain is right there.”
Of course if I had had the bigger policy, why, it would have had some clause in there where I got sick on the wrong day or had the wrong disease. There would have been an alibi somewhere, because those four pages of clauses in a policy are not put in there just to make it longer.
We kid about our Doctors and we hate to pay 'em after it's all over and we have quit hurting. But I expect a lot of us have got 'em to thank for us being here.”