Maine Health Madness
The gang at the emergency room were a cheerful bunch. They bustled purposefully about, hooking me up to monitors and making polite but probing enquiries into deep recesses of my personal history and jamming me with needles into which they dribbled some actually quite pleasant drug. It wasn't how I'd planned to spend the evening but really it wasn't so bad.
The low point came when a friendly technician rolled what appeared to be an item of earth-moving equipment over the bag holding my iPad. I suspect the monitors at that point registered signs of an impending heart attack. The moment passed, and both iPad and patient came through in reasonably good order.
This does raise a couple of questions, though. Number one, which I'm sure is on everyone's mind: Where is my iPad 2? I ordered the darn thing one day after the new gadget went on sale, and at this writing it remains a gleam in the eye of a factory manager in Shenzhen, China.
Number two, which ought to be on everyone's mind but strangely does not seem to be: What is going to happen to Maine's health care system amidst the ongoing frenzy of budget-slashing, mural-destruction, sign-raising, immigrant-bashing and general idiocy in Augusta? Again, at this writing, things are not looking rosy.
The governor's general position seems to be that the State of Maine is doing way too much, for too many undeserving people, and we need to get a handle on this right away. So we're going to demolish the Dirigo health plan which is of no benefit to anyone but working people on low incomes (like, say, checkout ladies at Marden's). And we're going to slash funding for MaineCare, which does nothing at all for anyone but the poor and their wretched children. We are going to make Maine friendly to business, damn it, and what better way to prove this than by being demonstrably unfriendly to everyone else?
Now I am among the very fortunate — which perhaps explains my sense of overall well-being while lying in the emergency room with a steady draft of cool, refreshing oxygen being pumped, at great expense to somebody, up my nostrils. Though my income is modest, I am enrolled in the Veterans Administration health plan. Since I was unable to drive to Togus, the U.S. taxpayers will, if all goes well, reimburse the local hospital for my brief and thankfully uneventful visit. This makes me, by any kind of rational analysis, a sort of welfare case, and by the logic of Tea Partiers like Mr. LePage, the victim of a government takeover of a large part of our health care system (the part involving military veterans).
It's a little hard for me to fathom — since from my perspective this odd arrangement has led chiefly to my being alive — but for some reason it is very important to the health of the Maine economy that medical security of the kind I enjoy not be provided to, you know, just anyone. To which end, we're going to cough up an estimated $400,000 to join the lawsuit seeking to overturn the national health reform law. That's probably enough money to save a dozen imperiled teaching jobs, but let's keep our priorities in order, shall we? "Maine is open for business."
Sorry, am I ranting? If so, I'm glad — it shows I have the energy to rant. For which I have you, the taxpayers, to thank.