April Fools has come and gone, yet people continue to promote ideas so ludicrous I can only assume they’re pranks being played on us.  Perhaps this entire year should be dedicated to the Fool.  Here are some of the best jokes so far:

Paul Ryan:  “My plan to replace Medicare with a voucher was such a huge success, I’m totally going to bring it back.”

Chris Christie:  “I’m innocent!  My lawyer buddy says so.”

Sarah Palin:  “The Republican budget plan doesn’t cut enough benefits for the poor!”

Paul Ryan again:  “The pre-existing condition clause of the Affordable Care Act is wildly popular.  But I’m sure nobody will mind if we repeal it.”

Ann Coulter:  “If they really want to endear themselves to the voters, conservatives should keep making comments about rape.  For instance–immigration is just like rape.”  (Thanks to the Kavalkade Krew for drawing my attention to this one.)

Vladimir Putin:  “Ukrainians long to be freed by their beloved Russian brothers.”

Kim Jong Un:  “I haven’t done enough executions.  Let’s try one with a flame thrower.”

Miley Cyrus:  “America is in love with my sexiness!”

Ted Cruz:  “America is in love with my intellect!”

If this is any indication of what this year will be like, I will spend the rest of it in constant fits of laughter…or weeping.  I haven’t yet decided which.

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It has been a little surreal watching the conservative reaction to Obamacare problems over the past few weeks.  I have never before seen conservatives get this upset over people not having insurance coverage.  The hand wringing as they read the letters from their constituents who have lost their insurance plans…the fiery anger as they ask, what will those poor families do now??  As I watch them cry their crocodile tears, I feel the urge to ask a couple questions–

Where were you guys when many of us were suffering under the existing health care system?  Where were you when people were being refused insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, or kicked off their insurance plan because it was discovered that they had a doctor’s visit somewhere in their past?  I don’t remember your sadness then–in fact, it seemed that you didn’t care at all.  Okay, I get it.  The website isn’t working and that’s embarrassing.  And it is frustrating for people to lose an insurance plan they happened to like, even if it wasn’t a very good quality plan.  But at least there is a website, and the people who lose their coverage can go to shop on the exchange.  Before, if you were rejected by an insurance company for whatever reason, you were likely to be rejected by other insurance companies as well, and there was nowhere else for you to go.  Did you have anything to say about that?

We know, we know, you’re against Obamacare.  So what is your solution, your alternative?  And please don’t say it’s to leave the health care system as it is now–that’s not an acceptable answer.  If you have a much better idea for fixing health care, what is it, and why didn’t you present it earlier, back when the system badly needed reforming?  You’re whining about it now, but it is too little, too late. 

Where have you been?

A couple years ago, my mother became one of the uninsured.  My father got a new job and his employer’s health care plan does not cover spouses or children. 

On a quest to find health care coverage that we could afford while paying our other bills, she applied for an individual insurance plan…only to be rejected because she had once been seen by a doctor for liver pain.  Mind you, no serious or ongoing liver problems, just a one-time visit.  Now, if she applies for any other individual insurance, her application will have to state that she has been previously rejected by another insurance company (there is a question on insurance applications which requires this), pretty much guaranteeing that no other plan will accept her. 

So, since paying the full premium for the employer coverage is not affordable for her, Mom claims she is fine with not having any insurance.  The thing that scares me the most is that I know perfectly well she is the kind of person who will pretend that she is doing great, even if she happens to be sick or in pain.  She doesn’t want anyone else to worry about her and will sacrifice herself before she does anything that would endanger her family’s financial future.

I hear a lot of people talking about how government health care will take away our liberty.  My question is this:  exactly what kind of liberty will it take away from my Mom?  The liberty not to get medical treatment?  The liberty to lose our house and everything we have if she gets seriously ill?  The liberty to live with the stress and worry of that?  Are those the exciting freedoms I have heard so much about?  What choices would single payer take away?  If I get sick under the current private health care system, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it (if I can afford it).  If I get sick under single payer, I will go to the doctor and get treated for it.  The health care system will make absolutely no difference in the choices I make, except that I won’t have to panic about the money side of things.  Are there really exotic treatment options that I’m not aware of that will disappear if government health care comes in?   

The solution which always gets trotted out in this country in response to desperate situations is that of private charity.  My mother’s answer to any such conversations is to snap, “I shouldn’t have to beg for my health care.”  And she’s right—she shouldn’t.

Thankfully, there is a real solution, and it’s a lifesaver for us.  My parents are both in their 60s, so the time when they will be able to get on Medicare is quickly approaching.  I am literally praying for the moment when Mom can have her Medicare, and praying that she doesn’t develop any life-threatening conditions in the meantime…there’s still a few years to go.

And to think, when she turns 65 she will lose all that “freedom”…poor thing!