Alas, for those who have managed to get through to the right screen, many are disappointed. They keep looking in vain for the FREE MEDICAL CARE button to click, but can’t seem to find it. I’m not sure this is true, but I heard about one guy who tried and tried and tried to get on the federal site without success. He said he thought he was doing everything right until he got an error message that read: “You’re a perfect idiot. Try again later ... much later.” I hope someone told him no one is perfect and that the computer was probably just letting off a little steam. After all, these websites can be thought of as government employees, and they’re not real happy right now.
I can certainly understand the users’ frustrations. I’ve had to deal with the cable company, the phone company and two major banks within the last week. I’m pretty sure that qualifies me to take on the Obamacare websites. With all that training, I’ve really become an expert at shouting into the phone while music is playing. It actually occurs to me that those previously-mentioned entities are in cahoots with the purveyors of the new health care system because every time I talk with so-called Customer Service representatives, my blood pressure reaches another all-time high and I have to take medicine to keep it in check.
If I’ve correctly read information on the Act, there are several plans from which to choose once you are fortunate enough to be logged in. I think the White House itself said there are around 50 choices. Unfortunately, for most Americans, that’s probably 48 too many. Think about it. How long does it take you to make up your mind in a fast-food line. “Do you want fries with that? What size? How about a drink? Large or small? Side salad? Ice cream cone for dessert? What kind of toppings on it?” Your mind is frazzled and your sandwich still comes with ketchup instead of the mustard you ordered on it.
Simplification is the name of the game. At least it should be. However, in all its wisdom, Washington has decreed that the Internal Revenue Service (who are my friends — really — just in case my file is being scrutinized at the moment) is in charge of administering the provisions of the Act. At last count, the Tax Code was 73,954 pages long. The Affordable Care Bill was a mere 2,400 pages in length at inception. But that actually doesn’t matter. Nobody has bothered to read either one.
I think if Obamacare is really going to take off, it needs a little marketing help. I have a modest proposal: Let’s make it a lottery. With so many gazillion-dollar mega prizes available in almost every state, it’s pretty obvious We the People love a good gamble. Why not add that element of fun and excitement into the world of healthcare coverage. We might have to enlist the help of convenience stores to make sure this works, but the clerks there are used to selling dreams to people every day.
The IRS could print up billions of chances to win the aforementioned FREE MEDICAL CARE. For just a dollar, you get the opportunity to scratch off a few spots on a card. If you get three caduceus symbols in a row, you’re a health care winner for life. (That’s the snakes wrapped around a pole with wings at the top that is often associated with doctors.)
Secondary prizes can include getting a special code to quickly access the Obamacare website, surgical procedures of your choice with no waiting, fancy first aid kits, an actual returned phone call from a trained medical professional instead of the office manager, prescriptions from Canada and many, many more.
In addition, every dollar wagered on the healthcare lottery could be used to pay down the national debt. So even if you don’t get an actual winning card, you’re still helping the economy recover.
There is just one catch. The voters in America would have to put this system in place by fiat. If we leave it up to Congress and the White House, well, need I say more?
Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.