Six months after passage of the new health care law, more than half of all Americans are still bewildered by it, according to a poll released Monday. Even as the first of the new consumer protections start kicking in, confusion has risen to the highest point since April, and 53 percent of those polled are in the dark about what the new law means.
Is this really surprising in a nation where half the people think evolution is bogus, where a third can’t name the current vice president, and where “real housewives” are believed to be the centerpiece of an entertaining evening in front of the TV?
Why am I not surprised?
Regardless, I feel it is my duty, as a know-it-all blogger, to inform the public in the interest of creating an educated citizenry that is the bedrock of the successful modern democracy. So today, I’m taking questions about the law, in one man’s attempt to wade through the fog of uncertainty and come out the other side a little damp, but better informed.
Is it true I have to keep my children under cover until they’re 26?
No, you’re free to allow your adult children still living at home to go about their normal daily business (if they have any besides sitting in front of that damn Xbox all day). The new healthcare law will permit parents who obtain insurance through their employers to keep adult children under those plans. You may be confused with the recently reaffirmed law in China that permits parents to have only one baby, the so-called “one-child policy.” This applies only to those people living halfway around the globe, not to you.
Where can I sign up to be on a death panel?
A shocking three in ten senior citizens believe the new healthcare law creates government boards that will decide whether elderly and infirm Americans deserve life-saving medical treatment. This is not the case. (Though if it were left up to me, and if my crazy Aunt Sarah won’t stop bothering me about how often I borrow her car, I’d … well, I probably shouldn’t go there.) Before it was passed into law, the bill did contain measures to pay for end-of-life counseling for those who chose to receive it, but this was distorted into a call for “death panels” and was jettisoned from the provision before it was finalized. If you really want to be on a commission that kills people or, at the very least, makes them wish they were dead, might I suggest you run for city council and rain death down upon your fellow citizens every Tuesday night at 7.
Do jobs on the death panels have full benefits, including healthcare coverage?
I already told you — there are no death panels. But, if there were, they’d probably be staffed by temps, who typically do not get such benefits.
Will in-home nursing be covered? I haven’t been weaned yet.
Exactly what kind of “nursing” are you talking about? Because if you have some young woman coming to your home on a regular basis offering to breast-feed you, and yet you’re old enough to submit this question, I want to get in on that.
Can I see a doctor who’s not named “Obama” under Obamacare?
You can continue to see a provider of your own choosing, and he or she can be named anything you want them to be, including Dr. Zhivago, Dr. Scholls, Dr. Doom, Dr. Horrible or Dr. Who, though personally I’d stay away from Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil. “Obamacare” is generally a term of derision used by Republicans and other conservatives who contend the president wrote the 2000-plus-page law himself. Do you really think he’s going to take time for that when he’s got his hands full running the country down the road of collectivist communism? Plus, despite all his other accomplishments, he never did finish his requirements to graduate from medical school, though he swears he’s going back for night classes next semester to pick up that one osteoporosis credit he needs. Incidentally, a recent survey indicated an estimated 99.999% of all American doctors are not named “Obama.”
Can I get a flu shot online?
No. The Internet is currently only able to provide information to users, and has not yet reached the stage where a provider can reach through your computer monitor and inject a vaccine into your butt (though, if you’ve checked out Chatroulette, you’ll see there are no shortage of people offering up their hind ends on screen).
What if the pre-existing condition I have is that my name is Carl? Can I still be covered?
With the rules that went into effect earlier this week, children cannot be denied coverage for a so-called pre-existing condition but adults will not receive similar protection until 2011. So if you want to remove such a silly name before then, you’ll have to pay for it yourself, Carl.
I hear the new law gets rid of lifetime maximums. Does that mean I’ll live forever?
The “lifetime maximum” you may have heard about is an amount of coverage costs that will be permitted over the course of a person’s life. If you have major medical expenses such as a car accident, a kidney transplant or open-heart surgery, you may find yourself “maxed out” under the old system though, with three such serious conditions, that may be the least of your problems. In any case, there’s nothing in the new healthcare regulations that will enable people to live forever, a shortcoming that many Republicans are focusing on as they campaign against the new law during mid-term elections.
What’s this thing on my foot? Does it look like cancer to you?
Hold it up a little closer to the webcam, will you? Hmm … I’m not sure what that is, but it certainly is troubling. Turn it a little more to the left. Now, a little more. Wait, I think that’s just your pinky toe.
Why does it always hurt to say goodbye?
Emotional longing for a loved one who either moves to a different city or perhaps departs this life altogether is a tough struggle for many people. Do what nine out of ten doctors do — turn to drugs for relief from the pain.
Do I need to get undressed for this?
Yes … yes, you do. And do it slowly. But don’t take off the high heels.
I recently went through one of those full-body scanners at airport security. Do I still need a chest x-ray?
Probably not, since the only thing a chest x-ray will reveal is whether or not you have lung cancer, and now you surely do, since you went through one of those scanners. And by the way, just a tip from Roger at the Transportation Security Administration: you really should be wearing boxer shorts instead of briefs at your age.
Can I have a sip of your Ensure?
Sure. In fact, I’m working on a six-pack here, and I’d be glad to give you one of your own. Try it over ice, with a jigger of gin and just a dash of vermouth. I call it the “codgertini”.
Will anyone be able to tell if I inject my husband with cyanide?
If he deserves it, what does it matter whether anyone can tell? Would you rather spend the rest of your life sitting on the couch next to that soulless husk of a human being, or take a chance on the excellent crafts program that most state penitentiaries now offer? A lot of the minimum-security facilities even have job training opportunities, exercise facilities and state-of-the-art cafeterias, so life might not be so bad in there. Just remember that the mistake most people in your circumstance make is not using enough cyanide. Be sure he gets at least a quart.