Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health care in history

Well, President Obama has called upon bloggers to help the health care cause
So since it’s a presidential imperative, time to get back to the blog after what? Half a year? Here we go!

Some high comedy from history: It’s very fun to laugh at those in the past, mainly because they’re dead and can’t punch you for laughing at them.

Roman Emperor Marcus Licinius Crassus is credited with inventing the fire brigade. He was also one of the wealthiest men ever in the history of the world. How did he achieve such wealth and status? From Wikipedia:

Most notorious was his acquisition of burning houses: when Crassus received word that a house was on fire, he would arrive and purchase the doomed property along with surrounding buildings for a modest sum, and then employ his army of 500 clients to put the fire out before much damage had been done. Crassus' clients employed the Roman method of firefighting -- destroying the burning building to curtail the spread of the flames.

Yes, Crassus would pay pennies on the dollar for burning buildings, knowing that he held the only resource they had to put the fire out. (Clients means slaves btw.) And pennies being better than nothing, other Romans were forced to make the deal. Ridiculous huh?

It’s very funny to laugh at Crassus now that he’s gone and can’t march legions to your door, as well as at the hapless Romans who couldn’t see that fire is a PUBLIC problem, and that a private solution to a public problem can only lead to something crass. (Get it? Crass? Crassus? I told you this was funny!) Sometimes you need state-run entities like FDNY just to keep profit speculation out of things like fire prevention.

Anyway, have a good laugh at Crassus, as for thousands of years after we’re long dead, future generations will be laughing at us. And here’s the punch line they’ll use:

In the 20th and early 21st centuries, Hospitals actually ADVERTISED! On television! They literally would advertise to people to come and be sick at THEIR hospital instead of a competitor’s. “Hey, don’t die of cancer over there! No! You’re doing it wrong! Give us all your money and die of cancer over here!” It’s like the line “your money or your life,” but for real, and somehow government sanctioned.

Invented the fire brigade, ran an HMO... Hmm... eerily similar. Future generations will not be lacking for fodder when looking back to cackle at our backward ways.

Well I for one don’t want those jerks of the future joking at me, so President Obama, please, get us some single payer, or anything that’ll be better than this mess we’re in now.

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