Letter from Vermont

Greetings again from the state that doesn’t care whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, Kenya or on Mars, although there are a lot of Republicans we wished had never been born in the first place.

I remember the time back when we elected our first socialist. We had some of our older folks complaining it was all somehow un-American. I guess that was because even though he got more votes than the other guy, no Supreme Court stepped in later to take it away from him. Things quieted down, though, when the social security checks arrived and they all headed off to Mohegan Sun for the weekend.
Been a lot of talk about health care in these parts of late, and we just can’t seem to get our arms around all the ruckus over the government supposedly getting involved in some sort of euthanasia. Up here we talk all the time about who died, who’s dying and who’d be better off dead. We don’t call it euthanasia. We call it Sunday dinner.
But what we can’t figure is why everybody is disrupting a good town hall meeting to scream about this part of the healthcare bill or that part. Town meetings ain’t for screaming. Town meetings are for finding out what slope has the most snowpack or whether old Larry’s lumbago is acting up, meaning it’s gonna be a wet spring and we have to hold off planting for another month. You have to shut up and listen at a town meeting if you’re to learn anything valuable.
But the way we’re figuring in our little ice box up here is that healthcare in this country is like a bet at a casino: you’re betting you’re gonna get sick (the gambler) and health insurers are betting you won’t (the house). Your employer is backing you (the stake). It’s like a game of craps, but not quite, since the rules can change at any time, even after you roll the dice.
Now the stake is watching the table. Maybe the stake doesn’t like the way the table is paying off, and so orders you to move to another table, and maybe put more of your own chips in this time. Should the stake decide at any time it doesn’t like any of the tables, the stake may just up and leave altogether, and now you’re playing with just your own chips.
But then all of a sudden you hit it big. You know, jackpot: Heart bypass, liver transplant, whatever. Except in this casino, the house can decide you won too much and won’t pay off. There’s no law against; it’s in the casino rules. And since all the casinos on the strip operate by the same rules, you can’t find another casino that feels it has to play fair.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. When you lose big at this casino, you die. Call it snake eyes or boxcars, but don’t ever call it a “death panel.” That’s only what you call it when it’s the government that can do it to you.
Well, old Larry just hollered to say he thinks he got bit by a Lyme tick today, so I guess I better go spray myself down before my nightly walk in the woods. Sometimes the best healthcare reform is just learning how to take better care of yourself, huh?
Yours in common sense,


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