Sunday, December 21, 2008

Health Of The Nation

Imagine yourself a doctor, one who specializes in the treatment of addiction - all addiction - drugs, booze, gambling, whatever.

For your efforts, you are well compensated. In fact your salary places you above ninety-five percent of the rest of the country. Not only that, the perks that go with your job are nearly unlimited: no commercial airline travel for you - private jets are your conveyance. Someone else picks up the tab for your five star meals, and five star accommodations, three day work week, six month vacation, and diamond-crusted, platinum parachute retirement package.

But wait, there's more. Along with your fantastic pay and benefits, you also have power- real power. You can make rules and have them enforced by armed men who answer to you. You don't give advice, or make suggestions, you make rules, and can make people follow them. Of course mistakes are sometimes made, and people die, but, and this is another benefit of your position, the rules you have made say you cannot be held liable for the results.

Better than that, you are mostly immune to the rules you make. Sure, if you are caught robbing a bank, or killing someone, there will be trouble. But for the most part, you are insulated from the consequences of your own misdeeds.

Best of all, the number of other practitioners in your field is limited by law - that's right, there is no chance someone will set up a competing practice next door to you, so you're the only game in town. If the addicts need help, you are their only choice.

There is only one problem. Your position is not a lifetime one. Periodically, you must be re-elected, and since your job is so lucrative, there will always be contenders trying to take it from you.

But here again, the rules you have made give you the advantage. The set up is brilliant in its simplicity, and nearly foolproof - make sure the addicts you treat are the same voters who decide your future.

Oh it is delicious: to the heroin addict in your examination room, "China white baby! Free, free to you just put your X right here on the ballot next to my name." To the drunk, "Twelve year old single malt - all yours. Ice? Splash of soda? Freshen that up for you? Don't worry, I've got this for me?" "Compulsive gambler? There's a plane leaving for Vegas in an hour; here's some chips, and there's more... lots more where that came from. Who loves ya? Remember me at the polls."

What addict is going to vote to cut off the source of his supply? And what competitor is going to try to fight for your position considering the advantages you hold?

Treating addicts by catering to their addiction? What could go wrong with a plan like that?


alan said...

If only we could sue for malpractice!

Guy S said...

That's the sad part ... our "Patient Bill of Rights" allows for exactly that. (Or at least the original authors intent was there vis-a-vis the 2nd Amendment)

Popped over from Baby Troll Blog, excellent post!

Weetabix said...

A little melodramatic (maybe), but I've alwasy loved the story of the Wild and Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp:

It tells the same sad, true tale.

TJP said...

What could go wrong? The addicts are comatose, drunk or penniless in a ditch somewhere, and they don't vote. Usually this leaves the pushers with no other option but to find a scape goat until the situation can be fixed. Although, raising the dead and importing voters works at times.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Mike.