Friday, June 21, 2013

That useless brain

Why ask why? 

For those old enough to remember, that was the question posed
in a television commercial in a bygone era, and one that should
be asked again today.

But the problem with asking why is that it presupposes you’ll
actually think.

And, hey, why do that? 

It’s so much easier to follow the crowd.

That’s what Holman W. Jenkins Jr., writes about in one of his latest
columns in The Wall Street Journal. (

That journalism suffers from a lack of mental dexterity or that
people are more easily swayed by their emotions or habits they
picked up from their parents and ancestors– anything but their brains!
– in deciding their votes or other important issues should come as no surprise.

After all, if your parents were Democrats, you’ll likely be one, too;
the same goes for Republicans. 

Religious beliefs are similar.  If you were brought up Catholic, you’ll
likely be one as an adult; and the same holds for every other religion.

It’s easy to simplify problems.  All we need is demon and a solution.

The fact that medical care is expensive is the demon.  The easy
solution – as brought to us by Congress and President Obama -- is to
make health insurance affordable and, thus, accessible to all. 

The fact that healthcare, as provided by the doctors and
the nurses, might suffer is not something you should think about.

And, whatever you do, don’t think about basic economics and the
fact that, at any time, you introduce a third-party payer – as the
current health care system is set up – the provider of any service,
medical care included, is given the ability to raise their prices, thereby
making healthcare unaffordable to anyone who doesn’t buy a
health insurance policy.

Or the fact that insurance companies, forced to cover any and
all illnesses, might compel some doctors to leave the system so
they're able to only accept private money for their services
isn’t something you should worry about either.  

The easier thing, instead, is to go along with the people who have
a complication to solve the complication.  It comes to us as the
Affordable Care Act, which, essentially, sells us to the health
insurance industry. 

Which means, other than allowing you to buy health insurance,
nothing’s been resolved.

But don’t think about that.

A better solution – if someone really wanted to lower the
doctors’ fees, hospital prices and drug prices – would have
been to eliminate insurance companies.

But that would have been too radical.

And since you’re struggling with basic thinking, Senators,
Members of Congress and the President know you can’t
handle hard solutions that require arduous thinking.

If everyone in the healthcare industry was forced to compete on
price – like the car companies are – drugs and doctor visits
wouldn’t cost nearly as much. 

Sure, there would some high-priced doctors and hospitals just like
there are high-priced cars and houses.  Those on the high end
would sell better service.

At the lowest tier, doctors charging far less would offer economy care.

And most doctors would likely fall somewhere in the middle for things
like physicals and urgent care.

But, hey, why think? 

It’s so much easier to leave that to someone else.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I need a fake ID

For the first time in a very long time – since I was a teenager – I’m
giving thought to acquiring something I’ve never needed. 

What’s surprising is that I didn’t need one when I wanted a particular
controlled substance when I was a teenager – booze.

When the drinking age was 18, I had little or no trouble buying beer
and wine without an ID.  Maybe it was my looks or maybe it was the
way I came across when making a purchase.

And when I was in college in Indiana, where the drinking age was
21, I still had little or no trouble buying beer, either at a store or at a
bar frequented by the locals in Greencastle.

So here I am, well over 21 – likely considered a geezer by my
children – with never a record of drinking under the influence or ever
abusing drugs and there’s one thing I can’t buy as often as I need, all
because of government regulations.

Claritin D – an incredibly effective drug at controlling allergies – can
only be purchased by individuals at the rate of 7.5 grams per month,
which from the information I can gather, is around 30 pills a month.

The problem I ran into the other night at my local drugstore was that
I had purchased some of these pills twice in the last few weeks and
had gone over government-imposed limit.  This was because my
wife had used some of them. 

As a result, the pharmacist refused to sell them to me, saying I could get a
prescription to successfully circle around government regulations.

The regulations, she said, are about preventing people from cooking
down the Claritin D pills so they can acquire methampetamine, an
obvious problem in the little suburb where we live.

Methampetamine, usually referred to as “meth,” is an illegal substance
used by some people to get high; there are published reports saying
young women will smoke crystal meth so they can lose weight rapidly. 

What’s interesting about the regulation over Claritin D is that it
has little to do with acquiring the drug as much as it has to do with
purchasing too many of the pills in too short of a time.  It’s thought
that by regulating the purchase times, the distribution of meth will
be dampened. 

I guess, if I was really determined to cook up some crystal meth – and
not that I am – I could store the pills until I have enough to create huge
batch of this illegal drug.

But, really, all I’m trying to do is breath, so the last thing I’m about to
do is cook up some meth – the lure of the money notwithstanding. 

I’m neither an addict nor a pusher and nor a buyer of illegal substances.
I just want to breath so I can go on my four plus mile run five mornings
a week. 

(In fact, come to think of it, I’d like to see my doctor – maybe even the
pharmacist – on this run, too.)

So I’m now giving serious consideration to acquiring a fake ID that
can be used at places like CVS and Walgreens so I can buy Claritin D
whenever I need it. 

We’re hardly talking heroin or cocaine here.  We’re talking a little pill
that helps me breath. 

Check out struggling to breath, and you’ll understand my cry.

So, really, thank you for your worries about my well being – whether
you work at the Food and Drug Administration, you’re a police
officer, a judge, a prosecutor, the local pharmacist, the president
or vice president of the United States or a member of Congress. 

Thank you.  But, really, I got this!

If you’re really worried I’m about to start up a meth lab – really I don’t
have the time! – you’re more than welcome to search my house, anytime.

Just show me your warrant at the door.