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Your leaders, hard at work 

Ranger Rich

I know a lot of you have been terribly worried about the president's proposed health care changes. I don't blame you. After all, we've been warned of planned government death squads by none other than health expert Sarah Palin, who accidentally swallowed the citrus slice from her bottle of Corona last week and is worried she'll get Lyme disease. She also believes you can be stricken with scarlet fever by repeatedly watching Gone with the Wind, and fears her lovely daughter Bristol is at risk for swine flu because of those pigs she calls boyfriends.

Personally, I'm just hoping no one messes with my own health insurance plan, a terrific benefit provided by my employer, the Independent, allowing me up to three visits per year to my assigned provider, who is trained primarily in the veterinary sciences. (He recently increased the office visit co-pay by $5 for patients who engage in any prolonged scratching in the waiting room, along with a $40 carpet-cleaning surcharge if we can't make it outside to the bush.)

The point here is that we can all stop worrying about our nation's health care system because, luckily for us, the esteemed members of our El Paso County Board of Commissioners are now trying to help America with the whole reform thing.

If they have any extra time, they might actually try to get a road plowed this winter. Or have a pothole filled. Or, if you're outside city limits, perhaps even hire someone to remove the rabid stray pit bull from your leg.

Seriously, in a sweeping, unanimous resolution last week, our county commissioners proclaimed that "the United States should not pursue a public health insurance option and instead pursue a policy that relies on private options in a reformed and well regulated private market."

These, I might point out, are the same five people who have slashed the county health department budget so severely in recent years that our village's restaurants are seldom, if ever, inspected. And nothing says "public health" quite like sitting down to a big, steaming bowl of rat fur chowder.

Personal note: I was eating a salad last week and a crouton bit me. Luckily, County Commissioner Jim Bensberg was at the next table and I was able to kill the angry crouton by smacking it with a rolled-up copy of the Indy — one of about 300 copies Bensberg had been hiding under his coat.

(For those of you who have moved to our village recently, perhaps lured here by the magical dream of lousy jobs, poorly planned growth and 15th-century thinking, Bensberg was, a few years ago, alleged to have tucked an entire stack of Indy newspapers — a story in that issue questioned his ethics — under his coat in the county administration building. Security camera images captured his alleged getaway.)

Anyway, Bensberg and the other four commissioners passed a strongly worded rebuke of Barack Obama's health care reform plan at a recent meeting and offered some health care advice to the new administration. This week the commissioners will get back to the work they were elected to do: petitioning North Korea to end its rampant nuclear production.

(Actually, word around town is that the commissioners are set to unveil a plan to rid America of homelessness, a plan crafted after Nancy Reagan's wildly successful 1980s anti-drug campaign called "Just Say No." As I hear it, their plan to end homelessness will be called "Just Buy a House.")

Seriously, as El Paso County (motto: "Streetlights Are For Sissies!") continues to be held together by chewing gum and duct tape, I'd like to take this moment to thank the commissioners for spending their time wisely.

Oh, and by the way, not mentioned in the resolution was the fact that all five commissioners enjoy a high-end, health insurance package — the plan offered to all full-time county workers — that's paid for by us. They even have access to an on-call physician, right there inside the county administration building. I'm guessing they especially don't want that to be reformed.

Because having health insurance is important.

Especially when you throw your back out trying to stuff 50 Independents under your coat.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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