Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poem: 'Twas the Night After Single Payer

In the spirit of Christmas, long-time FIRM supporter Gina Liggett has composed the following poem, "'Twas the Night After Single Payer":
'Twas the Night After Single Payer
By Gina Liggett, RN, MPH

'Twas the night after Single Payer, when all through the land
Not a creature had health care that could be called grand;

The ERs were stuffed with those seeking care,
In hopes Dr. Daschle soon would be there;

The patients were all nestled sick in their beds,
Hallucinating that sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And doctors at their post, and nurses at their station,
Had just hunkered down for a long Administration,

When on the Rose Garden lawn there arose such a clatter,
I turned on CNN to see what was the matter.

Away to the screen it flew like a flash,
Camera shutters were clicking, Dr. Daschle with his sash.

TV lights shined in faces hailing the plan
Gave the lustre of "quality" for each woman and man,

When, what to my wondering eyes be endured,
But a huge new department, and forty-eight million more insured,

With a powerful new driver, two roles to fulfill,
I knew in a moment it would be government overkill.

Regulations not treatments his ideas they came,
New restrictions, new rules, and he called them by name;

"Now, Daschle! now, Dollar! now, Payer and Taxin'!
On, Common! on Cure-all! on, Daunting and Blighted!

To the top of the White House! it will hit the wall!
Now cash away! cash away! cash away all!"

As dry heaves that before an intestinal flare,
With patients on the wait list, what do they care?

So up in the bureaucracy the coursers they flew,
Through the cabinets of paperwork, and Dr. Daschle too.

And then, in a news conference, I heard more restrictions
The limits and taxing and fewer prescriptions.

As I called 911, one day writhing in pain,
The response that I got could only be called insane.

He was dressed in his scrubs, and checked my citizen's ID,
And the equipment malfunctioned, but the diagnosis was free;

A bundle of supplies, the treatment room disordered,
But they lacked what was needed, what the Dr. had ordered.

His eyes--how they glazed! dark circles how weary!
His cheeks were so sallow, his job was so dreary!

Another patient in line dehydrated like wheat,
Uncontrolled diabetes, his blood sugar too sweet;

The stump of a leg infected for weeks,
It was surgical care that this patient seeks;

He had Universal Insurance and a sad-looking face,
Because it only covered some gauze and an Ace.

He was pale and sweaty, a sickly young man,
And I cried when I saw him, in spite of his free-coverage plan.

A wink of the bureaucrat and a nod of her head,
Said, with Single Payer I had nothing to dread;

She spoke no more words, but took her first break,
Civil servants remember their rules are at stake.

And the Doctor came back, his fingers rubbing his eyes,
And he gave me a med and some vague replies;

He sprang to his computer, the new high-tech efficiency
Sent my records to D.C. for some clerk to see.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he walked out of sight,

"Single Payer for all has become a nightmarish fright!"
(Via NoodleFood.)