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November 26, 2014

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Daisy, the adorable puppy, may hold the answer to affordable health care

I would like to thank the Republican Party of Palm Beach County for finally offering a counter plan to Obamacare.

I thought I’d never hear what, exactly, Republicans would do in place of Obamacare.

So I appreciate the leadership of Anita Mitchell, who soon after being sworn in as the county’s new party leader, made her executive board members watch a YouTube video called “Daisy, The Little Pup Who Believed.”

It was a powerful health care parable.

The star is Daisy, an adorable 5-month-old beagle, who was abandoned on the side of the road in Ontario, Canada, with a host of pre-existing medical conditions, including a spine that was fractured in two places.

Daisy’s story was told with Josh Groban, the emotionally cloying pop-opera singer, belting out “You Raise Me Up” in the background.

Or as Mitchell put it to her fellow board members, “It’s goosebump time.”

Yes, there’s nothing quite so touching as a four-legged patient with pre-existing conditions getting top-notch medical care to an orchestral soundtrack.

The roadside beagle puppy is discovered by “Jolene,” who takes the dog to a veterinary clinic. The video doesn’t mention who Jolene is, but news stories identify her as a worker at the vet clinic.

The clinic pulls out all the stops for little Daisy. She gets X-rays, an MRI and eventually an $8,000 back operation with days of rehab, including hydrotherapy.

OK, the video doesn’t mention the cost of all this, either. It would just muddy up the little-dog-believing-in-herself message.

It also doesn’t mention that the doctors waived 75 percent of their bills and that Facebook donations made by strangers paid the little dog’s medical bills.

The important thing was that it showed the surgically healed puppy running like new by the final chorus of the song.

“No matter what happens in life — stay strong and never give up. Because anything is absolutely possible as long as you BELIEVE,” is the final message spelled out at the end of the video.

So this is the Republican alternative to Obamacare. Faith-based medical care.

If you’re a victim of the predatory health care industry in America, where insurance companies earn profits by culling the people who need health care insurance the most, and where hospitals reserve their highest rates for the uninsured, and where a person’s life-and-death welfare is contingent on his or her ability to get a job with benefits, don’t look to the evil Obamacare to address those problems.

There’s another way. Just believe.

Get your two-legged self to the shoulder of a well-traveled road and hope to catch the eye of a nurse on her way to work.

It’s a simple six-step treatment plan.

Step One: Look adorable.

Daisy, the beagle, had big puppy eyes. I’m not saying that Jolene wouldn’t have picked her up if she were some mangy, middle-aged, three-legged mutt. But as any traveler on Interstate 95 can attest, good looks never hurts somebody’s chances of attracting roadside rescuers.

Step Two: Choose a good rescue location.

You don’t want to be at traffic lights. All those will-work-for-food guys have that turf locked up. Your best bet is to pick a road that leads directly to a local hospital. Make it as convenient as possible for your rescuer.

Step Three: Invest in a boom box.

You’re going to want to hit the play button on your soundtrack music as soon as you get rescued. And remember, you’re looking to trigger goosebumps (Groban), not suicide (Adele).

Step Four: Practice your doctor negotiating skills.

Explain to your doctors that your medical plight is actually a “feel-good story” about you believing in yourself. And that they should feel lucky to be tangentially associated with your uplifting story of personal triumph. This will help when you inform them that they will be offering their services to you for a small fraction of what they charge other patients.

Step Five: Ignore the hospital bill.

When you get pestered by bill collectors, be prepared to write them a sternly worded letter about your disappointment in them for not choosing to celebrate the miracle of your recovery in the right way.

If they persist, threaten legal action.

Step Six: Look adorable while on a roadside near a law office.

Frank Cerabino writes for the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post.

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