Saturday, June 24, 2017

You're Covered!

You're Covered! New reality show helps deserving Americans
access affordable healthcare.
New Reality Television Show Lets Patients Pitch Their Healthcare Woes to Wealthy Republicans

Fox announced yesterday that a new reality show, You’re Covered! will air as part of its weekly line-up this fall. The show, billed by its producers as “a cross between Shark Tank and The Apprentice with a warm, fuzzy Hallmark card ending,” features contestants who cannot afford their healthcare in the wake of the Republican Congress’s American Health Care Act reforms.

According to the producers, contestant preference will be given to the so-called “deserving poor,” described as hard-working, God-fearing white people from Rust Belt states who have lost their jobs in coal mining, construction, or other “traditional, American manufacturing” jobs. Women contestants seeking contraception or other reproductive healthcare assistance must consent to transvaginal ultrasounds and watch a series of video exposes revealing Planned Parenthood’s true role as a purveyor of aborted fetuses

The show’s format is simple and familiar. The person seeking healthcare assistance makes his or her case to a panel of five wealthy Republicans, all of whom have benefited from at least a $50,000 reduction in their annual taxes as a result of the Republican bill.  The panelists confer and decide who deserves to have healthcare. The show ends when former reality television star and current U.S. President Donald Trump makes a guest appearance to reveal the winner, saying in his trademark style, “You’re covered!”

In the show’s pilot episode, a 56-year old former steel worker from Scranton, Pennsylvania who suffers from erectile dysfunction as a result of stress induced by loss of his job, beats out parents seeking help with costly medications for their child who has chronic asthma, a young woman seeking psychiatric medications to manage her bipolar disorder so that she can continue her college education, and a 48-year old mother of three with costly complications from type-2 diabetes.

“Look, I’m not going to lie. It was hard to say no to that cute kid,” one male panelist said. “But this man—he has suffered so much. I could really relate on a personal level. It’s guys like him that are going to make America great again, no question. He deserves a second chance.”

Another panelist, who owns a small business that employs 100 workers at minimum wage, netting its owner more than $3 million per year, agreed. “I mean, mental illness, diabetes, let’s face it. Those are lifestyle choices,” she said. “When I was in college, I felt sad sometimes too when I didn’t have enough money for drugs. But I just asked my parents or borrowed from friends. And that woman with diabetes—she is so…well, let’s just say she should have shopped at Whole Foods instead of McDonalds. Maybe then she wouldn’t be sick. Besides, what kind of example is she setting for her kids? They need to learn that choices have consequences.”

When asked whether the show was perhaps the very sort of “death panel”  that Republicans once accused Democrats of creating through Obamacare, the producers disagreed. “All of these people have access to healthcare,” they argued. “They can still go to the emergency room, or they can try to buy health insurance on their own, without subsidies.”  

“Healthy people shouldn’t have to subsidize sick people for their bad lifestyle choices,” they continued. “It’s not fair. It’s not American. This show gives people who actually deserve care a chance to get it, by showcasing the compassionate conservative response—not a hand out, but a hand up.”

To those who deserve it.

Author’s Note: This essay is satire, in the same way that Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is satire. Swift didn’t really think eating Irish babies would solve Ireland’s famine, and I don’t really think a death panel reality television show should replace access to affordable healthcare for all Americans. Just sayin’.

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