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Taking Bubba's temperature about health care - Odessa American: Columnists

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Taking Bubba's temperature about health care

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Posted: Sunday, August 16, 2009 12:00 am

It was only a matter of time before the phone call came. Sure enough, my pal Bubba Gravelhauler gave me a ring to ask if I would drop by the Crawl On Inn after work. He had some questions to run by me.

“Health care?” I asked.

“You got it,” he replied.

“I’ll be there,” I shot back.

I was sure that he’d be ill-informed about the matter.

But then, I wasn’t exactly well-versed on the proposed “reforms.”

Then again, I concluded, we probably knew about as much about the Obama plan as most members of Congress, at least judging from what they were and were not saying.

It was going to be an interesting discussion, not likely to be enhanced by liberal applications of longnecks.

Bubba had the first round waiting when I arrived.

He wasted no time getting to the point.

“What about them death panels?” he asked. “How’s that gonna work?”

I carefully explained that particular issue was a product of the political rhetoric. “Actually, that’s sort of a strange interpretation of the part that mentions end-of-life issues and encouraging patients to discuss the inevitabilities with their care providers.”

“Shoot,” he said, “I was kinda hopin’ I might be able to get on one of them panels. I got several people I’d like to ‘consult’ with. But I guess I can live without any of that stuff. But I would like to know if any of this stuff is gonna make it harder to find a doctor.”

“Boy, that is anybody’s guess. But if you put more people into the system and try to make treatment more affordable, I’d say you’re causing a lot of physicians problems. Pretty soon, it might be as hard to get in to see a doctor as it is to get somebody to come out and do repair work at your house.”

Bubba rolled his eyes. “That bad, huh? Next thing you’d know, doctors would be saying that you could hang around and they’d get around to you sometime between 8 and 5.”

I laughed. “Except maybe they’d say ‘We’ll get to you sometime next November.’ ”

At that point, he changed direction. “I also noticed most of them people goin’ to the meetings and gettin’ all riled up is old folks.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “I guess you could say it’s an age-sensitive issue. Older people spend a lot of time seeing their doctors and having tests, so they’re the most concerned about what’s going to happen.”

He smiled and said, “I reckon we’re gettin’ into that territory ourselves.”

I shrugged in reply.

So he finished his thought by saying, “But I guess I won’t hit any of them meetings. First of all, I ain’t sure I’d get no straight answers. But mostly my doctor told me not to get so worked up over the small stuff or it’d be bad for me in lots of ways. From what I’ve seen, all that screamin’ and hollerin’ is just causin’ more health problems.”


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