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How to Survive Without Health Insurance

A year ago, everyone in the family had health insurance. As of this writing, our dog is the only creature in the household with coverage. Without notice, Empire BlueCross recently canceled our policy. We’re in the process of appealing the cancellation; in the mean time, our baby girls are left without coverage during the most vulnerable stage of their life. At 10-months old, they also just started crawling and climbing, increasing the odds of accidental injury. I’m trying to keep a cool head, but Penny quickly noticed a change in my demeanor.

“Daddy, can you swing me around?

“Not now, sweetie.”

“Airplane ride?”

“No, sweetie.”

“How about just toss me in the air?”


***Penny climbs on top of Clemmy***

“Sweetie, get off your sister.”

***Penny giggles while squeezing her sister’s butt.***


“Geez, daddy, when did you become such a buzzkill?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie, we just can’t take any chances right now — not without health insurance.”

“So, what? You just expect us to have tea parties and play house?”

“You can do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t pose a risk of injury.”

“Well, you’re lucky were not rambunctious boy babies.”

“Sweetie, I feel terrible either way.”

“Why should we make all the sacrifices?”

“Hey, I gave up basketball — you know how much I love to hoop it up.”

“Don’t you think your bones are a little old for hoops, daddy?

“Phft! I’m in better shape than most 25-year-olds!”

“You can not be serious! Hey daddy, Buddha called and he wants his belly back!”

“Whatever, lame-o! I’m actually taking a break from drinking.”

“Doesn’t this all strike you as odd, daddy?”


“The paradox — you’re healthier without health insurance.”

“You know, sweetie, I never thought about it that way.”

“Maybe we’d be better off without it.”

“Sure, unless someone suffers a catastrophic injury.”

“The hospital would still have to treat you, daddy.”

“Sure, but we’d be in financial ruins.”

“So, health insurance has nothing to do with health?”

“In a way, sweetie, it’s more about protecting your credit and finances.”

“The whole system stinks daddy! Why should we subsidize the healthcare costs of smokers and degenerates?”

“Smokers actually pay more, sweetie.”

“Why stop there? What about obesity?”

“Well, smoking is a choice, sweetie. Obesity is a condition.”

“Ok, so charge people more for overstuffing their pie holes.”

“Actually, when you crunch the numbers — smokers, boozers, and the obese actually cost less than health nuts.”

What’chu talkin bout, Willis?”

“Unhealthy folks die fast and young — the pious die a slow costly death.”

“Oh, don’t get me started on the elderly, daddy — a bunch of good-for-nothing moochers.”

“Sweetie, it’s not all about the bottom line — a civilized society takes care of its most vulnerable.”

“Sure, but a civilized person recognizes when it’s time to throw in the towel — like the aged  Inuit of Northern Alaska.”

“I believe you’re referring to the practice of taking elderly Eskimos out to sea, and setting them adrift on an iceberg.”


“Sweetie, that’s a myth perpetrated by Western culture.”

“Oh boy, here comes a riveting history lesson.”

“You see, elderly members of the tribe were occasionally abandoned in the wilderness, but only during times of famine, and only upon the elder’s request.”

“Oh, so it’s like assisted suicide?”

“No, I’m pretty sure assisted suicide is about mercy — not utilitarian calculus.”

“That’s the problem — we’re too self-centered.”

“By the way, it wasn’t just the elderly — any non-contributing member of the group might be sacrificed for the greater good.”

“Even babies?”

“Yes, of course. Especially the females.”

“Is that a threat, daddy?”

“No, sweetie. Just perspective.”

“Well, lucky for me and Clemmy — postindustrial society is clearly better suited to women.”

“Wow, this conversation really slid off the rails.”

“Either way, daddy, you haven’t swayed my opinion — gluttons, sloths, and degenerates should  pay more!”

“Speaking of sloths, we don’t have to be completely sedentary — we can roll this tennis ball back and forth.” **rolls ball to Penny** 

“Oh boy!” **promptly rolls it back**

“Ok, daddy, what’s next?”


“C’mon, daddy. I’ve got cabin fever.”

“Good thing it’s not a real fever.”

“Well, if we don’t get out of the house soon, I’m gonna hop on the next iceberg.”

“Oh, I’ll gladly assist, sweetie.”

“Not so fast daddy — what’s your contribution here?”

“I get it sweetie — mom’s the breadwinner — but dad’s responsible for maintaining your life.”

“I got news for ya, daddy — you’re failing — miserably!”

“You can’t die of boredom, sweetie.”

***Penny attempts to climb on top of the dog.***

“Penny! What f*** are you doing?!”

“What does it look like?”

“It looks like you’re attempting to ride an arthritic dog.”

“Yes, but at least he has health insurance.”

“He can barely walk, sweetie. Here, get on my back.”

***Penny climbs up.***

“Weeee! Weeee!

“Ouch! Shit! Shit.”

“What’s wrong, daddy?”

“I think I just pulled my back.”

“Oh well, you had a good run, daddy — guess we have to put you down.”

***I’m writhing in pain.***

“Daddy, can we at least go to the playground? It’s so nice outside.”

“Just let daddy lay here for a second.”

“Daddy? DADDDY!?”

“Ok, sweetie.”

“The playground?!”

“Yes, but just the swings.”

“Good thinking, daddy. Big thrills with low risk.”


“Yay! Hey, Clemmy! Clemmy! Wake up!”

***Clemmy’s snoring***

“Shhh! Don’t wake her, sweetie. She’s got a cold.”

“Maybe it’s bronchitis.”

“It’s not bronchitis!”

“How do you know, daddy? Did she see a doctor?”

“No, I just know.”


“I googled it.”

“Hypocrite! You forbid us from googling medical issues.”

“Yes, but that was when we had health insurance.” 

***Penny starts typing into Google.***

“What are you doing?”

“Making sure I can’t die of boredom.”

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