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The problem with health reform isn't the reform part

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By Kes Colbert

I can tell you the problem with the heath care “reform.” The proposed legislation is 1,000 pages long! Hello! Gibbon’s extraordinarily wordy and detailed description of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” wasn’t much longer. And it took six volumes and covered centuries. “War and Peace” came and went with fewer pages. “Gone with the Wind” was barely a thousand pages. And I couldn’t make it through it; I fell asleep around about the time Scarlett took her third husband.   

This document is too big to blame on one “junior congressman” from up North. I fear some of our representatives had to be involved. And they’re expecting us to digest and comprehend a thousand word document that doesn’t have one character in it as dynamic as Julius Caesar, as precious as Melanie Hamilton or as roguish as Rhett Butler. No wonder people are scratching their heads.

I’m not necessarily for or against here. I’m just supposing out loud that length, by nature, makes for confusion. Brother L. H. Hatcher used to drift off into some pretty lengthy discourses on the importance of John the Baptist or them Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. I was already thinking about the fried chicken and the potato salad that was waiting as soon as he could wrap this thing up. The longer he talked the more confused I got. Was John the one with the long hair that married Delilah? Or is he the beloved disciple that got the “revelation” in the end? And was it Daniel that climbed into the fire with Shad and the boys? Or was it someone else? I just couldn’t follow the speechifying.

Let’s not complicate health care beyond all reason. It ought to be four pages long. The first page should state who gets it. The second page could tell us how much it is gong to cost. The third, who we thank if it succeeds. And the fourth page will state who is responsible and what their exact punishment is if it doesn’t work.

 I wonder if in any of those one thousand plus pages mentions SSS Tonic. That and castor oil was our heath plan in the ’50s. The castor oil was administered daily to ward off coughs, croup, rickets, warts and evil spirits. The SSS Tonic was for everything else. I kid you not. Nobody knows for sure exactly what the paregoric elixir contained but I guarantee you it could cool you down if you had a fever or warm you up if you had the chills. It was great for diarrhea and equally effective if you were constipated. You could drink it, rub it on your chest or mix it with a spider web to make a compress to stop the bleeding. We sprayed any leftover SSS on our fence rows to kill the weeds.

Something worked! I don’t know if it was the sunshine and turnip greens, the outdoor labor or the buttermilk and cornbread. We were an incredibly healthy generation.

The powers-that-be can say, “Well, it is much more complicated today” or “This is a different time” or “It is a complex problem that the masses don’t understand” 'til the cows come home… Give us a four-page explanation and see if we can get it!