Sunday, November 08, 2009
another shot, please...
i got a flu shot at work last week.
the next day, it was announced that the company had been sold.
the next day, the u.s. house passed an historic healthcare reform bill.
these things are all connected.
ordinarily i wouldn't have bothered with the shot, because i'm not in a high-risk group and i'm not fond of shots.
but mrs. spaceneedl has asthma, and if she gets the flu the repercussions could be very bad, indeed. "but if she gets a shot, shouldn't that obviate the need for you to get one?"
you might think so. but you'd be wrong. because the shots don't cover all the permutations of the flu. and even if you get the shot, you still might get the flu, and pass it along. and if someone near you gets it, your odds of getting it go up.
so to minimize the chance that the missus might contract this year's version of a seasonal virus, i got the shot. it was free, sponsored by my employer.
but as we've all learned during the recent "discussions" of healthcare, costs are rising exponentially every second. in the time it takes you to read this sentence, the cost of a simple flu shot has gone up an order of magnitude. don't trouble yourself with the math: no one really knows how to calculate it. but rest assured, it's a lot.
project that cost over a company's entire employee population, and suddenly it becomes prohibitively expensive to stay in business.
to avoid the inevitable severe losses, the only prudent option is to sell the venture to a much larger conglomerate.
the reason this makes sense is that the really large interests can better afford to absorb mind-numbing losses. for those interests of a certain size, if the decline gets too steep the government steps in and declares them "too big to fail." the losses are subsidized with taxpayer money, and everyone goes home happy. because as dick cheney famously opined, "deficits don't matter."
where was i?
a shot of capital. that's what businesses, trying to do the right thing by their employees, require in a world of healthcare costs run amok. and that's what leads some to "wholly owned subsidiary" status.
so on thursday, the shots. on friday, the announcement. we'd been bought, lock, stock and needl. if only someone, or several someones, in a position to make a difference, could have done something to turn the tide of history in another direction. some body like...the democrat-controlled congress, for example.
in classic fashion, these well-meaning souls rode over the hill hoisting the banner of healthcare reform. one day late.
well, one day late for the wholly pwned spaceneedl sprockets, that is -- sold into subsidiary-hood.
so what's the the takeaway here?
it's all mrs. spaceneedl's fault. if she were more discriminating about her pre-existing conditions, none of this would have been necessary. for want of some non-inflamed bronchial passages, a company was sold.
and somewhere a butterfly fluttered by, unperturbed.