VALLE MIOPE, CALIFORNIA — When 56-year-old Hank Collins received word from his doctor that he had stage two testicular cancer, he says he was “shocked and scared” but he had a plan.
Even though Collins’ construction business has not been booming for a few years, he refused to take advantage of California’s Obamacare exchange, citing his lifelong membership in the Republican Party and what he calls a “deep aversion to socialism in all its forms.” This means that Collins pays out of pocket for all his medical expenses and takes the tax penalty at the end of each year. However, when the cancer diagnosis came in, Collins admits he wasn’t sure that he could afford the chemotherapy his doctors were telling him he’d need. With funds dwindling fast, Hank devised a plan.
“I walked into my gun closet,” Hank said, “you know, the closet where I keep all my guns? And I remembered, ‘Oh yeah! I’m an American! I have a constitutional right to all these guns! I realized right then and there that I didn’t need healthcare to be a right, even though I very clearly cannot afford the treatments I need.”
Collins said he decided to go down to his doctor’s office and negotiate a good rate on his treatments, as well as to offer a bargain he hoped they’d not be able to refuse.
“So I go into my doctor’s office and have a chat with the lady that runs his office,” Hank told us, “and I asked if they could take some form of alternative payment from me. She stared at me with this blank expression and asked me what I meant.”
So, Collins says he explained to the office manager that his constitutional right to bear arms was “clearly and obviously” more valuable to him than a constitutional right to healthcare would be. Therefore, Collins argues, his doctor should be willing to take his right to bear arms as payment for his medical treatment. The office manager, however, did not see it the same way.
“I’m sorry sir,” the office manager told Collins, “We need actual, real money for our services.”
Hank says this enraged him. He begged and pleaded for her to see it his way, but the office manager simply would not budge on this point. Collins was stymied.
“But, I don’t have the money for this treatment,” Collins said, “and without it, I could die.”
The office manager said she sympathized, but she couldn’t do much more than that.
“Look, what if the government helped you pay for your treatment through the taxes you and everyone else pay,” the office manager said, “and that way it works just like private insurance, it’s just that you have one, single negotiator of the rate that’s paid so you have much more bargaining power?”
Collins wanted to hear more.
“What if the government used its enormous purchasing power to bring down healthcare costs as much possible,” the office manager asked, “and you could just come here, not even have a co-pay, and leave with your vital, life saving medical treatment paid for already?”
Hank was ecstatic.
“Yes! That sounds perfect! How do I get that,” Hank asked.
The office manager smiled.
“Move to Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, or the United Kingdom,” she said, “because we’re the only developed nation that still sees profits as being more important than people. Sorry. But good luck with your cancer, and I hope your constitutional freedoms provide you all the comfort you need as you pass on from this life.”