Dear Mrs. Irmagarde,

I have been working in my capacity as a health insurance applicant screener since my graduation from medical school. I am on several waiting lists for internships at 6 different hospitals because of low grades and coming from a non-prestigious on-line medical school. I need a surgery rotation because the YouTube classes were really hard to follow. And my neighbors were getting suspicious when their pets kept going missing.

My current job is to call people applying for health insurance and ask them questions about their preexisting conditions. The company’s training program was quite comprehensive! I learned more about some conditions than I did in medical school! For example, did you know that if you are over the age of 50 and have more than two preexisting conditions that you are going to die before you reach 65 because we won’t be giving you any insurance? I never knew that.

We are trained to be really friendly and cozy up to our callers and get them to say terrible things about their health. In this process, many time, callers are so comforted by speaking to me that they ask if they can send me a “gift” as thanks for listening to what will they believe will result in health insurance coverage. Sometimes the “gift” is offered in a sideways, wink wink kind of way as cash for approving them through. Of course I can’t do this for everybody, but I sure could use some extra cash to pay student loans!

Would it be all right if I took, oh say, maybe two “gifts” a week? I’m processing about 15 patients a day and turning 98 percent of them down. Two more a week would not be noticed by supervisors and I’d be careful to pick those with likely non terminal preexisting conditions, so the company won’t be screwed. By the way, about 99 percent of the ones turned down would fit this description, so I figure it’s no big whoop.

What do you think?

Dr. Death

Dear Dr. Death,

Hon, I think you should put them all through without taking any bribes. Do this as long as you can until you get hauled in to your supervisor. It will take three warnings over a period of time before you’re fired, but in that time you can probably get several hundred deserving folks covered and that way you’ll be saving at least some lives.

I suspect, though, that chances are you’re not that much of a humanitarian judging by your conscience juggling how many “gifts” to take.

If you aren’t willing to do this, then take 4 or 5 “gifts’ a week. It’ll take longer for you to get caught, your bills will get paid faster and at least some folks will get health insurance. Let your co-workers know about this, but anonymously, so everyone can do it, if they’re not already, which I suspect they are.

And, while I give this awful advice, hon, I will admonish you to give a portion of your “gifts” to the local free clinic as some penance for accepting bribes.

Meanwhile, you should tell the folks you’re turning down that they’re going to have to shut up and suck it up till Medicare kicks in.

IB Crabby

Tell Mrs. Crabby all!

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