While preexisting conditions and required coverage have taken the main stage on the health care reform bill, many of the smaller changes hold just as much weight in the future of America’s health. These changes and additions have been largely ignored by mainstream media despite several billion dollars allocated to new preventative care initiatives.
Additionally, the bill includes some surprising fine print regulations. Most regulations won’t take effect immediately, but the sum of so many new laws and restrictions could cause major repercussions on our system over the next several years.
Finally, while the bill is certainly heavy on spending, there are several programs included to reduce overall health care costs, but such programs appear highly unorthodox on a first reading. The Worker Bees and I have combed through thousands of pages of minutiae to find nine lesser known stipulations, clauses, regulations, and programs in the new bill.
1. Emergency Lap-Band treatments covered under government-offered insurance plan.
Lap-Band surgery has been credited as a legitimate and necessary procedure in certain situations and will be covered entirely under state and government assisted plans. Because many pundits claim the procedure is unnecessary, the surgery will be reserved for patients who have already exhausted conventional forms of weight loss such as eating low fat foods and running on a treadmill.
2. Insurance documentation course to be added to elementary education.
To prepare youngsters for future medical decision making, all public elementary schools will be required to teach an insurance documentation course to fourth grade students. Children will learn how to read insurance jargon and how to navigate through red tape when denied treatment for the first time. Additionally, students will learn life-practical skills such as how to pressure a PCP into prescribing the most heavily advertised medications, and what to pack into an emergency kit in case of total medical system failure. The insurance course will replace elementary physical education.
3. Indigestible feces content in CAFO beef to be eradicated.
Due to recent public outcry over meat and poultry production standards which permit “acceptable” levels of feces in market meats, a new policy will reduce the allowable feces content in CAFO beef to 0% by the year 2014. While eliminating feces from CAFO-raised products is impossible, a 73 million dollar stipend has been awarded to Monsanto to genetically modify cows to produce nutrient dense, flavor-rich, digestible feces. Incorporating the genetically modified, safe cow waste into meat would completely bypass all feces restrictions. The digestible feces should hit fans by 2012.
4. Statins approved for general consumption, given the go-ahead as a food additive.
Many popular cholesterol-lowering medications have been approved for public mass consumption. Over the next three years, statins will be used as food additives to regulate foods that would otherwise raise cholesterol. Kraft already has plans for a Stat’n Mac’n Cheese. And Pfizer and Baskin-Robbins are currently working together to produce 31 statin-filled flavors of ice cream by 2011.
5. USDA Food Pyramid replaced with Food Trough.
Due to rising complaints about the archaic food groups included in the traditional USDA food pyramid, a new “food trough” has been designed to adequately reflect modern foods and eating habits. Rather than a pecking order of specific food groups, the trough appears as a swill of ingredients, traditional foods blended with chemically reduced corn byproducts. The imagery of the old “pyramid” diagram was confusing, often leading Americans to believe food was something to be climbed rather than something to stick one’s face in. Additionally, the new trough design allows for future food group discoveries and foods that do not easily lump into particular groups such as binding gums, preservatives, and hot pockets.
6. Bacon tax.
Working under the common knowledge that bacon is unhealthy, a twenty seven cent tax will be attached to each strip of bacon sold after May 18, 2010. The bacon tax could net over 14 billion dollars in the first five years, though 80% of that revenue will be set aside to bolster police and security forces for the impending May 19 bacon riots.
7. 42 Million dollars allotted to reduce the growing number of celebrity fad diets.
With over 70 outbreaks of celebrity fad diets in 2009 (up from 63 in 2008), Congress has implemented a series of regulations and initiatives to reduce the number of celebrity fad diets by as much as 40% by the year 2014. A fad diet hotline will be established for celebrities who have suffered from a recent bout of lemonade/cayenne fasting, and all new celebrities will be required to sign an “I will eat more than cabbage soup” pledge. Gwenyth Paltrow alone is being paid 2.3 million dollars to “eat normal” for a period of three years. And Kirstie Alley has been legally restricted from creating any more reality television shows.
8. Easy Cheese abolished.
In what is being hailed as one of the few non-partisan stipulations of the bill, Easy Cheese has been reclassified as a level 5 narcotic and will now only be available by prescription.
9. “No Child Left Behind” replaced with “No Child Left Unmedicated”.
Under the new plan, school nurses will be replaced with a system of self-serve procedures and medications available to elementary students based on classroom achievement. Students will be expected to use the knowledge gained from the earlier mentioned insurance documentation course to fill out all necessary application material for proper self-medication.
Tell everyone what you think about these stipulations in the comment board. Happy April 1st!