Graphic from the New York Times.
Citing the most recent findings from research begun back in 1980 that shows a widening mortality gap between rich and poor, the Bush Administration will formally announce tomorrow morning a bold new initiative to close the mortality gap and to mandate world class standards for American life expectancy and infant mortalilty.
By 2020, the new program calls for the mortality gap to be closed and for 100% of citizens to attain the American median life span. The President remarked, "If the American people are going to compete in the world economy, our citizens can't be getting sick and dying on us. American business will need healthy workers if the American economy is going to be continue to dominate--but dominate, you know, in a good way."
In order to carry out this sweeping new policy initiative, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control will mandate annual testing of all citizens who receive their health care from public health clinics. Each state will be charged with setting testing standards and targets to assure that all citizens will be healthy by 2020. If any group of citizens in a community falls below the annual health targets established by the state, stiff sanctions will be imposed on the local public health clinics and the health care workers. If mortality rates are not raised to the targets in subsequent years, the local public health clinic employees will be fired, and private corporate MMOs (Mortality Management Organizations) will be hired by states to manage public health clinics.
Another health care choice option: Poor citizens with failing health will be offered a publicly-funded health voucher to pay for health care from a private clinic, which will not be required to do the annual health testing. When asked how citizens will know if their health is improving or if the mortality gap is closing if the private clinics collect no data, the soon-to-be named head of NIH, Dr. Reid Lyon responded, "The market will decide which clinics are doing the best job, and if a few people die along the way, that is a small price to pay for a 100% at full life expectancy." When it was pointed out to Dr. Reid that the health vouchers will not provide enough money for working class citizens to receive care from the best private health providers, Lyon assured reporters that the free market will take care of these discrepancies.
When the President was asked how life expectancy and infant mortality in poor, minority communities could be improved simply by raising mortality targets on annual health screenings, the President angrily responded by saying that "minority folks can live as long as other regular folks if they are expected to be healthy and if public health clinics are held accountable, and anyone who disagrees with that simple fact is showin' the bigotry of low life expectancies."
The NLCLB Program will be formally announced at the Waffle House near Crawford, Texas tomorrow, April 1.