The Medicare Christmas Tree
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and under their rugs
Seniors were dreaming of prescription drugs.
Their stockings were draped on the back of a chair
In hopes they’d be stuffed by Medicare.
I and my wife lay snuggled in bed
While visions of coverage danced in our heads.
When out on the lawn rose a chorus of voices
Singing of Medicare, handouts and choices.
The singing grew louder and louder, and soon
It sounded so fractured and so out of tune
That the melody and words were jumbled and hazy
Like the singers were drunk, or maybe just crazy.
We decided to see, and opened the door,
And there in the snow in a state of uproar
Were an army of Rs and an army of Ds
All dancing ’round the Medicare tree.
“Come out! Come out!” They screeched without waver,
“We’re handing out goodies, we’re handing out favors.
Our Medicare tree has such wide selection
We’re virtually assured of next year’s election.”
From the back of the pack, with a shove and a push,
Someone stepped out, it was President Bush.
Dazed like a deer, but with bravo and bluster
He rallied the troops with what force he could muster.
“Now, Frist! Now, Hassert! Now Cheney and Breaux!
Down the proverbial chimney we go!
Laden with gifts for all of our friends,
We’ll tie up tomorrow all the loose ends.”
They whooped and they hollered, their eyes danced with glee
As sugar plums fell from the top of the tree.
There was candy for docs, more things to be billed
Doughnuts for seniors, more holes to be filled.
A windfall for health plans and big pharmacy
Shook the green branches of the Medicare tree.
Money for hospitals, new mandates and regs
Anything someone could steal, bribe or beg.
It was a strange sight to see so many Rs
Handing out goodies from the government jar.
“‘Tis the spirit of Christmas,” Bush said with a wink,
“We’re more like the Ds than most people think.”
As the crowd partied hearty, I have to confess
I wondered whose job ’twas to clean up this mess
Of billions in costs, the mountains of debt,
But that’s for the future — we’re never there yet.
So we danced ’round the tree and joined in the fun,
Till the Rs and the Ds said we really must run
Back to DC and affairs of the nation
And the politics of accommodation.
I said to my wife as we watched them depart,
“This Medicare tree, it’s no work of art.
But here it stands, and though it may not be right,
It’s the law of the land, let’s call it a night!”
Feedback? Send it my way: Roger.Hughes@slhi.org.
*The Drift reflects the views of the author, and does not represent the official view of SLHI’s Board of Trustees and staff.