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Why Reasonable People Should Fear Government-Run Health Care | Henry Kelley

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Why Reasonable People Should Fear Government-Run Health Care | Henry Kelley

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Why Reasonable People Should Fear Government-Run Health Care
Friday, September 21, 2012 — Henry Kelley

I am a frequent critic of the government running too many things the private sector can run better. One of the first retorts I hear is, “What about the military? You conservatives say government can’t do anything right. Your government-run military killed Osama bin Laden!” 

While I point out the obvious –- we haven’t won a war since 1945 and defense is in our Constitution -- if you haven’t been around the military, you don’t know how “efficient” it can be. 

I am a designated caregiver for my retired military father and as such, I have to get a pass from two nearby Air Force bases to get on base to pick up his prescriptions.  

Here is my story of trying to obtain an ID card to get my father’s medications.

My father is 100-percent disabled from Vietnam, is on oxygen, has skin cancers from Agent Orange, and is generally unable to walk more than 100 feet due to a parachute accident. That is to say, his chute failed to open properly and he had an accelerated trip with an abrupt stop. Ignoring the medical miracles involved, I am his designated caregiver.

We went to Hurlburt Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, a secure base that is home to Air Force Special Operations Command. The ID office is inside the base, inside a secure building. But first, I have to get a pass to get on base, and then present said pass twice to get to the ID office. Which begs the first question – shouldn’t this office be outside the base?

Once I reach the ID desk, I give the desk sergeant the documentation needed to obtain a caregiver’s pass, a letter on a physician’s letterhead that very, very specifically details the requirements for my father’s care. Once I get my special ID, I am allowed unescorted privileges on base. 

Well, sort of. While I am allowed unescorted access, I’m not allowed to pick up my dad’s prescriptions without him present. So I can get on a secure base by myself, but I can’t do anything with this access.

The desk sergeant also tells me, “Your father’s ID has a Social Security number on it. That’s not allowed anymore.” I politely ask, “Do I need that fixed today or can it wait?” 

“It can wait,” he said ominously.

After also learning that dad's prescription is not available at Hurlburt, we head to Eglin AFB about 10 miles away, which has an ID pass office outside the gate. So far, so good. I dutifully present my father’s ID, doctors note and driver’s license, and I’m told, “Your father’s ID is invalid. We can’t issue your pass.” 

I protest. “But they did it at Hurlburt.” 

Drum roll please.  “THEY are on a different system. Your dad needs a new ID, and you can’t get one until his is fixed.”

“He’s waiting in the car. Let me wheel him in,” I said, having planned ahead.  

“Well,” the new desk sergeant replies. “We can’t issue his ID here. That’s at a different building, inside the base. You need to go there, get his ID, and then return here. Let me get you a temporary pass to get on base so you can get your dad’s new ID. Then return here to get your new ID. 

“But you should call ahead. They are always busy,” she says ominously. 

So I call.  And I’m told that yes, I need to make an appointment, but I can only do so online. 

“So let me get this straight. You work at the office. I’m speaking to a human. But I have to go online to schedule an appointment.”  

“Yes.” Click. 

Fortunately, there is a third Air Force base nearby – Duke Field, where the legendary Doolittle Raiders of World War II (the last time we won a war) trained in 1941-42. It’s a nice day so we go to lunch, get refueled and drive up to get my parents’ new ID cards.  

We approach the guard station and naturally, I need another pass to get on this base. Once through, we appear to see our luck changing. This is a small base, the line is short and we are out in 30 minutes with brand new ID cards, sans Social Security numbers. 

Back to Eglin, where I am issued a new caregiver ID. Now, I have unescorted privileges and the ability to pick up my father’s prescriptions without my dad present. So on the same day, I get two permanent ID cards for two military bases to start the ability to get healthcare services, having negotiated two sets of rules from the same military.

Keep in mind, this was just to get an ID card. It doesn’t have the slightest thing to do with getting actual health care.

And you wonder why those of us closest to the government dread more government?

Henry Kelley, a Fort Walton Beach business owner, is a leader of the Florida tea party movement and a columnist for Florida Voices.

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