Hel. Met. Law.

DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction. So far.


“License and registration, please, ladies.”

“Here you are, officer.”

“Thank you … New scooter?”

“New to us. Got it off craigslist. But it’s not our first ride.”

“I see. Where are your helmets?”

Helmets, officer? In Hawai‘i?? Too hot. Too dangerous. Can’t see with ’em on. Can’t be seen with ’em on either.”

“Kimo, call for 10-15, yeah? Sorry, Ms. Tsukumura, but I can’t let you be riding around town unless you and your passengers are wearing helmets.”

“But that’s crazy! Where’s the crime in that? We’re not hurtin’ anybody!”

“No, ma’am. You’re not hurting anybody. You’re hurting everybody.”


“You voted for the new nationwide health insurance plan, right?”

“Well, duh!

“And against the tax increases to pay for it, right?”

“Well, double duh!!

Well, Ms. Tsukumura, statistics show that motorbike riders who wear helmets cost the health insurance system much less per mile than riders who do not wear helmets. The new helmet laws are based on those statistics.”

Dammit, this is a free country!

“Not when your idea of freedom costs your fellow citizens more than they’re willing to pay. More than you’re willing to pay. Oh, there you are, Danno. Book ’em.”

“Ms. April Tsukumura, I place you under arrest. The charges are riding a motorbike on public roads without a helmet, behaving in a manner that poses an unacceptable risk to the national health insurance system, and resisting arrest. You have the right to remain silent …”


I may as well take the time to explain now.

I should first confess that I don’t actually know what the stats are regarding morbidity and mortality of helmeted vs. non-helmeted motorbike riders. I suspect, however, that the numbers are as the story has them. Which is convenient for the story’s point.

The current health insurance situation in these Untied States is a national shame. However, there’s a persistent fear that attempts at redress, including the current one, will make matters worse, not better. And I fear that the fear is reasonable.

I think that, for single-payer health care to work, citizens must understand, and be willing to pay, the true costs of the program. Citizens must also understand how each individual’s behavior affect the system, and be willing to change behavior so that it makes the minimum impact on the system. In other words, sure you can have free nationwide health care, so long as you don’t use it (except when absolutely necessary). Failure of citizens to understand this principle has bankrupted many a national health insurance program, and will, I think, bankrupt any system that We the People of these Untied States try to put in place.

In my opinion, there is no excuse for either the type or the tenor of the kiddie brawl current debate over American health care. I would trash the petty jealousies, useless ideologies, and Gestapo-tactic advertising used to sell both to the cadres of hate belonging to each camp, and focus the discussion on the facts, and developing the ability of a properly informed and reasoning citizenry to interpret and act upon those facts. Ceding individual responsibility to any agent, governmental or private, will induce that agent to take away your freedoms for its own benefit. Mr. Jefferson got that point (the struggle between Liberty and Power) exactly right.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. “In other words, sure you can have free nationwide health care, so long as you don’t use it (except when absolutely necessary). “

    Pft! In OUR society??? In the good ol’ U.S. of A? Where WE THE PEOPLE live for something (anything!) that’s FREE? FREE liver and onion flavored yougurt! Want some? … I do! I do! Can I have an extra one for my brother … he’s in a coma, and my cousin – she lost her job! Where WE THE PEOPLE will SUE our neighbor for swatting a fly on our property? WE THE PEOPLE NOT use something (anything) unless absolutely NECESSARY??? Pft!
    Heresy, I say!

  2. “…properly informed and reasoning citizenry …”

    if you would, kind sir, please advise me on where to find such citizenry.

    nobody i know is properly informed, they just take information as it comes through their television set, or radio, neighbor or what have you. very few people i know care about facts. they just want to talk, talk, talk about topics they have no facts for.

    as for reason! ha! what is the definition of that? reason takes effort, thought, compilation of facts, logic and a host of other things most everyone is too lazy to complete. why bother with reason when you can simply mimic what you saw on tv?

  3. Sadly, Melli & Polly are correct, and that doesn’t paint a pretty picture of us. I think “ugly American” should be changed to “loud-mouthed, uninformed, greedy American”.

    • In which case, Q, we’ll wind up with exactly the same kind of image that we presented to the world a century and a half ago. Except then, we were a pack of wierdos in the middle of nowhere. Now, we’re a pack of wierdos and everybody’s looking …

  4. Polly’s got it. I’m just shaking my head here! My niece (who lives in America) was shrieking at me on this subject, red face, tears in her eyes, on and on about how this president was DESTROYING her country, and finally when I could get a word in I asked if she’d read the legislation at all (then had to explain the big word).

    No of course not. Her information came from Psycho Pastor Pete (forget his real name, her ‘clergyman’) and Fox News debates. Oy.

    I don’t see why people who carry less health risks (wearing helmets, not smoking, etc) can’t pay less for their health insurance; it seems fair. But I have the feeling that if that happened, the high-risk people would be screaming and threatening law suits over discrimination.

    Living in Ireland I have free national healthcare. I’ve had several surgeries over the past 8 years with no problems, no charges, no paperwork, no bills. Wait time ranged from a few months for a carpal tunnel syndrom surgery (and I was given PT, arm braces and a prescription during the wait), to a few days for surgery to relieve other pain, to quick emergency care within minutes for pregnancy complications, twice. Believe me, national healthcare is not the end of the world!


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