I was as at the salon recently getting low lights to tone down the brightness of my blond highlights (I pay a lot of money for this balancing act), and when my foils were finished my stylist patted me on the shoulders and told me she had another client she needed to attend to and could I wait over there, somewhere, anywhere really, but just not here? I said sure, because I’m programed to be compliant when the request is reasonable on face. I found a spot at the “color bar” and began reading whatever was around. All was going well, my hair was processing as it should, I was reading away and drinking tea, comfortable and warm, and then time began to drag on. I had finished reading all the decent People magazines and started to look around the salon to people watch. It was interesting. It always is in a salon. I had been sitting for about 45 minutes and was curious how far along my stylist was with her other client. She was at the blow drying stage. Good, it shouldn’t be much longer now. Well, that was not entirely true, it was quite a bit longer actually, about 15 more minutes. I was really bored, hungry, and tired at this point and just wanted my hair done. In all of my urge to get the hair thing over with it occurred to me, because I had huge amounts of time to just sit and think, what if doctors did this kind of thing? They do, to a lesser degree, they will schedule back to back patients and hop from room to room. We’ve all sat through the patient juggle. But what if medical procedures were scheduled like hair appointments? What would that look like? I imagine being in the middle of an appendectomy and having my doctor pat me on my head and tell me I’m being moved to the patient-in-the-middle-of-a-procedure-but-at-a-good-place-to stop-so-the-doctor-can-start-another-procedure waiting area? We’d all be lying in there, on our gurneys, just hangin’ out for the world to see. Maybe occasionally a nurse would walk by and ask if we wanted tea, or coffee, or mineral water. They might have a nice selection of gossip mags to read while we wait, probably a T.V. turned to Jerry Springer or Divorce Court. At the better hospitals they would give hand massages while patients wait. We’d wait and wait, hoping that the footsteps outside door were those of a nice orderly coming for us to get sewn up so our body parts don’t fall out during yoga. Eventually we’d get put back together and sent home with two Tylenol and the latest trial size organic patchouli scented shampoo.
As I sat there in my salon chair thinking about how unfun that kind of hospital stay would be, it occurred to me that if I, a lowly member of the masses have thought about health care being run this way, it’s probable that someone really smart and powerful has as well. Health care is one of those tricky things, where as it should be run at a profit, it shouldn’t be harming patients to do it, however, if as a consumer I have the right to chose where and who I see because I pay for it, like I do at the salon, it’s in every hospitals best interest to not screw me over so I don’t take my money elsewhere. But, if I’m not in control of paying for it and no one else is either, the hospital has no incentive at all to treat me as a valuable consumer, and why should they, there’s always more where I came from and I have absolutely no illusions that treatment elsewhere will be any better, because it won’t be.
I love my salon. I like the hot tea, the nice seats, the friendly people. I pay more for the perks, because I want an “experience” when I go to the salon. I am willing to suffer on occasion from terminal boredom while I wait for my stylist to finish up with another client. Why do I not mind? Because, as a consumer, I can go anywhere to have my hair done, my stylist knows this and she recognizes the value of a tipping customer and although I wait, the end product is exactly what I want. My hair looks fabulous. This may or may not have been the case if she had had no incentive to correctly color my hair. If her lively hood wasn’t completely dependent on her ability to compete with a paying public. Think for a moment about this flip side of this argument, and this is where I think women would instantly get on board with dumping this insane idea of universal health care. What if salons were run by the government? What if the person working on your hair was rushed through salon school in order to fill the now overwhelming number of hair care specialist positions, since 330 million people now have access to universal hair care? You might think you’re getting layers and end up with a bob because that’s what some bureaucrat in D.C. says you need. And don’t even think about coloring your hair to cover up gray, that’s considered an unnecessary procedure and won’t be covered. Also, there will be no chemical straightening of curly hair because it’s too expensive and does not add to your quality of life. You may argue otherwise, but trust me, very smart White House bureaucrats have determined that’s not really the case and you are mistaken. So there, don’t you feel better now that it’s been explained to you.
Women would burn Washington if the government took away a woman’s right to choose when and how she cares for her hair. Something I would never advocate. It’s just dumb, and so is having the government take away my right to choose my own health care. It’s important to remember the worst case scenario for government run health is death, and that is far worse than a bad perm.