Vol. 1, Issue 5, June 10, 2003
The Power of Lemons and Onions!
The Voice Of Reason

Medical Insurance to Cover Vodka

The Association of Medical Insurers (AMI) announced that it would recommend providing prescription drug coverage for vodka when used as a palliative care measure.

"Our goal is to ensure that our clients receive the most appropriate and cost-effective care," said industry spokesmen in a press release. "We feel that the addition of this highly efficacious product will enable thousands of people to effectively self-medicate for a wide variety of common conditions. What's more, vodka is refreshing and all-natural."

Palliative care has traditionally been defined as the active, total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychosocial, social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. While it has usually been associated with terminal illness, the AMI has expanded the definition to include chronic or even readily treatable conditions.

"Our research has found that consumption of three or more alcoholic beverages a day is just as effective as prescription medications for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, gout, gonorrhea, gangrene, post-operative sepsis, depression, anxiety, hearing loss, rheumatism, and the vapors," said the AMI statement.

Consumer advocates have protested the move, observing that the full text of the AMI recommendation also calls for substantial reductions in coverage of traditional medical treatments, including many kinds of surgery, expensive antidepressants, and high-end antibiotics.

"There is a suspicious correlation between the expense of a given treatment, and whether or not the AMI guidelines recommend prescribing vodka instead," said Myra Vanderveen, a spokesperson for the AARP, at the AMI press conference. However, Ms. Vanderveen seemed less aggrieved after taking three Harvey Wallbangers for her sciatica.

The pharmaceutical industry has also protested, though not as strongly as some had anticipated. "We can always sell overseas," said Pfizer spokesman G. Huffington. "You've just got to follow the trends." Shortly afterwards, Pfizer announced a hostile takeover of Absolut.

Some consumers were taking a positive attitude as well. "I am looking forward to treating my diabetes with Bloody Marys rather than those damn shots," said one patient.


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