15 October 1975 / Sydney, Australia

I’ve long been an advocate for healthcare for everyone. Yes, I took baby steps in my ideology to get there, starting with when I first got into medicine, and my advocacy for healthcare for everyone I know.

At that point, I knew a lot of people, and I gave it to them, whether they wanted it or not. Mailer, for instance, only wanted certain things done to him, many of which weren’t necessarily medical in any way. So there were a lot of details of my free coverage to work through.

As Magnus General expanded, many people I didn’t know started showing up for treatment. So, for them to qualify, we would have dinner together, exchanging many intimate and tedious details of our lives. Soon, I was having dozens of dinners every night, which may have been fine, but much of the company was… well, just because I know you, doesn’t mean I like you.

There had to be a better way, and eventually my theories spread simply to include just everyone. Since then, I’ve written numerous op/ed pieces and articles in papers all across the country expressing my thoughts. One of my latest was entitled, “The Match Game,” where I used an analogy of gambling politicians throwing lit matches at sick patients.

It’s this article that had apparently inspired a health care summit bearing the same name in Los Angeles. The whole thing was to be televised, and naturally, I was asked to participate. As luck would have it, I was already traveling to Australia with a scheduled layover in Los Angeles during the time of the summit, so I jumped at the chance to spread the word to a larger audience.

When I arrived, I immediately saw that the set up for debate and information dissemination was totally unique and innovative. There was a moderator and a panel of experts, of which I was one, and then two “laypeople.” The moderator would read statements regarding healthcare, leaving one key phrase out. Then everyone would write down what they thought that phrase was.

The laypeople, serving as stand-ins for regular Joes and Josephines, would reveal their answers first. Then us experts would reveal our scholarly thoughts.

The statements were mostly variations on common everyday things. One example was “That woman’s BLANKS were so large, she needed help getting on the bus.” For that, the layperson responded, “shopping bags,” which of course led to derisive snickers among the audience. When I answered “dozens of untreated goiters,” the audience was rightly repulsed and booed at the thought of a healthcare system that would allow this to happen.

Another one: “Dora wasn’t too pleased with Don when he ate her BLANKS minutes before the barbecue.” After the layperson responded “Potato Chips” to more derisive snickers, I responded, “black market penicillin for the treatment of her STDs.” Again more boos that Dora had to resort to shady underground dealings to treat her medical conditions.

Strangely many of the other experts often answered similarly to the laypersons, which just tells me we’ve got a long way to go if the experts are on the same level as the populace.

There was one expert who consistently garnered my respect: a Mr. Reilly, who’s unwavering responses of either “boobs” or “buns” to every question, while having a lighter tone than my answers, underscored the desperate need in our country for better women’s services. He was courageous given this is a regrettably male-dominated profession.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the summit early, to catch my flight to Sydney, on which I had time to prepare for my speech tomorrow on another issue close to my heart: abolishing the koala bear slave trade.

When I think again on the healthcare summit, part of me thinks it was a little odd, a little too “Californian.” But I must remain optimistic, and when I think of the actual content that was discussed, I think we’ll see free health care for everyone within the next few months.