Dear Adrian Gore

I would like to get my name onto Discovery Health’s network of approved doctors.

I understand quite a few people are upset at being told that they are no longer allowed to visit the doctor of their choice, and must instead be treated by one who is on your list. What these idiots don’t seem to understand is that medical aid is there for your benefit, not theirs. You have a certain lifestyle to maintain and if they also want to own fancy cars and big houses, then let them start their own scam … I beg your pardon, scheme.

I must say that I have previously been reluctant to join your network of approved doctors. By not being on the list, I have been able to charge exorbitant fees to cover the cost of running my practice, as well as sustain my cocaine habit and my weekends away with top-drawer Russian girls. I have always believed that overcharging patients is a doctor’s fundamental right that is even entrenched in the Hippocritical Oath, and there was a time when I would have emigrated to Canada sooner than join your network which, I thought, smacked of backdoor socialism.

However, Canada wouldn’t have me. Speaking in the strictest of confidence, I must admit that I am not a terribly good doctor. Even though I have been practicing for a number of years, I never seem to improve. It’s the most peculiar thing. What I need, essentially, are more patients. And, obviously, more money.

As one of your approved doctors, or, hopefully, neurosurgeons, I will make damn sure that none of my patients need any kind of treatment that will place undue financial strain on Discovery Health.

For example, if someone comes in complaining of a brain tumour, instead of performing a lavish operation involving life support machines and scalpels and things, I will give them two aspirin and tell them to call me in the morning. I work afternoons only, so this suits me fine. In return, you reimburse me R7.50. I can also do cancer treatments very cheaply. Tree branches make perfectly adequate splints for broken limbs and, being something of a handyman, I have my own circular saw so you need not worry about amputations costing you an arm and a leg. Nausea and persistent vomiting is usually caused by a hangover and can be cured with half a beer. And I can cut out expensive hospital admissions altogether by setting up a couple of camping mattresses in the garage. The petrol and paint fumes will provide a cheap anaesthetic for those who absolutely insist on surgery.

In return for helping you, I expect you will want to help me too. May I suggest a modest cut of your members’ contributions? That would seem fair.

Even though Discovery Health has R5-billion in reserve, this would be gone in no time at all if you had to keep on paying out claims submitted by so-called doctors and snake oil specialists who splash out on expensive treatments for malingerers who claim to be suffering from illnesses with unpronounceable names. A lot of diseases – leukemia, for one – can easily be treated with a hot toddy and a shot of brandy before bed. I can get Klipdrift at cost so you needn’t worry about that.

Once word gets out that I am on Discovery’s approved list and that all claims will be paid out in full, I expect I will be swamped with patients. Have you considered branching out? Many of my patients will want to know where they can get their cars fixed or where they can go to get good, clean prostitutes. Discovery could have lists of approved mechanics, approved brothels, approved plumbers, approved lawyers, approved estate agents and so on. Pull this one off, Mr Gore, and it won’t be long before you are more powerful than God. If you consider yourself to have already attained this status, I do apologise.

Doctors have been getting away with murder and the free market system has been begging for a swift kick in the teeth for a long time. Well done, partner.

To your wealth,

Dr Benjamin Trovato MBChB

PS. I live in a fishing village just this side of the Namibian border and would appreciate it if you could inform members that I am your approved specialist in the Western Cape. If they are strong enough to get to me, they can’t be all that sick.


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