1. It was in those days that Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should have one-payer health care, called Caesarcare, which was paid by a mandatory tax levied over all the citizens.
2. And Caesar called together his council of elders, in one place, and they did primp and preen for the scribes, describing awful health care stories of yore, and they voted in favor of the health measure, which passed under an emergency provision against the will of the citizens of Judea, for the citizens were ill-informed, and knew not what was best for them.
3. Once passed after some time several bureaucrats came together before Caesar to report that Caesarcare was mostly functioning as planned, with long lines, much scrollwork and poor care, but that one rogue physician, called Jesus of Nazareth, was taking new patients and healing them, with 100 percent success, outside of the preferred provider network proclaimed by him.
4. And they told him that this Jesus was not charging for his services, and filing no claims with the central bureau.
5. And that his free health care was having an adverse effect on the Judean risk pool, leaving only the healthiest, who paid the lowest health care tax.
6. And Caesar waxed wroth on hearing this news, and asked the bureaucrats gathered, “Who is this Jesus of Nazareth, and what medical services does he perform for the citizens of Judea?”
7. One low-level bureaucrat approached Caesar, and told him, “Peter's mother-in-law lay still with a fever, and Jesus touched her hand, and the fever left her. Yet he charged nothing, nor offered follow-up treatments, nor diet or exercise instructions did he leave her, yet she is completely healed.”
8. Another manager from the northern sector spaketh also, telling him, “I heard a centurion approached Jesus, and told him that his servant was lying at home, paralyzed, and suffering greatly. Jesus told the centurion, ‘I will come and cure him,' and lo, though he scheduled no appointment, the servant was healed.'”
9. And Caesar rubbed his chin. “But how does Jesus' healing adversely affect Caesarcare, as decreed by the council?”
10. The bureaucrats told him, “Jesus charges no fees, and files no scrollwork in triplicate with Caesar, and the citizens are electing to forego their Caesarcare coverage in favor of Jesus' healing. Tax coffers are dropping, because Caesarcare is no longer needed by the people.”
11. Caesar's anger rose as he heeded the warnings. “Surely Jesus is not accepting those with conditions pre-existing,” he thundered. And the bureaucrats explained, “He not only accepts them, but also heals them in most unusual ways.”
12. One staff lawyer said, “He healed the deaf man from Decapolis with the speech impediment using most unorthodox methods, like sticking his fingers in the man's ears, spit and touching his tongue. Those methods are not defined under Caesarcare guidelines, and their use is not authorized.”
13. Another cost-benefit official spoke loudly, “What of Lazarus? The man was stone dead, and this Jesus raised him — no government health care can accept ‘formerly dead' as pre-existing, for should he seek coverage in the future such an acceptance would taint the risk-pool most adversely, and Caesarcare cannot maintain solvency with such undesirable members.”
14. And the health care high priest explained to Caesar that Jesus' healing of lunatics was prohibited explicitly by tiny language in the 5,000-tablet Aramaic health care law.
15. And Caesar mulled these events before he called a summit of the health care high priests and physicians, doctors and healers, and they came from all over Judea and Syria.
16. And once they arrived, Caesar handed out bleached white doctor-cloaks for those with none, and the scribes wrote most favorably of the event, as they were wont to do.
17. And Caesar spoke, “The Judean citizenry needs to turn from Jesus, and pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and that is their health care premiums, for they know not what is best for them.” And he said that physicians working outside the system cannot be tolerated, lest they run afoul of local legislation and face heavy fines.
18. And the health care high priest asked the leader of the network physicians the effect of Jesus on his business, and he told him, “I treated a woman for hemorrhages for twelve years, but she touched Jesus' cloak, and she was healed. Now, I am reimbursed by Caesarcare no more, and I received a missive facing a lawsuit for medical incompetence, all because of Jesus.”
19. “Now also Jesus has begun his own school of medicine, teaching others his unorthodox means of healing,” said one of the elders. “He is bestowing his 12 apostles authority over unclean spirits and to cure every disease, telling them he heals in glory of the Father, not for Caesar. We will see Caesarcare premiums drop almost a trillion shekels in lost taxes over 10 years, because of this Jesus, should he continue this healing and teaching, with no government license or authority.”
20. After the council Caesar ordered his elders to not be concerned with re-appointment or elections, for Caesarcare was too important, and he sent with them a health care mandate, in which he decreed that all citizens must carry Caesarcare, and see only those physicians in the Caesarcare network, lest they face dire consequences.
21. Then he contacted a friend named Pilate about what could be done to stop Jesus.
Dale Brumfield is a payroll services broker and writer who lives in Doswell.