Both the House and the Senate have passed a bill to deal with the looming Medicare crisis and President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law as early as next week. Instead of cutting back on benefits, which would have been politically unpopular, the new law will place a $1,000 bounty on the head of every citizen over the age of 75.
Most members of Congress see this as a win-win situation as the law will not only cut costs but will also likely significantly reduce the number of Medicare claimants. However, a few naysayers such as 90-year old Senator Robert C. Byrd are somewhat less sanguine.
"I can certainly see how this new legislation will reduce our healthcare commitments," said the aging West Virginia senator. "But I’m not sure it will benefit me or many of my friends."
Alaska’s senior senator, 85-year old Ted Stevens, was even more negative about the new law.
"I’m not totally against the bounty provision," said Stevens. "But when my colleagues didn’t even have the decency to write in an exemption for me and a handful of others, I really took offense."
The new law is slated to come into force just in time for the busy summer driving season. Senior citizens will be given fair warning about the new bounty but it is doubtful many of them will be able to take appropriate precautions in time.
"We expect this new provision will be particularly appealing to big city cab drivers," said government spokesperson I. M. A. Bureaucrat. "They’ll now likely be able to afford to buy a new taxi within days rather than years."
Although the new law will definitely help reduce increasing medical costs, some supporters were disappointed that the handgun rider did not pass.
"If we could have allowed unlimited handgun access to hospitals, seniors’ residences and retirement communities," said Mr. Bureaucrat. "I think we could have solved our healthcare crisis by the end of the year."