Republican Health-Care Reform Alternative Features Low-Cost Funerals

So you can go out, if not in good health, at least with your head propped up by a cheap pillow.

EADING THE charge against President Obama's health-care reform initiatives, Republicans have finally unveiled their opposing plan, whose linchpin is, according to House Minority Leader John Boehner, "our generous apportionment of one low-cost funeral per family, so that they can lower their loved one into the ground without going bust.

"Or any more bust, let's put it that way," Boehner amended, "seeing as how they may not have planned for the illness by keeping $8,000 set aside for high-deductible coverage. And about $20,000 for copays and co-insurance—and don't ask me to explain the difference! Heck if I know. But we don't sit around playin' the blame game just because you didn't plan ahead a little. We understand you're only human, not some Communist who wants the government to run your life.

"Anyway," continued Boehner, "our plan faces facts, as opposed to being a rinky-dink Democrat fairy tale where the government tells you what doctor you can go to. We don't tell you any such thing! We just hand out money for free, so you all can go bury that sick person you got coughin' up blood in the living room. Geese, Louise, who needs it."

The Republican plan outlines what is called the "Basic, All-American Funeral Package," which includes, for a flat fee of $100, such amenities as a "sturdy plywood casket" with polyfill pillow "for his/her eternal rest"; free rental of any local VFW or Knights of Columbus basement for the service; a fifteen-minute "upbeat eulogy, generic, with nickname of deceased inserted at no extra cost"; officiation by a "licensed religious practitioner of one of the three major faiths: Evangelical, Catholic, or Jew"; ham-and-cheese mini sandwiches "for up to fifteen guests"; and a "completely free basic condiment bar" to include mustard, mayo, relish, and sandwich pickles.

"I would just remind everyone to BYOB, then you're pretty much set," said Boehner. "We're not in the business of telling folks what to drink at a funeral, unlike some people I know."

Some critics have pointed out that the funeral package is not truly a flat $100, but contains several additional costs listed in the so-called fine print, such as a $300 non-refundable basement rental fee, a $75 copay, and a $55 "courtesy donation" to the officiating clergy.

"Hey," said Boehner, "to paraphrase: There ain't no such thing as a free funeral. Am I right, or am I right?"