Rolling the Dice

Rolling the Dice

by George Morse

“Hello?… Hello?… Is this the health insurance company?”

“Yep… William Robert Health Insurance of Las Vegas, Nevada.”

“Uh… I have a question about coverage.”

“Sure. Fire away!”

“My wife and I live in New York, but we took a chance on your company. We bought your Low-Cost, High Value Plan.”

“Good thing the new health care law let you shop around and buy an outta-state plan. No more payin’ for coverage you didn’t need.”

“Yeah, we’re on a tight budget, and those new tax credits don’t help much. Your company had the lowest premiums. How long have you been in business, anyway?”

“Company’s been around a few years. Small-potatoes operation. Funny story, though—I won it last year in a poker game… Called that sucker’s bluff!… Then, I changed the company name, got it goin’, and with the new laws, it’s turned out to be a real gold—I mean, it’s been a real pleasure to serve the public. So what’s your problem?”

“Well…my wife hasn’t been feeling so good lately.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Our primary doctor said it was a problem with her colon. He sent her for some tests.”


“Yeah. They said it’s colon cancer. She needs surgery, chemo, and radiation.”

“Lemme guess. Expensive?”

“Seventy-five thousand.”

“Whoo-ee! That’ll bust the old bank account!”

“For sure. The hospital checked our policy and found that nothing is covered. Some kind of exclusion.”

“What’s your name, buddy?”

“Dave Johnson.”

“Wife’s name?”

“Michelle. Michelle Johnson.”

“Spell that?”


“Hang on a sec. … Never good at spellin’… Bambi?… Bambi honey?… Look in that pile of file folders, will ya? … Yes, darlin’, I’ll take my ‘goddam alligator boots’ off the desk… Now, Bambi, don’t go callin’ me Billy Bob! I’m on the phone here! Come on, sweet cheeks, see if you can find a Michelle—”

“Johnson! Michelle Johnson from New York.”

“Catch that, honeybunch? It’s Johnson! … Hey, she found it! Sometimes, we have a little trouble with the ol’ filin’ system.”

“So, what’s the problem with our coverage?”

“Lemme have a look-see. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Oh, there! I see it. According to her application, Ol’ Michelle has been takin’ over-the counter antacids.”

“Yeah. Tums, Rolaids, stuff like that. She thought it was a stomach problem.”

“How long has she been takin’ those?”

“A few months, maybe.”

“Well, there you go. Gotta be the same problem. She shoulda gone to the doc right away. Ya gotta nip these things in the bud. Ya don’t, they fester. That’s why it’s an exclusion. It’s in your contract, page one-eleven.”

“Jesus! Is there some kind of appeal?”

“Your contract requires binding arbitration.”

“How long will THAT take?”

“A year. Maybe two.”

“WHAT? The doc said she’ll DIE if she doesn’t get surgery soon.”

“Sorry to hear that ol’ buddy. Look on the bright side, though. You’ve got a little time. Why don’t you and the wife come out to Vegas for one last fling? We can get you a great room, maybe comp you a dinner or two. Oh, and we can find you some sweet deals on airfare, too. What do you say?”

“Are you NUTS?”

“Hey buddy, just thinking about your wife here. Tryin’ to give her a good time before she—“


“We prefer to say ‘cashes in her chips’.”

◊ ◊ ◊

George Morse
George Morse lives in Hamburg, New York

6 thoughts on “Rolling the Dice

  1. There are at least two ways to react to this piece: as a political statement and as a literary effort. From a political point of view, I am a supporter of a single payer approach to health care. FFP may or may not be the best forum for debating the pros and cons of that approach. As a literary effort, a humor piece, this works well, with a nice play on the metaphor of rolling the dice replacing planning ahead. AGB

  2. Nice piece, George. Using all dialog to tell a story is sometimes difficult, but the back and forth dialog here really makes this story go. Good one!

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