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‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the core of President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill means millions upon millions of previously uninsured Americans will now be covered. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay a higher tax.
What was left unsaid was the effect it will have on professional athletes. These guys hate to pay taxes, so bet your boots they’ll be first in line to sign up for the government plan. But will it offset the potential tax burden incurred if they sit this one out?
You bet. An exhaustive study of the bill by this blog and insight from a deeply-implanted source — the guy who brings Obama his morning Cup-O-Joe — have uncovered a wealth of hidden benefits ObamaCare will make available to our professional athletes.
So, folks, get your pens ready to sign on the dotted line with the full, comforting knowledge that our government will attend well to our heroes in shorts, pads, pinstripes, sweaters, and other athletic apparel.
Here’s a partial list of what they can expect.
FIRE AND CELL: This actually was only added a few days ago. The stipulation reads that athletic showplaces such as Madison Square Garden must hang a hammer next to their hallway fire extinguishers. If in the event of a fire or, let’s face it, a bad loss, players will no longer have to break the glass with their bare fists. An addendum covers thumb injuries and associated costs (league fines?) for tweeting obnoxious fans with offensive retorts.
The clause is not retroactive to the days prior to the court’s decision.
“Great,” said Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire. “So I can’t get my 50 Gs back? What about the stitches in my hand? That’s on me, too? What the heck have those justices been doing all this time, playing pinochle?”
DRUG PLAN: No, not the aspirin, vaccinations, and medications the rest of us mortals use. This clause provides a cost break for dedicated workout gurus in charge of bulking up their clients and/or said clients’ wives. The list of covered drugs does not include steroids because, well, that would just be wrong. But just about anything else is covered under the sun. Clients cannot be forced to hold their arms out for independently-administered blood tests, or be forced to testify before a congressional subcommittee.
“Ca-ching! I’m back in business, baby!” said a jubilant Brian McNamee, former trainer of major league pitching great Roger Clemens.
The clause limits average people to generic brands only.
CASTS AND WALKING BOOTS: These are all free of charge with proof of injury. Athletes providing their own lawyers must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their injuries resulted directly from an opponent’s system of bounties. Bounties are defined under this clause as any organized game plan, plot, or musings to take out an opponent for a minimum of $100 per stretcher job. Guilty parties will be charged court costs and be forced to sit out the first quarter of the next game — even if it’s a big one.
“Goodell was behind this, I know it,” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said as he stormed off the steps of the Supreme Court. “I’m done. I’m done talking about it.”
CHOKING: Obama’s little joke here. You blow a 3-1 lead in the playoffs, you pay. You’re up a run with two out and one on in the ninth and you give up a game-winning homer, you pay. Fumble at the goal line? Pay up! Take a late, stupid run at another skater? Ding-Ding-Ding!
ObamaCare does consider the little guy in this clause. Season Ticket holders receive all Heimlichs for free if they gag on a hot dog within the confines of a stadium regardless of game situation. Contest winners and those holding promotional discounts excluded.
VOCAL CHORDS: The bill will cover at full cost any injury to a female tennis player’s vocal chords caused by excessively loud grunting. Injured athletes will also be compensated at a rate of $1 for every mile per hour their serves decrease from keeping their mouths shut.
“A-r-r-r-gh!” said top-ranked racketer Maria Sharapova when reached at the service line of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where she was participating in some small, local tournament.
As is abundantly evident, ObamaCare has something for everybody.
Thank goodness the highest court in the land saw it the same way.
We now return you to our regularly-scheduled program, “I’m Okay, You’re A Socialist.”
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