Bob Pensack: 2 boys wept |

Bob Pensack: 2 boys wept

Editor’s note: Steamboat Springs resident Dr. Robert Pensack, MD, is the co-author of the 1994 book “Raising Lazarus,” which chronicled Pensack’s struggle for survival against desperate illness. Pensack wrote the following poem about health care reform.

Two boys wept

As father told them

Their mother had passed

The reality that they could never accept

How could it be

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She had just stepped away

She would be right back

A devastating blow to their psyche

She was thirty-one



The boys were seven and five

The year was 1955.

The boys were twelve and nine in the year fifty-nine

With big smiles on their faces

The basketball swishes through the net

But the sadness stayed there

They would never forget

The older boy plays hard

He head fakes right

He drives left

He adroitly soars upward

And releases the ball

He feels a pause

Deep within his chest

He can’t breathe

For heavens sake

Just what is the cause

A heart disease

Given to them

By the almighty


Two adolescent boys

An inherited heart disease that was rare

What to do

It just wasn’t fair

Rare enough for

Government-paid doctors

To study their odd hearts

And search for some answers

The National Institutes of Health

The best and the brightest are

The doctors there

The year was 1964

No need for private health insurance

It is government-run medicine and research that’s there

For those two broken hearts

In need of repair

Their hearts were cut open

To keep them alive

The year was 1975

Their broken hearts

Were on the mend

The health care there

I can truly recommend

Government-paid doctors

Trained at Harvard and the like

It’s outrageous you see

Those unpatriotic rotten doctor commie rats

I certainly would never let them treat me

A national embarrassment

Wouldn’t you say

To have government medicine

Save the day

Those boys fight to stay alive

With their grief and flawed DNA

To not become invalids

In their struggle to survive

The surgeries

The procedures

The cardiac arrests

The sweet smell of life

Now those man childs are men

And they need new hearts

To live again

The year was 1982

They both lacked health insurance

Oh what were they to do

No No No

No insurance for them

Our goal

To make profits

Again and again


We hope you never wake up

In our system of health care it’s

PROFIT that rules

It has never been about your health

You fools

In America

Health insurance

Is only for the healthy

We have always had our death panels

We have always rationed health care

We boldly declare

To insure our profits

That’s how we care


What about the boys

Please sell them health insurance

Don’t you value their despair

We have no choice

Profits cause slyness

Which necessitates our motto

No coverage

For pre-existing illness

We cannot turn our back on our corporate

Piggy banks

The 45 million of the uninsurable

We want nothing to do with those many incurable

By hook and by crook

And tricks of the trade

Those man boys got health insurance

Oh what a day

Placed on a transplant list

Their execution got a stay

We were forced to hit hard

With our letter that day

We regret to inform you

That we are unable to

Offer you coverage any longer

We know they need hearts

But no coverage we say

We can site

Pre-existing disease

To ruin their day

Those man boys will die

Could there be such an option

Those insurance companies have created

An evil concoction

Their lives could be saved

With a government public option

Give them government health care or

Give them death

With the help of Medicare

Those man boys got their new hearts

A government program

They got a fresh start

They live

They love

They father children

But they need their Medicare

Or a public option

To keep their new hearts

I will say it I dare

But you see

We can still continue to say

We regret to inform you

No coverage for pre-existing illness

It will still be our day

Keep the government out of my health care

It is my private affair

But I will never let you

Take away my government-run Medicare

Call Sen. Mark Udall’s office (877-768-3255), Sen. Michael Bennet’s office (866-455-9866) and Rep. John Salazar’s office (202-225-4761) to implore them to do the right moral and ethical thing and support the public option.