(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Well, we now have further proof, as if we needed it, that our lawmakers aren't all that interested in making health care affordable and available for those who really need it.

BE: You mean because they let that state program, adultBasic, which offered low-cost coverage for lower-income folks, lapse this week?

JB: I mean because AS they allowed that, a Pittsburgh TV station reports lawmakers have a contract to keep a physician in the Capitol in case any of them needs one in a hurry. There's no interest like self-interest. Grrrr.

BE: Wait, don't they already have the best possible health insurance tax dollars can buy?

JB: You betcha. Cadillac plans. And they pay way less of a percentage of their salaries (just 1 percent) for their coverage than all the rest of us pay for ours -- those of us who have it.

BE: I'm shaking my head. What's the deal with the doc?

JB: WTAE-TV in the Steel City says lawmakers will pay -- actually, we pay -- a semi-retired oncologist from Lancaster, Dr. Paul Grosh, $170 an-hour to makeHouse calls and Senate calls. Plus we pay for his malpractice insurance.

BE: Sounds like legislative malpractice to me.

JB: There's more. The TV station also foundthat the House charged us $9,000 for flu shots.

BE: Guess they gotta stay healthy so they have the strength to cut benefits for others.

JB: Yeah, and you know that blistering schedule they keep can really wear a person down.

BE: They are special, aren't they?

JB: They are the entitlement program that keeps on giving. Or rather keeps on taking. Grrrr.