WASHINGTON, D.C. - Beginning in October, all sick persons receiving Medicare benefits will be transported by steamer to the Shrine of Lourdes. Located in southern France and noted for Marian apparitions, Lourdes was chosen by Health and Human Services because of the large number of miraculous cures. "What's a miracle cost per patient compared to long-term care?" asked HHS undersecretary Avery Monteith. "By transporting our elderly to Lourdes, we're able to shift costs under Medicare Parts A through C to the president's health care reforms." No provisions have been made to house the elderly, who will be stacked around a sacred grotto on army cots. "We all have to make sacrifices," said Monteith. "But they'll still receive Part D prescription drugs and a ball cap that says 'Lourdes.'" According to Monteith, in 2012 HHS will expand the program to include Medicaid recipients. "As of now, we're hoping for an eighty-nine percent miraculous cure rate. We'll need that to make room around the grotto. Anything less, and the sick may have to double bunk."
(Photo:Manuel González Olaechea y Franco)