What If Police Service Were Privatized?

Hey, don’t laugh.  Firefighting used to be provided by private companies.  If you had a fire and you hadn’t paid up, it was too bad for you.  If certain forces in Congress and elsewhere had their way, everything in the world might be privatized.

But health care is already being controlled by private, for-profit corporations.  Here, James Fieseher, MD gives us a look at what things would be like if police protection were administered the same way.  He asks, “What if police services were privatized and to receive them we had to be covered through a private police services insurance policy?”

Thanks to Mary Feldblum of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign for passing on this almost too-true-to-be-funny script:


“Yes, I need help. Someone’s downstairs breaking into my house trying to rob me. Please send somebody right away.”

“Can I have your insurance number, sir?”

“My WHAT?”

“Your police insurance number. If you want us to send a policeman over, we’ll have to have your insurance number.”

“But there’s someone in my house now.”

“I’m sorry sir, but without your insurance number I am unable to authorize a patrolman.”

“Okay, let me see if I can find it. I have the lights out and the robber doesn’t know we’re up here.”

“I can wait a short time sir, but I do have other calls.”

“I think I found it. The number is YGG73552W.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but that was last year’s number. You would have been issued a new card for this year. You should have a new card with the last letter Q.”

“Oh here it is. The number is YGG73511Q.”

“Very good, sir. Let me check your number through our system. Please hold just a moment.”

“Please hurry. I think I hear him moving up the stairs.”

“I see from our records sir that your policy doesn’t cover robberies.”


“Your policy doesn’t cover robberies, sir. I’m sorry. I won’t be able to send anyone out right now.”

“Look, I’m being robbed. This is the only police policy my employer signed up for. I didn’t even have an option for robbery coverage.”

“I’m sorry sir. You know, you could have purchased an individual coverage policy outside of your employer’s insurance.”

“I can’t afford that. That policy costs over $600 a month!”

“I’m sorry sir. Is there anything else I can help you with this evening?”

“You mean that’s it? That’s all you can do for me?”

“Yes sir.”

“Look, lady. This guy has just broken into my home, he’s now up the stairs and I think he’s about to attack my wife.”

“Oh, that’s good, sir. Your policy covers assault.”

“It does?”

“Of course, sir. That’s part of our personnel protection policy. I also see that you also paid for family coverage, which means that not only are you covered for assault, but your wife and children are covered as well.”

“Thank God! Now, please, send someone over right away!”

“Yes, sir. Would you like us to send a criminal law student, a rookie policeman or a veteran police officer?”

“What kind of ridiculous question is that? Of course I want a veteran police officer. My wife is being attacked!”

“It’s just a matter of co-pay, sir. The generic criminal law student is a $10 co-pay. The rookie will cost you $25 and the veteran police officer is $75.”

“Why so much?”

“That’s what you pay when you want a brand name — our finest.”

“Forget it. I’ve got a handgun somewhere around here. I’m just going to shoot the bastard myself.”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, sir.”

“Why not, he’s assaulting my wife!”

“Yes, but shooting him would be an unauthorized, out-of-network referral not to mention our non-compete agreement you signed. We would have to arrest you for that.”



Filed under health and healing, human rights

2 responses to “What If Police Service Were Privatized?

  1. patrice



  2. Elene,

    While I believe that socialized medicine might work in the United States if we could start from scratch, I am convinced that it cannot work by attempting to integrate it with our present system. There is simply too much redundancy, too many complications, too much red tape, and way too much paper work involved with trying to mesh two systems, and there doesn’t seem to be any way of going back and starting from scratch.


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