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Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I've been committing a minor act of insurance fraud for five or six years now. I don't want to go into the details of how it works out, but suffice it to say that this thing started out as a little white lie and then grew into something much more complicated. My physician came up with the idea at first because he said this plan would help me to get the care I need and allow him to give it to me without me having to pay more to see a specialist -- which my health insurance would not cover. Because I trusted this man (we are friendly outside of the doctor-patient relationship) I went along with it, and I will admit that the set-up has saved me thousands of dollars and probably made many more for my doctor.

I'm writing because I think bad karma has come out of this white lie. My wife has been diagnosed with a rare and no doubt expensive condition. We're not yet sure if our insurance is going to cover her medication, let alone the expensive in-office treatments. My doctor friend says he might have a plan to help us out, but I'm now getting cold feet. I'm afraid that my earlier fraud will come to light through my wife's illness. Should I reject his plan, even if causes more (and perhaps avoidable) suffering for my spouse?

-- Broken Heart Condition

Having just seen Sicko, Michael Moore's inflammatory documentary on the sorry state of health care in America, we're inclined to say, "Go for it! Stick it to the man before his HMO sticks it to you." Instead, we'll advise a more moderate medication. First find out what your insurance company will cover. Use Dr. Devious's unconventional methods only as a palliative of last resort.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

In response to Mrs. Hands, July 11: I will have to agree with you guys that the crazy people are out on the roads in full force this summer. I was driving down a peaceful neighborhood street the other week when I saw a convertible behind me. The kid driving it was playing his music way too loud and was obviously not paying attention to the road. Soon, he came up to pass me, and I thought to myself that he was bound to cause an accident.

A couple of miles down the same street, I drove past this same convertible pulled over by a policeman and saw the driver getting lectured. I laughed all the way home, and the next day related the story to some of my co-workers. The anecdote didn't make my boss laugh: I found out later that the boy driving the convertible was actually her son!

-- Chatty Katie

It's easy to laugh when someone else is getting a ticket, harder so when a surly state trooper's flashlight is shining in your face. Best to avoid taking pleasure in the misfortune of others, even when their misfortune makes for killer watercooler conversation.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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