Actually that bit of Fry and Laurie reminded me of Monty Python more than Tennessee, although I do see the connection. Mostly it reminded me that there are always subtle trends in English television (or government or society etc) that I am totally unaware of, especially from some fifteen years ago. Despite the fact the skit was directly on point, I would say a more interesting comparison might be between the privatization we see in this rural Tennessee county and our current (pre-reform) health care/insurance system. If you subscribe, particularly at the highest level, either on your own or through a business, your experience with health care is likely to be one of attentive service, less pain, private rooms and a successful outcome because after all this is the USA and we only have the best. If you subscribe through a more economical plan, you will find a lower level of service, hospital roommates, usually a successful outcome, but possibly serious financial issues if the illness is serious. If you don’t subscribe, you can go to the emergency room and they may help you to the extent of stabilizing you. They may even admit you if you would die after being wheeled out of the hospital. But at that point, you have declared bankruptcy and you will never be the same. As for the rural Tennessee county where the nearest city offers fire protection to nearby county residents at a fee, I am sure the county’s taxes are acceptable to the more wealthy residents. The people more likely to need fire protection because they are using space heaters instead of central heat are the people who actually can’t afford that $75 fee. I’ve never seen “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” but I do have a disc of the first Series of QI. It won’t play on my DVD player because it’s English, but my computer can handle it (using Videolan).
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