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While the wonks are hand-wringing over “public options,” state-subsidized abortions, and coverage for illegal aliens, the more pressing health care reform issue has gone unaddressed in Washington.

To wit:  What about plastic surgery?  Will my shiny new health care plan come with cosmetic coverage?

Because right now I’m young and well, and so I have no use for, say, a new knee … but a new nose? That I could use.

What … you think this is a trivial matter?  That there are more meritorious health concerns?

Well, yeah, of course there are.  Cancer is obviously way worthier a cause, as is HIV and heart disease and lots of other ailments.  But we needn’t be myopic.  There’s no reason we can’t throw in a little nip/tuck – a little fun – to offset the rest of it.

After all, we’re paying for it.

Think of it as a sort of economic stimulus package.  Besides stimulating the elective surgery sector ($$$), plastic surgery subsidy also has the benefit of job creation ($$$) and job security ($$$).  Seriously.  (Hey, Washington: See all those dollar signs? That’s tax revenue for the taking. Cosmetic coverage will practically pay for itself!) …

Are you seeing all this pragmatism?  There’s even more practicality to unpack.

People who are pleased with their appearances seem more inclined to practice wellness, precipitating a drop in obesity and all its deadly, costly accoutrement. (That’s dollars saved, Washington … more dollars for your taking.)

And self-confident people need less psychotherapy, antidepressants, and anxiolytics.  The decreased need for mental health services means major savings to government, who’ll soon be footing the bill. ($$$)

And then there’s the “foreign relations” angle.  Barack Obama is committed to improving our international image, right?  Well, after decades of being regarded as the nation with the most fatties, surely the world will welcome a sleeker, svelter, prettier America.

People, please write your representatives and demand that they stop ignoring this aspect of health care reform.  Remind them that pretty is a pressing issue.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: It’s better that you don’t ask whether this item is serious or satirical.  My answer will probably make you frown, and frowning etches unattractive lines in your face. But if you do ask, and I do answer, and you do frown … well, I know a guy who does a terrific facelift.