I’m writing today on behalf of America’s Health Care, Inc., to inquire about payment regarding the recent birth of your child. According to our records, you owe a total of $765,047.04 for services rendered.

Also, congratulations on your new child.

We received your previous letter. Regrettably, we cannot accept your offer of a $5 monthly payment plan to reimburse the fees which we and several other parties are rightfully owed. We understand your concerns.

We waded through the entirety of your missive—graphic and profanity-laced though it was. As to your request for a clearly marked line-item accounting of costs for services rendered, perhaps you are not familiar with the health care industry in this country. It has long been accepted knowledge that health care pricing is far too complex for the layperson. We’ve found that the system works best when people just unquestioningly assent to whatever treatment medical staff offer, and then calculate the cost of said treatment somewhere down the line, in a completely arbitrary, unregulated manner.

The arcane calculus required to assign a monetary value to medical treatment is not something you need to concern yourself with. It’s best left to the professionals—who in this case would be the people you now owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to.

We normally do not deign to such requests for price breakdowns or explanations, as we are under no obligation to document how we arrived at your bill’s total. This isn’t a restaurant! Though I suppose it is kind of like a fancy fish restaurant where everything is listed as “Market Price,” yet no one knows what that might be. So, you’re free to eat; you just have to wait two months to find out exactly how much those crab legs cost. In your case, it turns out the “Market Price” for your “crab legs” was precisely $765,047.04.

However, since you’ve been such a reliable customer over the years, my supervisor has allowed me to make a one-time exception and explain a bit how we tallied your bill.

For starters, the anesthesiologist submitted a charge of $125,075.78 for the epidural. I can’t say specifically how this figure was tabulated. I wish we could help here, but it is a well-known fact that anesthesiologists are literally the most powerful people on earth. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Bilderberg Group? How about the Council on Foreign Relations? Both are 100 percent anesthesiologist-controlled. You better have their money when they come to collect.

Your delivery was also deemed “complicated.” Before you go on disputing this, you should be aware that one of our agents was present in the delivery room, meticulously documenting the entire event for our records. He confirmed that your baby did indeed take a super long time to come out. Also, a hearty upcharge was added for the “skin to skin contact” you requested.

(Just a note for future reference that at least one of our agents is present at every birth and surgery that takes place in the United States of America.)

Unfortunately, your policy covers only “uncomplicated” births. Therefore the total charge for this portion of your bill came to $157,000. Just be grateful it wasn’t a C-section, then we’d really be talking serious coin.

The rest of the charges are miscellaneous fees accrued during your stay.

If I may, a word of advice. Just give in and pay up. You really have no recourse, and we basically have you thoroughly, utterly over a barrel here.

You can’t fight the system. There’s certainly no use in fighting me; I’m just a low-level middleman. Don’t feel bad, no one really understands how it all actually works and how many powerful players are involved in this lucrative superstructure. I’ve never even met my boss in person.

There are so many different layers to your medical bills, and there’s just too much money at stake for too many different people. I caution you not to dig too deep! You could end up powerfully anesthetized in a van somewhere, poking around where your kidneys used to be.

Once again, thank you for using America’s Health Care, Inc. If we do not receive payment within 14 days, we will escalate to an even more sternly worded letter.

P.S. We are still waiting to hear back from you regarding the unpaid $579,099.41 bill from your trip to the emergency room last year. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience.