Friday, August 07, 2009

Creeping Sociability

The big question nationally, besides whatever Fox News has made up about Obama today, is how to provide health care for the 58 million uninsured Americans. Everybody hates taxation, but how about a system of direct donations from the health-care rich to the health-care poor?

I pay $875 a month for my insurance plan and I've had a physical once in the last four years. I'm a chronic underuser of American medicine, and fortunately not afflicted by any conditions American medicine can fix. If medicine could fix knees and neuroses, I'd probably use my plan more. Anyway, there are lots of people out there who would love to take advantage of the wastage in my plan.

Think of it like carbon credits, or Car Share or the fruit exchanges with which to get rid of all the pears and oranges we don't need. I hate going to the doctor because of the lectures I get about exercise and losing a few pounds, so at the end of the year I would donate the unused portion of my health plan to the poor.

A poor family would get at least three check-ups, three lab work-ups and three disturbingly placed rubber gloves every four years. What would I get in return?

I'm already getting a tax write-off for health expenses over $5,000, and I don't really need more tax write-offs because my income as a retiree and victim of Wall Street is so low. But I would have the satisfaction of helping some poor family care for their children, and knowing that the parents are the ones getting the lectures about exercise and weight loss.

Or we could have a direct barter, and the poor family could come over and get their exercise doing yard work. They could have all the healthful pears and oranges they want.

The Republicans might like this version of the health care plan better than the one with impersonal pooled care share. It's right up their alley. It has a nice ring of peonage instead of socialism.