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Universal food coverage

March 26, 2010

Howard Gleckman at TaxVox justifies the requirement for health young men to subsidize other people via the "personal responsibility requirement" to buy health insurance:

One day soon, I would like to walk into my neighborhood supermarket, load up my cart with goodies and walk out the door. When I’m confronted by security about the matter of paying for the stuff, I’ll just tell them to make everyone else in the store pick up the tab.

...

For years, federal law has required most hospitals to accept patients into their emergency rooms whether or not the sick and injured have the means to pay. If you run your car off the road and break your leg, the EMTs don’t demand to see your insurance card or ask, “credit or debit?” They trundle you off to the nearest hospital--which must fix you up.

This care is, of course, not free. Those of us who are insured pay for it. Indeed, the medical business survives on the black art of cost-shifting—that is to say, spreading the costs of those who can’t (or won’t) pay to those who can.

Of course, by this logic Mr. Gleckman is forcing people who aren't buying groceries to pay for his, but one of his commenters does a nice job on the grocery analogy:

Well, lets say there were food insurance. But as with health insurance today, it doesn't just cover emergencies, but everyday care --got to make sure people are getting good food! Now you can go to the grocery store and the first thing you will notice is that there are no prices on anything. Of course not, insurance is covering it. So you fill our cart with whatever and as much as you want. Except, wait, you can only get things on your plan. So no Kellogg's cereal for you! Oh well, guess you can eat General Mills. So after you gather all this food, you roll through checkout where the grocery clerk checks over your food selection to make sure it meets all the insurance requirements --lots of paperwork involved. But no money is needed, except for a small co-pay if you have that kind of plan. Of course you paid for the food with your premium, which isn't cheap, but hey you got a hell of a lot of food! You notice some poor man in that uninsured line complaining about the cost of apples --something about $50 apples.

The story will end with empty shelves and special stores for special customers with connections.

Related: The IRS Will Enforce Mandatory Healthcare Using the Honor System

Links:

In Iowa, Obama Calls Health Bill 'Pro-Business'

$150 million cost tied to health law, Deere says

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