Our national health care system is in a sorry state because we have a lack of rational leadership, but I have a plan to fix it. It’s new, it’s amazing, and it’s called “Cap and Trade”. What is Cap and Trade? Well first of all, like everything else that I write about, it is pure, shameless plagiarism. Plagiarism is the best thing ever. No creative effort required. I slump at my computer, with a heart rate of 2, semi comatose, drooling, and disgorge prose already written by someone else. This month I am gleefully ripping off Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund who popularized the phrase Cap and Trade in his address of the global warming problem. The idea, in essence, is that everything that consumes fossil fuel, each car, tanker ship, business, factory, etc., is allotted a certain amount of carbon emissions above which they are required to pay a tax. The tax monies are used to develop green industries. On the other hand, Cap and Trade also allows for “carbon credits” which are awarded if your factory, or whatever, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Such a factory could sell its carbon credits to others who are not so green.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you are an exercise fanatic. Your blood pressure is 100 over 60. Your cholesterol is 90. Your typical lunch is a cup of crushed ice sprinkled with sawdust. But your friend, we’ll call him Bacchus, is the diametric opposite. He is rotund, corpulent. The sum of his blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar is equal to the gross national product of Sweden. He belongs to Church of the Sacred Twinkie. He has never sweated. To him, exercise is a concept as incomprehensible as Zen capitalism. What to do? Fat cap and trade! Yes, Mr. Bacchus still dies young, but he does so guilt free because, hey, he has great numbers! And all this is accomplished for something less than the cost of a home treadmill! As the concept catches on, thousands, maybe millions will take up exercise and other healthy stuff as a way of supplementing their income by selling their healthy statistics to those like Mr. Bacchus.
Keeping the nation healthy is conceptually very simple, but the incentives for insurance companies and the food industry, are all backwards. The highest rewards are to doctors for treating diseases after the fact. Think of the $40,000 heart bypass surgery. Our population is encouraged in many ways encouraged to be unhealthy. How about a national health insurance that rewards people like me to keep you healthy rather than repairing the damage later? In the meanwhile, keep working on that sweat equity.