The Heartland Institute, a far right “think” tank that has faced some controversy lately over its comparison of scientists and environmentalists to murderous terrorists, now has some health policy suggestions for us.
The idea is to treat our human health insurance system like the system for pet insurance (included is the heartwarming story of a dog named Goober). It’s a great analysis because health care for people is almost exactly like health care for our beloved turtles and hamsters. Seriously, care is getting more sophisticated for animals, but the two are not remotely comparable from a policy perspective.
Here’s a nice thought:
Markets, as they should, put a dollar value on everything. The pet health insurance market does this well by literally treating pets as property. And this isn’t bad for animals or their -owners. When it comes to certain aspects of human health—even serious but not life-threatening events like contracting shingles or breaking a leg—such personalized cost-benefit thinking that treats individuals’ bodies like pieces of personal property might serve Americans and the medical system far better
The deeper problem here is that conservatives need a new idea for how to reform health care so that they can offer an alternative to “Obamacare”. The trouble is that Obamacare is the Republican idea for health reform. Most of its proposals arose from the offices of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush Sr. Obamacare was first implemented by Mitt Romney with support from conservative policy propagandists like Heritage Foundation. But Obama implemented this Republican plan. That means Heritage and its Republican friends must oppose it.
Thus the rub. If you are forced to oppose your own ideas once they are implemented, how do you dream up a new plan that is more conservative than your original proposal? Apparently, you turn to pet insurance.
If the Affordable Care Act is overturned there aren’t many options left. If you are a market fundamentalist then you are left with treating grandma like Goober.