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How to pay for health care

Common sense and good politics have always made awkward bedfellows--that is, at those times when they can even get into the same bed together.

In a perfect, non-political world, the best way to pay for health care insurance would be to tax the hell out of the things we consume that harm our health. We could pay for our own upkeep with our vices. As the social engineering took hold, and we began to consume less of these things, the revenue from them would, of course, drop.

But, by then, we'd be correspondingly healthier as a nation, and would have less overall need for medical services. Our race of super-healthy ubermenschen could march happily off into the future.

Well, that isn't the American way. Only a politician getting ready to retire anyway would be nuts enough to suggest something so sensible. Besides, this isn't Scandinavia. Rugged American individualism requires that we be free to eat, drink and smoke ourselves to death if we want to. It is our right, and if it isn't somewhere in the Constitution, then, by God, it should be.

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As usual, you are right on the target. Keep 'em coming.

Any progress yet on getting "The Lowe-Down" T-shirts? You have no idea how rare it is for me to want to wear a T-shirt that says something, but I would wear this one.



This is stupid. We can all live a healthier and longer life. So long that we out live our brains and the need for long term elderly care would rise. Nothing would reduce healthcare costs better than quick deaths. Tax everyone that wears a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet. Tax health food and vegetables. Think of all the medicare savings if we do not live long enough to use it.

Or leave me alone and don't tell me how to live my life. For all things that are bad for our health, they still are only an increase in the statical chance that a problem may occur. Yes there are smokers that live past 100 as well as red meat eaters, alcohol consumers, junk food eaters as well as every other example of things that are bad for you. Government can stay out of my life and stop taking my money.

TO: airzimzerker

I hope your pro-choice. Because government certainly should not be dictating whether women must carry and then rear unwanted or sadly and irrevocably damaged fetuses.

I'd like the government to stop taking my money too. I never wanted a cent to go to George W. Bush's ill-advised frolic and detour in Iraq. And yet, I've been paying, and paying.

Go figure.

In a perfect, non-political world, the best way to pay for health care insurance would be to tax the hell out of the things we consume that harm our health.

In what way is taxing the things you dislike a non-political solution? In a perfect world each individual would pay for his own way. Certainly stealing from some to pay for what you want is a very political (and evil) non-solution.

Rugged American individualism requires that we be free to eat, drink and smoke ourselves to death if we want to.

It's getting hard to tell whether I'm reading the Sun-Sentinel or the Onion. Of course people should be free to eat, drink, or smoke whatever they want. You are also free to dispense advice. You pay lip service to to freedom, but it galls you to actually allow anyone the freedom to do what he wants.

Two things are terribly wrong with the proposal to “reform” Medicare by requiring older Americans to buy their own health insurance with the help of a federal subsidy:

First, all Americans since 1965 have paid a percentage of their wages to the government to finance the Medicare services being afforded to their fellow citizens age 65 or over, as have their employers — so who will pay us back for those years and years of deductions from our paychecks?

And, second, if the Republicans intend to offer a range of insurance plans from minimal coverage/low premium to full coverage/high premium, senior citizens in good health will choose the low premium plans, while those already in poor health will have to choose the high premium plans — just as we do now in the Medicare prescription program. That vitiates the basis for meaningful “insurance,” pooling both the healthy and the unhealthy in the actuarial mix.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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