Poor Richard indulges in anachronism. He still reads newspapers. You may remember them, they’re printed with ink on cheap paper. People used to take them on buses and subway cars to annoy others. They could be rolled up to train dogs, much to the dismay of the paper boys (another anachronism). What Poor Richard has been reading lately is a lot of conjecture about what a government sponsored health care system would be like and how it might be administered.
There seems to be a great deal of skepticism amongst a very vocal segment of the population regarding the capability of the U.S. government to administer a single payer system. Our intrepid and career-oriented legislators have euphemistically entitled this version of a health care fix “the public option,” with the inference that if the private option currently in existence is irrevocably broken, the public option that they propose can’t be too much worse.
Poor Richard finds that comforting, I think. But he doesn’t understand the reticence to create another multi-trillion dollar bureaucracy to administer health care. After all, it’s only money (we can always print more) and the U.S. government is so good at bureaucracy.
And I am simply astounded that none of our clever would-be statesmen have grasped the phenomenal opportunity to re-employ a failing public bureaucracy that is dangling right before their eyes. In past blog posts, Poor Richard has written about the tribulations of the U.S. Postal Service (See Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Dead Economy). After years of study led them to the realization that people don’t want to mail anything anymore, the USPS has decided to let some people go. Fortuitously, they are releasing an army of career bureaucratic types at the exact time these folks are needed . . . to administer the new health care system!
Downsized postal workers are eminently qualified to run the new health care system. Never mind that most of them don’t know anything about biology, physiology and the like. They all know how to follow the regulations. There is no way that the new regulations for a national health insurance program could be more cryptic or nonsensical than USPS regs. It’s a natural fit . . . today a mailman, tomorrow a claims agent or even an underwriter!
Just consider the benefits:
- The postal workers are already on the government payroll. There’s no need to re-test them for incompetence.
- Instead of hundreds of thousands of early retired postal workers placing a burden on the USPS retirement system, they could be gainfully employed spending government money and determining whether Aunt Sally really needs a new kidney.
- There would be no concerns about health care delivery under the new system. USPS employees are really good at delivery.
- If the regulations for the “public option” don’t make sense, it won’t be an obstacle to the re-employed postal workers. They’re used to dealing with irrational regulations and have no compunctions about explaining nonsense to their customers. It’ll be even easier if they’re the only game in town!
Poor Richard suggests that we call the new system PostalCare, in recognition that the new bureaucracy will probably benefit the newly re-employed postal workers more than the rest of society. Poor Richard also agrees with President Obama that Congress should act in great haste . . . we wouldn’t want this wonderful opportunity to slip away!
My apologies to our friends at the postal service. This one was just too good to pass up. Life is grand, isn’t it?