Monday, August 31, 2009
Politicians of all stripes have been bickering over health care. Who's going to get health care and how are we going to pay for it? We're already spending $2.3 trillion on health care in this country. That's greater than all the goods and services produced in the United Kingdom, not exactly an economic lightweight.
So what does this spending -- about $7,000 every year -- for each man, woman and child in the United States get? Sub par health care quality with a ranking of 37th worldwide. Woo Hoo! We're number 37!
So we don't do health care very well. As a country, we need to focus on our competitive advantage. At least, that's what Adam Smith tells us to do in "The Wealth of Nations."
As a country, we don't make much of anything anymore. So it is incumbent on our policy makers to focus America's competitive advantage.
We need to abandon health care. We do a crappy job at it. It's a financial sinkhole and we all die in the end anyway. So why bother?
We need to channel our resources where we excel -- entertainment. We don't know the names of the eight chambers of the heart or how the larynx helps us digest our food, but we do know what "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" are having for dinner or Britney Spears' favorite coffee. It's a matter of our priorities.
Policy makers should allocate our resources accordingly. So here's my solution to health care reform: We spend nothing on the sick. We take all that money and dedicate it to fun.
This is how we solve this dilemma:
-- Force every man, woman and child to spend $7,000 a year on entertainment. It can be devoted to consumer electronics, movie tickets, circuses, sporting events, video games, theme park admissions, the theater, and time shares. Not one cent can be spent on health, since it is not economical and doesn't fit with America's competitive advantage.
-- Hospitals will be turned into resorts to reflect our nation's drive to be a fun economy. Hospitals kill more people than theme parks, so theme parks must be better for our nation's health. Society can swap out go the machines that "go ping" in the hospital and replace them with video games. Amusement parks are a better investment than the lousy profit margins offered at health care facilities.
-- This reform will require us to dramatically reshape our workforce. We'll need to retrain our nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other clinicians for new jobs. Our government will have to build a national chain of clown colleges to meet the demands of our new "fun economy." Instead of learning about anatomy & physiology, our clinicians will have to learn how to juggle. Administering an IV becomes a passe' skill, while trapeze work becomes a valued art.
So that leaves us with a dilemma about what do do with the sick. In our new fun economy, sick people won't go the the hospital. They can behave like Super Bowl winners:
They can go to Disney World!