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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Pay For Health Care

    One of the sideshows that has caught my attention during the never ending debate over health care reform is the dialogue that has come from a number of sources.  In a nutshell some are complaining that it is really those no good, low life, lazy, fat, cigarette smoking, diabetic people that are the cause of high health care costs for all of us perfect people.  So I've been thinking about that and I'd like to propose some creative initiatives to lessen the burden across the board and to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.

    Let's start with the most obvious target, smokers.  As we all know by now smoking has been named as a main cause of many health hazards including lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction.  And so it would stand to reason that people who smoke should pay some sort of premium to offset the cost of their health care and I would have no argument with that.  But the fact is that in most states smokers already pay all kinds of taxes on tobacco products to the point that state taxes alone can run between $3 and $5 per pack of cigarettes.  So smokers are already paying more than their fair share.

    Here's the problem though.  If health care is the issue than all of those tobacco taxes should be going to offset the cost of health care and not be going into a general fund that is used to support bridge and road reconstruction.  Does that make any sense?  Do smokers wear out bridges faster than non smokers?  Of course not.  As Step 1, I therefore propose putting all that tax money where it belongs.

    But that brings me to the non smokers.  Non smokers frequently whine, nag, and try to coerce smokers into stopping smoking.  They constantly remind them that smoking is a disgusting habit, that it destroys their health and can even lead to erectile dysfunction.  All of this whining and nagging can lead smokers to suffer from low self esteem.  It can cause depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that frequently lead to more physical health problems.  As a result, whining, nagging non smokers directly increase our health care costs.

    Now it would be impossible to identify which non smokers are naggers and which are not but I think it's safe to assume that most are self righteous enough to have caused mental health issues for someone along the way.  I therefore propose as Step 2 that whenever anyone purchases anything at a store where tobacco products are sold and if they refuse to purchase any tobacco products, they should be assessed a health care tax of $3.15.

    Next we have the exercise crowd.  Their claim is that sedentary lifestyles lead to obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.  And I think they are probably right.  So here's Step 3.  Let's have a tax of $10/week for everyone who cannot demonstrate a valid membership in a local fitness center.  And, to avoid the tax, you must be able to demonstrate that you actually work out a minimum of 5 times per week.  You can't just belong to a club.  In fact the tax on people who belong to a club but never work out will be doubled just because people like that just annoy others by lying about working out and that annoyance can lead to significant mental health problems in those they annoy.

    Then there is alcohol consumption.  Numerous studies in the United States have indicated that the consumption of two glasses of red wine every day is good for your heart.  In Europe, similar studies have demonstrated the same results for the consumption of four 12 oz servings of beer.  Therefore I propose as Step 4 that you will be taxed $5 for each day that you do not consume at least two glasses of wine or four 12 oz beers.  Of course there will be an exemption for people who can definitively prove that they are bonafide alcoholics.  However, keep in mind that if you can prove that you are a non drinking alcoholic you will then be placed in the same category as non smokers and therefore be required to pay a minimum health tax of $200/yr.

    Now we turn to sexual activity.  According to research having 30 minutes of sex with your partner at least twice a week reduces the risk of fatal heart attacks in both men and women by 50%.  And due to its very nature it helps prevent erectile dysfunction.  So here's Step 5.  Twice a week and you're good.  Once a week, you owe $5.  Not even once, you owe $10.  And just to be clear sex with yourself does not count.  You must have a consenting adult partner to give you a to speak...and no I don't mean to clap to acknowledge any solo performance.

    I'll be back with more on this topic but I think this is a pretty good start in assuring fairness for all.

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