Saturday, January 14, 2006

No No No Wrong Wrong Wrong

This is the kind of thing which just drives me nuts. Look folks, its good and noble to want to something about Walmart in relation to the healthcare burden it imposes on the community. But imposing a rule that 8% of its expenditures have to be on health care (or contributed to a state pool) isn't the way to fix things. Let's consider some of the problems, shall we?
  • Why 8%? I haven't been able to find any justification for this number; it looks like a complete asspull. I hate legislative ass-pulling, it's bound to lead to more stupidity down the road. Also, note that the other 3 companies affected by this legislation already pay more than that, so this number is probably too low anyway.
  • Will it work? Why should it? There seems to be an assumption that increasing the amount of money which a company spends on health care automatically translates into better health care for the population with which we are concerned. If accountants can hide billions of dollars in losses, what makes anyone think that they won't find a way to recategorize more expenses as "health care"?
And that's just the obvious problems from a pragmatic standpoint. From the standpoint of efficient law there's got to be a better way to do things. The root cause of the problem is that a lot of Walmart employees work part time for pitiful wages, making them eligible for public assistance. If you want these people to have healthcare, why not just pass a law that says these people have to have health care? Ohhh no, don't want to do that, you could come off sounding like some kind of wealth-redistributing Socialist pinko commie+. The whole driving idea here is that everyone should have healthcare. Otherwise we could just make a law that says "Walmart employees are ineligible for public assistance and Medicare and WIC and they're ugly too"*. What an idea, healthcare for everyone, where have I heard that before? Let's see... for everyone... for everyone as in universal... universal... of course, universal healthcare. Why not mandate universal healthcare? If we think that people really should have healthcare, why the fuck do we expect employers to foot the bill? And if someone mentions "the free market" I'm going to kick you in the nuts. Health insurance as it currently stands bears no relation to any sort of hypothetical ideal market. Plus, given the normative statement "everyone should have health care", we must acknowlege the moral dimension to this particular issue. Which means that when someone says "free market" in this case we get to kick them in the nuts. So, in closing, stop with the stoopid legislative bandages that aren't going to fix matters and address the root cause of the issue instead.
+ Yes, I know those labels are mutually incompatible. Allow me a little hyperbole, yes? * Again, hyperbole.

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