Live Free and/or Die!

Sir Fletcher Redoun

Yesterday I shared my momentous decision to become a libertarian, influenced by the inspiring example of young people across the nation brave enough to live every aspect of their lives by the law of the invisible hand, even if that hand is cloaked in an Ermine glove that occasionally sticks its thumb up their asses.  At the close of that announcement, I said I had some good ideas for the libertarian reform of health care.  You will find these below.

Keep in mind, these ideas are based on the education I received from many libertarians that anyone unable to purchase private health insurance or pay cash money (upfront, piker) has no “right” to health care.  Now that I’ve renounced my internalization of charity, empathy, and the Golden Rule (Ayn Rand, let’s recall, was actually a pretty strident atheist), I think I’m ready to dish out some tough non-love to my fellow citizens who are too stupid or too poor to insure themselves at whatever price point the market will set—now and forever.  Remember, treating the sick is like every other aspect of a service economy—it is a commodity that can clearly be priced by the dynamics of the free market alone, much like a widget or a flat-screen TV.

First of all, once we pass the “libertarian full-responsibility healthcare for profit and profit only act,” we’re going to have a lot of dying and disappointed people still showing up at the ER.  Traditionally this is where the uninsured have sought their health care, usually at the very last second—or, of course, it is where ambulances bring those severely injured in an accident of some kind (despite the fact that these people foolishly forgot about their lack of insurance before deciding to have an accident).

To deal with this continuing onslaught, I propose that every hospital build what I would like to call a “death zone.”  Ideally, this would be a 25’ by 25’ slab of concrete, conveniently positioned near the ambulance bay, where uninsured people having heart attacks or those injured in industrial accidents could go to die in peace.  In most cases, the EMTs can simply back the ambulance up to the “death zone” and dump the bodies directly onto the slab (a few patient/bodies, realizing they are getting “DZ’ed,” as I hope the kids will start calling it, might cling to the inside of the ambulance—a simple stretcher-electrification program should take care of that).

Don't Miss the VST Job Fair!
Ideally, each “death zone” should be tilted on about a 20-degree slant.  This would allow blood and viscera to cascade down the slab toward a common blood gutter, while ensuring that the bodies themselves do not roll away and stack up like Lincoln logs.  Every 24 to 36 hours or so, a VST (Viscera Sluicing Technician) can come out with a hose to wash everything down.  To save even more money, meanwhile, the blood gutter should vent directly into the nearest available creek, river, or lake.  That will take getting rid of the EPA first, of course, but I’m sure other young libertarians passionate about environmental issues will be happy to take that task on, especially when we can argue how many new jobs will be created in the VST and BGM (Blood Gutter Maintenance) industries.

Now some might argue that an open incinerator, positioned just to the side of the hospital, would be a better and more efficient solution.  After all, it would provide a place for the uninsured to simply leap out of the ambulance and end their agony immediately—no muss, no fuss.  And the hospital could also use the incinerator to dispose of other noisome pieces of medical waste.  But this might be a bit cruel, I think.  Yes, the uninsured were stupid and have lost their right to continue participating in the high-stakes competition of a libertarian utopia, but it is probably a bit much to expect them to overcome their innate survival instincts.  DZ-ing them remains the best option.

But all hope need not necessarily be lost for our uninsured friends.  If there is a market for it, perhaps loan sharks and speculators can hang out near the entrance of the “death zone.”   Whenever an ambulance pulls up to the DZ, they can do a quick eyeball estimate on the patient to see if he might be saved and for how much.  As with bail bondsmen, these DZLO (Death Zone Loan Officers) could keep conveniently located offices close by the hospital.  That way, if a distraught loved one needs an evaluation/loan immediately, s/he can just run across the street.  If a DZLO determines a patient is worthy of possible “investment,” he can then agree to issue the loan at, say, 50 or 60% interest.  Of course, this industry will need to be profoundly de-regulated to be effective—at those rates, DZLO’s will need to be sure their clients know they can always be sent back to the DZ if need be (with a couple of broken kneecaps added to their previous woes).

Now, there will be some bleeding-heart liberal types who will no doubt try to make us feel sorrow for these people.  “But Timmy, age 29,” they will say, “was too young and stupid to think he would need any form of insurance until he was at least 30—his plan was going to start in a couple of months.”   But Timmy knows what Timmy did.

The death zone is a fairly straightforward concept, at least for those who will most likely die in 15 to 30 minutes without medical attention.  But what about the uninsured who discover they have cancer, MS, or some other long-term and potentially fatal disease?  Of course, many of these people will simply be told to go home and try to die with some dignity.  But given the foolish choices these individuals have made, I think it might also be possible to offer them a chance at redemption.

Here I would like to institute a program for Public Health Education and Re-training (PHEAR).  Those uninsured loafers suffering chronic and/or fatal medical conditions would be invited to participate in a lottery to receive full health coverage (any odds will do, 1000 to 1 or 1 in a million—the higher the odds, of course, the more savings to us, the insured).  Do they buy a lottery ticket?  No.  I propose instead that they make a commitment to occupy a pillory 8 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for one entire year (It will be like having a job, which these deadbeats were obviously too lazy to do before--otherwise they would have had insurance!)  These pillories, or stocks as they are sometimes known, will be situated in various high-traffic locations—Walmart parking lots, Mall Food Courts, Interstate Highway ramps—so that passersby can see these “patients” clearly and often.

Gaze not upon me, sir, for my sloth put preventative care beyond me reach.
To what end?  Passersby can read facts about the patient’s medical condition, and also hear an account (if so desired) as to why the individual failed to secure proper insurance before getting sick.  It would be both cautionary and educational—a perfect “teachable moment” (as the current Socialist-in-Chief likes to say) for libertarian parents to share with their children, a reminder that the world has always been organized around “winners” and “losers” and must continue that way forever, no matter what.

Again, sympathy is liable to be an issue here, especially if you allow the diseased to have direct contact with an otherwise healthy and insured public.  That’s why I think these lottery participants should be carefully screened and disbursed according to their putative “reason” for not having insurance.  Oddly, some people still have sympathy for those who can talk a good game of that “I was born poor, had to drop out of school to help my sick Dad, couldn’t get a steady job” crap, so I think we need to highlight as many “unsympathetic” characters as possible (idiots who forgot to mail their premium on time, liberal elites who thought Obama was going to give them everything for free, dyslexic dumbasses who filled in a claim form wrong).  Not only will people remember to remain wealthy enough to afford insurance, they can feel better about themselves in the process.

But wait, Einstein, are you saying the government should really have NO role in health care whatsoever, under any circumstances.  Is the free-market always the perfect solution to everything?

To be a true libertarian (and that’s what counts, of course, uncompromising purity of vision and purpose), I think the answer here must always be yes, yes, yes.  For example, say a new pandemic hits the nation.  Let’s call it, for fun, the hemorrhagic toad-flu.  Everywhere on the news, all you hear about is the spread of hemorrhagic toad-flu, how the hemorrhagic toad-flu has killed half of Arkansas, and then all of Arkansas and half of Texas, and so on.  Now the temptation will be great to think that the Federal Government should step in to vaccinate against or treat the hemorrhagic toad-flu, even if that means distributing drugs and basic healthcare to the uninsured.   Or, perhaps, some will argue that the Government should step in to institute protocols and quarantines that might help to contain the hemorrhagic toad-flu pandemic. 

Croak....why, yes, you will.
But I say, who is the Federal Government to step in and decide “winners and losers” in the free marketplace of deadly animal-based epidemics?  If an enterprising young virus comes to this country with the intelligence and fortitude to transform us into thralls for its thriving expansion in the marketplace, who are we to hold back what is clearly a superior species from its dreams of success?  I know that if the hemorrhagic toad-flu kills everyone in the country except me, and that if I am the last person left alive, I will doff my cap to the virus and say, ‘well played hemorrhagic toad-flu, well-played.  I dub thee Bufo Ayn Randicus."  And then after that, I will try to crawl the rest of the way to my local DZ. 

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