At the L.A. Times, Noam N. Levey has this analogy for health care:
Imagine the debate over healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill as a tussle among three friends out for dinner.
All three have been struggling to pay their bills lately. When the check arrives, they try to figure out how to divide it. The problem is no one can really afford the meal. And if one manages to pay less, the other two will go home even deeper in the hole.
Interesting. And who are the three friends?
Think of our three friends as consumers, businesses and government, the three major groups that pay for healthcare in America. The check is the nation’s healthcare tab, which now tops $2.5 trillion a year.
Ah. I see. So the more that our friend government pays, the less business and consumers have to pay.
Great! I’m convinced: let’s have government pick up the whole check! I always like paying less of the check. Don’t you?
Except that, of course, every penny paid by “government” is actually paid by taxpayers. Did you forget that, Noam N. Levey?
So really, it’s not very much like three friends. It’s more like you and your brother are eating lunch with your disreputable cousin Paulie, who has no job and stays alive by mooching off you and your brother. Paulie might play Mr. Magnanimous and pick up the check — but it’s hard to feel too grateful, because you and your brother both know that the money is coming out of your pocket anyway.
Other than that, great analogy.
Thanks to a reader.