If Grocery Shopping Were Just Like Health Care

[This is a re-print of a Commentary I had published in the Virginia Tech Collegiate Times on December 3, 1993. It is a spoof of Hillarycare, which was being thrust on us at the time. Now, over 15 years later, we’re about to get something similar shoved down our throats, through Reconciliation, by the Obama administration. To update the column, I have changed the word Clinton to Obama. Enjoy.]

If Grocery Shopping Were Just Like Health Care

Before we all get caught up in the feel-good ‘big-government-savior’ rhetoric being sold to us by the Obama administration regarding health care reform, we must realize the absurdity of this plan. Solving the problems in the existing health care system by creating a sweeping new bureaucracy is inefficient overkill.

To illustrate the absurdity of this solution, let’s draw an analogy: consider the problem of hunger in this country.

Clearly, the best way to solve the hunger problem is to help those who are not able to obtain the means to do so.

But using the Obama health care reform as a blueprint, here is how one would envision their solution to hunger. Everything in this plan is taken directly from the current health care debate.

The problem: Americans are spending more and more of their hard-earned money on food. Millions of Americans are hungry due to a lack of food. Americans who lose their jobs may be unable to afford to buy food.

The current food distribution is unequal; some have plenty to eat, some have too little. Many grocery stores turn people away who cannot afford to buy food. This is a crisis. We cannot be competitive for the 21st century unless all Americans are secure in their food!

The premise: Food is a right. Everyone needs food to survive, therefore we must see that it is provided to all Americans. We should not be denied food because we cannot afford it. We should not lose our food because we change jobs or lose our jobs.

The Food Security Plan: Each state will form Regional Food Alliances. These alliances will select a limited number of grocery stores from which food may be obtained.
Every American must choose which grocery store plan they wish to join in their alliance. They may only shop at the store for that plan.

States may also elect a Single Payer Food system. This would mean that all residents of that state could only buy their food at the state food store.

The Regional Food Alliances will place limits on the amount a farmer or food company may charge a Grocery Plan for a particular type of food.

It will be illegal for Americans to go outside the Food Security Plan and use ‘bribes or gratuities to influence the delivery’ of food service.

All employers will be required to provide 80 percent of their employees’ Grocery Plan premiums. The individuals will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent.

Your premiums will be based on a regionally averaged food premium. Thus, people who need less food will pay the same as people who need more food.

Employers who decide to save money by administering their own Employee Food Plans will be taxed 50 percent on the amount of money they save by not joining the Regional Alliance.

Unemployed persons or persons below the poverty level will have their Food Plan premiums supplemented by the federal government.

This plan will not cost any additional government money. It will be financed entirely by savings in other government food programs, such as school lunches, and by a 75 cent per bar tax on candy bars.

The Cost: President Obama’s Task Force on Food has spent literally months researching the food industry and estimating costs. Only 25 percent of Americans will pay more for their food under the Obama Plan – wait, actually 40 percent. No, we mean 15 percent – wait, it’s really 40 percent. But let’s stop this nonsense about who pays more and who pays less! People who pay more will also be buying Food Security, and that’s something money can’t buy!

Sound absurd? Watch out, I wouldn’t put this past the Obamabots. If you don’t believe me, let me ask you this. Have you ever gone two months without going to the doctor? You have. Have you ever gone two months without food?

So which is more important…which should be a fundamental right?