September 14, 2009

A modest proposal

I'm old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan was going to wring waste, fraud & abuse out of the welfare system, and every speech on the subject was accompanied by an infuriating anecdote about a "welfare queen" who was ripping off the rest of us honest taxpayers. As much as I liked Ronald Reagan, it was nonsense.

That kind of rhetoric works well in the righteous indignation department. But the only way to make government more efficient is to make it smaller, which is what Clinton-era welfare reform did, in no small part by instituting "death panels" that decided who really deserved benefits and who got the boot.

But (with apologies to Jonathan Swift), I believe I have a better solution. The Japanese are the longest-lived people in the world, yet Japan spends half what the U.S. does on health care. Oh, and Japan does very few organ transplants, though for an average of $300,000, a Japanese citizen can line up for a new heart in the U.S.

The Japan Times reports that some Japanese patients have paid as much as $1.63 million. So providing organ transplants doesn't correlate well with overall life expectancy, but it certainly can bring in boatloads of cash! That's how we'll finance free health care for all. Everybody gets a lollipop and a pony too!

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# posted by Anonymous Dan
Are you suggesting the US sell human organs to Japan? Crafty I say.
9/14/2009 11:25 AM

# posted by Blogger Eugene
Even though the Diet just brought Japan's organ donor laws into compliance with WHO guidelines, cultural factors continue to contrain donations (even live donor). Mr. Supply meet Mr. Demand.
9/14/2009 1:09 PM