Since it looks like nationalized health care is a done deal and it appears the United States has run out of money, I have come up with a primer on paying for this wonderful plan. Wait! Someone’s got to pay? What? You think money grows on trees? It comes from the Mint, silly! Before anyone accuses me of being anti-health care, please note that I personally don't have much in the way of health insurance. However, I will admit I do not like buying something sight unseen or paying for this nebulous service on credit. Please feel free to exchange the word “tax” for “fee,” “contribution,” or “assessment.” I personally am favoring the term “duty” as it implies a sense of altruism. Levied duties double in that if it costs more to do something, it might just change ‘bad’ behavior. A two-fer, if you will.
Ten Ways to Pay for Health Care
1. Tax cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. There’s already a tax, but tax some more, and while you’re at it, get the people coming and going, the growers and the users. A smoking habit is a one-way road to lung disease and death. Those with emphysema are straining our health services. They should pay more.
2. Make pot and recreational drugs legal, then do the same as in #1. Supposedly, marijuana is one of California’s biggest cash crops, but the state can’t cash in since it’s not legal. Might as well throw the other drugs on there, LSD, peyote, crack, meth, etc. In addition to a boatload of cash revenue, the border drug wars may die down. If we make our own, why import?
3. Increase the alcohol tax. I know, it’s already taxed, but damned if those alcoholics don’t need more attention via recovery clinics and 12-step programs. Imbibers add to the cost of health care. Duty the makers, too. If hops growers and vintners have to pay to put the product out there, it will lower the demand. You have to get the hops growers and the people who sell beer- and wine-making machines, too. There's going to be a huge backlash of people making their own.
4. Obviously, there must be a surcharge on fast food. Taxing fast food is a two-pronged approach meant to save the environment. In addition to empty calories and God-knows-what added to the offerings, I have a problem with the literal garbage emitted by fast food restaurants: the paper napkins, containers, pop cups and straws. What would Al Gore do?
5. Twinkie Tax or the Ho-Ho Assessment. All junk food must be taxed. Chips, caramel corn, candy. (Oh, the insanity of it all!) Obesity is a number one strain on our health system, leading to all sorts of problems: heart disease, diabetes, you name it. White sugar is bad!
6. Tax the raw "good" food that can be made into junk/fast food. These items include butter, eggs, milk and cacao beans, because everyone knows you need those ingredients to make a bitchin’ chocolate cake.
7. Tax the immediate air around us, which we breathe. That’s right, it’s for the CO2 emissions, although don’t tell my angel trumpet plant. I’ve been breathing on it all winter long in an attempt to revive it from death. I figure it's the next thing the government will try to co-opt.
8. Fat tax. There should be a tax on each person for undue BMI. People should be taller than their circumference, unless humans are going through some sort of evolutionary process I missed since the TV has been turned off. This would be a wonderful incentive for those who need a kick in the pants to lose weight. [raises hand] That would be me too.
9. Lazy tax. There should be an immediate excise on electronics, TVs, cell phones, computers and video games. Throw cars and motorcycles in there too; many people can walk, and if they can’t, they should. Just think, we would all be fit if we would get off our big bums and move a little. Of course, there will be a special dispensation for those who purchase a WII-Fit.
10. And finally, a 90% excise tax put on those who voted for the current health care bill or who want and support it. If you think the current health care reform bill is such a great deal, put your money where your mouth is.