Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Affordable Food Care Act

Now that the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka "Obamacare") has been declared constitutional by the US Supreme Court, and has gone into effect, it is high time we move into the even more important realm of FOOD CARE.

After all, most of us EAT three times a day (some five times or more) while most of us only require health care a few times a year. If we are deprived of health care, most of us will live on for years, but, if we are deprived of food, even the strongest of us we will survive for only days (or three weeks max).

Having established that FOOD CARE is more critical than Healthcare, let us come up with a solution that will reduce costs and improve quality. Let us take the unfair profits away from the blood-sucking supermarkets by establishing a single-payer food program that will assure the healthiest foods at the lowest possible cost to us and our fellow citizens (and legal and illegal aliens as well, of course).

For example, there are dozens of supermarkets in my Zip Code, all of them profit-based and all making fat profits selling food that is often unhealthy and that has made many of my neighbors sickly and obese. Each of these supermarkets is earning exorbitant profits by jacking up their prices to the highest levels possible. Why should there be more than one food supplier in any given Zip Code? Why should we, the consumers, have to pay the bloated overhead of all these duplicated stores?


The advent of email, and unfair competition from profit-making UPS and FedEx, has nearly destroyed the United States Post Office. Most of their buildings are underutilized and they require large subsidies to continue operation and pay their employees.

The FOOD CARE solution is OBVIOUS. Turn FOOD distribution over to the real delivery experts at the US Post Office and FOOD acquisition over to the real nutrition experts at the US Agriculture Department. Make fresh, healthy food available for free, delivered seven days a week directly to every home in America. Letter Carriers will once again have full mailbags. Since they already deliver mail six days a week, adding a seventh day will not raise costs by more than 15%.  By eliminating profits, costs will go down, and by eliminating unhealthy foods, there will be large savings in the public health care system.

Everyone will be required to purchase Food Care Insurance and those who refuse to do so will be charged a $500 tax per year (but only if they can afford it). In that way:

- Everyone in our great country will be assured three square meals a day!

- Fresh food will be delivered daily, eliminating the cost of weekly trips to the supermarket and the expense of household refrigerators and freezers as well as the Global Warming imposed by the energy demands imposed by unnecessary travel and household appliances.

- And disabilities due to unhealthy, fattening and sugar-filled foods will be a thing of the past!

- And health-care costs will go down as life-expectancy goes way up!

- And, the US Post Office, a cherished memory of government services at their best, will survive and prosper!

What could possibly be wrong with this plan?

Ira Glickstein

UPDATE 27 Sep 2012 
Howard Pattee posted a comment on 26 Sep regarding US Health Care costs, and why they are so much higher than other countries. I did some research on why US health care costs have risen so fast and concluded that about half the increase is due to medical technology advances that were not available in the past and that are both increasing lifetimes and are very expensive.

However, it appears (see chart below) that the other half of the rapid increase in costs is driven by government programs where a third-party (US Taxpayer) is paying and the consumer gets the care for "free" so they have no reason to shop around or limit their consumption and, as a result, suppliers have no incentive to contain costs. This almost completely eliminates normal market forces that balance supply and demand according to cost and affordability.

My (sarcastic) example of "free" food supplied by the government was meant to show how ridiculous it would be to remove market forces that improve quality and convenience and keep costs affordable.  Milton Freedman said that if the government was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, within six years there would be a shortage of sand! And the cost of sand would skyrocket as the quality declined.

In other countries, notably the UK, medical costs are contained by rationing care based on a limit of about $40,000 per additional Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY). If a given procedure would increase the lifetime and quality of life of the recipient, but exceeds the cost limit per QALY, an alternate, less expensive procedure, such as palliative care, will be provided.

For the record, I wrote about the QALY concept way back in 2009 see http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2009/09/end-of-life-honest-brokers-not-death.html and I support it for public medical expenditures in the US.

(More recently, see http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2011/02/runaway-trolley-applied-to-end-of-life.html, and http://tvpclub.blogspot.com/2012/08/quality-of-life-and-health-related.html for my views. Unless we thoughtfully address End of Life and rationing of health care for people with chronic and terminal conditions, we will never be able to control overspending on health care. A false sense of "compassion" and "fairness" and "caring" will continue to bankrupt the USA.)