Health Care and the Scraggly Broom

Everyone needs a broom.  It’s a basic cleaning instrument.  Cleanliness is important to one’s overall health and well-being.  Therefore, everyone should have a “right” to an effective broom.

All brooms are not equal.  Some brooms are too heavy.  Other brooms are too light.  Still, others are too thin to do an adequate job.  The good citizens of the United States of America demand broom standards.

Congress begins crafting a bill.  Brooms must be made to accommodate Americans of various weights and heights.  Also, brooms must be light enough to be operated by the weak and infirm.   The lobbying continues.  One group demands that the straw be “odder free.”  Another group wants the broom manufacturers to certify that the brooms are made of “all natural” materials.  Still, another wants to set the wages and benefits for the workers in the broom manufacturing industry.   

The cost of brooms begins to rise.   Groups representing the nation’s senior citizens begin to lobby for the government to provide brooms to the elderly at a reduced cost.  Other groups begin lobbying for free brooms for children and the poor.  Social BROOM Security, S-BROOM and MediBROOM are passed.

But the price of brooms continues to rise.  The broom industry argues that cost of labor and raw materials – not to mention all these new mandates – has forced broom manufacturers to raise the price in order to meet the new standards and keep up with the demand.  The manufacturers point out that their profit is a mere 3.3 percent, well below that of the suppliers of other essential products and services.  Nevertheless, liberal groups accuse the broom industry of price gouging.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 46 million U.S. citizens are now without this essential device.   There is a broom crisis!

Conservative groups maintain that more than a third of the people without brooms are pulling down incomes of over $50,000 a year.  They own flat screen televisions and iPods.   Certainly, these people could afford to buy a broom if that were the priority.  A whopping 70 percent of broomless children are eligible for S-BROOM and 27 percent of the non-elderly broomless are eligible for Medibroom.  Still, another large segment of the PWB, People without Brooms, is in the country illegally and shouldn’t be entitled to brooms at all.

Nevertheless, the drumbeat continues.  Congress must act to protect these broomless Americans!
The broom reform bill is passed.  Finally everyone is happy.  The “right” to a broom is now a reality.

Suddenly,  Americans who had no interest in sweeping are now sweeping two are three times a day and brooms are wearing out at a rapid rate.  There are simply not enough brooms to go around.  There are long lines to get a broom.  Those who have a critical dirt problem are simply out of luck because they have to wait in line with everyone else.

It isn’t long before the cost of this new mandate has skyrocketed and is causing a strain on the country.   The government comes up with a plan.  It will simply pay the manufacturers less for their brooms as the demand continues.   However, these private manufacturers cannot afford to operate at a loss and one broom company after another is forced to close its doors.

The government begins to manufacture all brooms but the demand continues to grow.   The government falls deeper and deeper into debt to the point that essential services are threatened.   Congress does the only sensible thing.  It begins to limit the amount of straw each broom can contain and the length of the handle is cut down in size.

It isn’t long before people begin to realize that they are now forced to sweep on their hands and knees with a few scraggly straws that are of little or no use at all.

Here are some things to keep in mind as your representatives debate health care:  Government restrictions and mandates lead to higher prices.  A government that competes with private companies will not play fair and will eventually run those companies out of business.   A single payer leads to reduced services and fewer choices.   Rising costs will never be solved by taking the consumer completely out of the picture.

The free enterprise system is far from perfect, but it has given the people of this country the highest standard of living and the best health care in the world.  There are better ways to solve the problem of the 8 to 12 million chronically uninsured than to turn the system upside down.  Consider the story of the scraggly broom.

4 thoughts on “Health Care and the Scraggly Broom

  1. Dear Ms. Chastain,
    While I find your government broom analogy perfect, particularly since I operated a government approved broom of various sorts for two decades as a Marine, I disagree with your last statement in your column. I would easily state the free enterprise system is less than perfect, but it is by no means “far from perfect”, but the closest we humans have ever gotten to a self-regulating system, which works almost perfectly except when people make deliberate decisions to cheat, lie, and otherwise “game”, the free enterprise system. When it is used by all honestly, and with the full responsibility of taking out no more than one puts in, it works almost as perfectly as a physical system can, in a less than perfect world. It is a small coterie of People who have chosen to be “far from perfect”, and in fact, represent the opposite of “reasonable” and “responsible”, as well as “egalitarian”, but are deliberately seeking as much as possible for as little as they can get away with returning, and have no feeling of responsibility for ensuring the system will still work for their posterity, because they never learned posterity was their responsibility.
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC


  2. Insurance companies are getting blamed, but for the wrong reasons. True their profit margins are very low at 3.3% but that is not a measure of how profitable they are. Take a look at return on investment. If it takes $330,000 to set up an office with computers, people, etc. and they can process a $100,000,000 in claims with a profit of 3.3% of the claim amounts, the return on investment is $330,000 or 100% of the initial investment. Probably your bank is not paying you 100% interest on your deposits invested with them.

    The insurance companies are nice folks and really don’t like increasing your premiums, but if the federal medical and drug handouts make medical care costs double, they must raise prices. They still get 3.3% of the much larger pie and have no increase in their investment. The profit margin does not change, but the return on investment doubles.


  3. I’m part of an effort that has a suggestion for both Health Care AND government recklessness in general.

    Here’s one of our more popular videos:



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