Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hypothetical: Tofu at the Broccoli Court

The year is 2018 and President Tofu is fortunate to have a majority in both houses of Congress. America elected President Tofu when it became weary of partisan politics and developed a taste for a President with no preconceived notions and fully capable of absorbing the flavors of whatever surrounds him at the moment; a pragmatic, businesslike President for tough and fast-changing times. American small businesses are still hurting from the lingering effects of the Great Recession, but its larger bastions of business savvy are thriving in a booming global economy bringing cheap products to the impoverished masses armed with $5 cell phones, $10 netbooks and empowered by a Khan universal education system (the other Khan, not Genghis).

Many Americans are also benefiting from this expansion in some ways. For example, after the 2016 passage of the historical and liberating Student Protection and Affordable Education Act (SPAEA), many parents decided to take advantage of the Khan system, now owned and selflessly maintained by Google, and use the Government Education Voucher (GEV, pronounced give), minus the $15 for a cell phone and netbook for each child, to pay for the mandated health insurance penalty of 2010, thus breaking even on child mandates. This trend caught on like wildfire after some knucklehead libertarian tweet went viral on every social media outlet practically overnight, as a suggested measure to counteract the Constitutional, but still unpopular individual mandate to buy health insurance.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) did not take very kindly to this popular trend, since most folks buying health insurance from US Health were now either elderly or sick. It should be noted that the other three health insurance providers, Liberty Health which insures elected public servants, Glamour Health which insures most sports and entertainment personalities and the Health Division of Goldman Sachs which provides discrete insurance to industry captains, were not affected by this phenomena, limited to some sectors of the currently or previously wage earning class. Most workers though, were provided health insurance through self-funded multi-national employers, as part of their wages. Unlike the misguided Liberal government of Mexico, who struck down in 2012 an early attempt by Walmart to pay their Mexican employees with store vouchers, the pragmatic administration of President Tofu, welcomed the business oriented solution of paying American workers with vouchers for the company health insurance store.

Seeing how by definition President Tofu found himself in close proximity to US Health executives, some since early childhood, he absorbed the pain and suffering caused to this worthy corporate citizen and decided that something must be done to ensure that elderly and sick Americans can afford US Health premiums and Khan Academy freeloaders don’t dump their health care costs on the rest of society. There were several options for President Tofu and his administration. He could have mandated that GEV should be spent at one of the few private prep schools, but that would impose undue burden on those brilliantly elite institutions of education, who were also very close to President Tofu’s heart. He could have mandated that all Americans not otherwise covered by health insurance, must purchase insurance from US Health at the ongoing premium rates, but some lesser representatives in his Party were deeply concerned with backlash from voters in the upcoming midterm elections, and President Tofu as close as he was with his colleagues, immediately absorbed their pain as well. Luckily there was another way out of this impasse.

In the summer of 2018, the landmark Life Protection and Perpetual Health Act (LPPHA) was passed in both houses with crushing bi-partisan support, and signed by the ever smiling President Tofu into law. Americans were very happy with this legislation, since all media outlets were running headlines informing the people that Congress in its wisdom is now guaranteeing health and long life for every American by 2020. For the skeptical 2012 audience, no, President Tofu was not miraculously transformed into a futuristic Indiana Jones marching out of the crumbling ancient temple with the magic challis in his raised hands, but science, particularly statistical analytics, has advanced to new heights in 2018, partially fueled by Khan Academy graduates.

A RAND corporation study conducted in December 2017, at the behest of a global retail industry giant, clearly showed that Americans employed by multi-national corporations are healthier and projected to have a much longer quality adjusted life expectancy than their peers who were not paid with company store vouchers. After careful adjustments of all measures designed to infer worker health status from corporate economic indicators, RAND concluded that multi-national workers and their dependents have a whopping 92 quality adjusted life years expectancy, thus leaving all OECD Socialized medicine countries in the dust. Other than using innovative study measures, clearly the multi-national corporations have identified the secret sauce to long life and perpetual health. In a follow-up study commissioned by AHIP, RAND identified the preventive health measures taken by self-funded employers as the indisputable cause for the longevity and excellent health of their charges.

Thus the LPPHA contained several provisions to spread the health amongst the rest of the Nation, which would dramatically reduce US Health costs and significantly contain taxpayer expenses for those who chose the 2012 penalty over buying health insurance. At the heart of the LPPHA (or PHA, pronounced phe or F), was a mandate for all citizens to purchase body weight, physical activity and happiness monitors, sold and administered by the corporation insuring their health. Since, most citizens insured by multi-nationals were already purchasing those monitors at the company store, as required by their employer, and since workers’ poor health clearly affects Commerce, and since all Commerce now is at least interstate Commerce, this seemed to be a very logical provision and its benefits to the millions of sedentary, overweight and demoralized Americans were self-evident. Hence the monitoring mandate gained enormous public support, according to the media. Of course, the Government would provide subsidies to those who cannot afford to pay for their own monitors, and monitors would be free to households under 200% FPL, which is really most of the unmonitored citizenry. In order to uphold the monitoring mandate a clever penalty will be imposed, modeled after the large employer health insurance rules, where people with a larger than the approved Body Mass Index (BMI), and/or a smaller than indicated daily activity level, and/or larger than normal depression quotient (as defined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force), would have to pay a penalty proportional to their income levels. Exceptions and voluntary drug treatment options are available for all categories.

For a fleeting moment after the beautiful ceremony of the LPPHA signing, by an obviously trim, fit and happy President Tofu, there were some thoughts in some old Liberal quarters that perhaps the LPPHA is unconstitutional and should be challenged in Court, but apprehensions died down quickly after experts read the 4562 pages of the statute and found that the Federal Government is not forcing us to buy broccoli. And America lived happily ever after. The End.


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  2. Love this post. When can I vote for President Tofu???