Congress is desperate to find ways to pay for a government takeover of health care. Today there was discussion of taxing plastic surgery and Botox injections, a “Botax” on vanity procedures so to speak. (There goes the Hollywood and Palm Beach vote.) Also considered, a tax on video games, because — as well as know — they turn kids into couch potatoes.
Why beat around the bush? Democrats should go to the source of problem, the seniors who run up the Medicare tab with all the wasteful spending that The One could be devoting to universal health care. Simply pulling the plug on old people according to a rationing scheme developed by a Medicare Einsatzgruppen would be too…messy.
Democrats should instead adopt a proposal developed by Senator Al Franken, who came up with this innovative approach for slowing the costs of Medicare over a decade ago:
“I was looking at these budget cuts and I noticed two seemingly unrelated facts. One is that a third of a person’s Medicare dollars are spent in the last years of their life. The other fact was that NASA spends billions a year on astronaut safety. My idea: Why not shoot the elderly into space? And this isn’t just about cost, you know. This is for gathering scientific data. Think how many more manned space operations you could have if you didn’t really, you know, have to worry about getting the astronauts back. And I’m not saying you wouldn’t try to get them back. It’s just that, you know, you wouldn’t make such a big deal out of it.” (Source Chicago Tribune, January 21, 1996) (http://preview.tinyurl.com/l69mgr)
Leave it Franken to be ahead of his time on health care. After making such a profound impression during the Sotomayor hearings, he stands to play a crucial role in shaping health care reform as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Can’t wait.