Saturday, September 07, 2013

Superior Widgets Posts Record Quarter

Let’s say you’re the CEO of Superior Widgets, Inc. And let’s say you just had an amazing quarter. You manufactured a billion dollars worth of widgets and sold them for $2 billion.

But here’s the thing. You haven’t actually delivered all the widgets. Many of them are still sitting in the warehouse, which is why you’re getting calls from customers like this one:

Customer: Yeah, I ordered some widgets and paid for them, but I haven’t received them yet. Just wanted to see when I could expect those widgets.

You: Well, let me check. That would be never. Never is when you can expect those widgets.

Customer: That seems odd, considering that I thought sure I’d get the widgets I paid for.

You: Well, if you read your contract closely, you’ll note that there are certain conditions under which you will not receive any widgets.

Customer: Yeah, but I really, really need those widgets.

You: That’s one of the conditions. Really, really needing widgets virtually guarantees that you won’t get any.

Customer: That seems odd.

You: Doesn’t it, though? I guess you’re free to take your business to another widget manufacturer if you want.

Customer: OK. Can I get a refund on the widgets I didn’t receive?

You: Well, let me check. The amount of your refund is, uh, none. None refund is what you can expect to receive.

Customer: I don’t like this.

Now, if someone were to tell you this story as if it were true, as if there were a widget manufacturer who does business in this manner, you would not say “Well, that’s the free market at work, I guess.” You’d say “That seems odd” and “I don’t like this.”

And yet this is the system that the “Defund Obamacare” people seem to want to revert back to. (Oh, I might have forgotten to mention that I wasn’t actually talking about widgets.) They’re so intent on wrecking the Affordable Care Act that they haven’t actually come up with a better plan. There are better plans out there. Even the ACA’s most ardent supporters are aware that it stopped far short of the healthcare reform America needed. But the Defunders’ idea of a better plan is, essentially, going back to the old system.

In other words: Insurance companies deny claims and make profits. People go without healthcare. Perfectly good system if you’re the one making the profits and not the one dying.

The Defunders want you to believe this is the free market at work, capitalism at its finest. But capitalism is when companies make a profit on providing goods and services. Making a profit on not providing those goods and services is not capitalism, and not particularly moral.