SCENE: At the Mississippi Market co-op in Saint Paul. Mitch BERG is shopping for steel-cut oatmeal. He notices Avery LIBRELLE turning into his aisle, looking for free-range humane tofu. He tries to turn and leave, but it’s already too late.
LIBRELLE: Hey, Merg! The Free Market is collapsing!
BERG: Er, OK – how do you figure?
LIBRELLE: Preferred One left the MNSure network!
BERG: Um, that’s not a failure of the free market.
LIBRELLE: Sure it is! They came into the plan with a low-ball proposal. It didn’t work, so it’s a failure of the free market!
BERG: Well, no. It’s not. The plans they’re pulling from MNSure are basically the same thing they’ve been selling to employers for decades, although more expensive, to cover all the extra Obamacare requirements, and a little extra to cover the fact that they’d only get paid after the money filtered through the MNSure system, which just isn’t working. It’s the kind of plan they can sell by themselves just fine, and keep themselves in business.
LIBRELLE: Well, businesses shouldn’t profit from healthcare!
BERG: Preferred One is a non-profit under Minnesota law. And even so, they couldn’t financially justify the overhead that the MNSure system brought into the equation.
LIBRELLE: They should have come to the market with a plan that asked for more money! Government subsidies would cover it anyway!
BERG: And you have just explained why government subsidies promote inflation.
LIBRELLE: No I didn’t.
BERG: Yes you did. Businesses should raise their prices to smooth out dealing with the government’s incompetent bureaucracy, because another part of government is going to subsidize the transaction – which prices the business’s service out of reach of the unsubsidized. It’s done for health insurance exactly what it’s done for higher education.
LIBRELLE: That just means we need single payer healthcare.
BERG: Right. So the same government that can’t produce a health care exchange on time and on budget, and get payments to providers efficiently enough to make the service worth providing, will now be directly in charge of every facet of your healthcare.
LIBRELLE: Well, at least it’ll promote transparency.
BERG: How so?
LIBRELLE: See the social justice that the IRS brought to political campaigning by denying teabagger groups their tax-exempt status? Imagine the transparency we’ll get when The People can start denying them healthcare!
(LIBRELLE turns, starts walking away, but walks into shelf full of jars of organic peanut butter. LIBRELLE falls as shelves of jars fall to the floor)