Toon & text by John Auchter
There are two types of people in this world: Those who like black licorice and those who must be punished for not liking black licorice. This is because (1) black licorice is delicious and (2) it is the one true licorice.Twizzlers, Red Vines, and other so called “red licorices” are abominations. And other flavors are worse. Do you know what’s infinitely better than chocolate licorice? An actual piece of chocolate!!! There ought to be a law.
Of course there are those who would love nothing more than to persecute us black licorice aficionados. They are tired of having to pick out the black jellybeans. They are weary of being tricked into thinking that Good & Plentys might somehow be delicious. They have nothing but disdain for those of us who consume candy they think has the taste and consistency of a driveway. They think there ought to be a law.
Emotions, especially strongly held emotions, can easily be translated into legislation. But is it a good idea to do so? Just because we feel strongly about something doesn’t mean a law is a practical or functional (or moral) way to act on it.
And so we have the Michigan Senate passing a bill to require “able-bodied” people to work for their Medicaid benefits. I get it. It comes from an understandably human place: We don’t like to see other people get something for nothing.
The problem is that it just won’t work. Other states have tried it. You can either be totally draconian and cut so many people that you appear to save money. (But in truth, all the money saved on Medicaid will be lost manifold when these people start showing up in terrible shape at Emergency Rooms.) Or create so many rules and enforcement mechanisms that money is lost on the subsequent bureaucracy bloat.
So here’s my counter-proposal: From this day forward, all Michigan legislators who propose laws that restrict access to medical care have all of their healthcare benefits replaced with a bag of discarded black jellybeans (or chocolate licorice, depending on what side they are on).