Associated Press photojournalist Noah Berger captured this thousand-word image near the Occupy Oakland demonstrations last month.
Many Cato@Liberty readers will get it immediately. They can stop reading now.
For everyone else, this image perfectly illustrates the ethos of what I call the Church of Universal Coverage.
Like everyone who supports a government guarantee of access to medical care, the genius who left this graffiti on Kaiser Permanente’s offices probably thought he was signaling how important other human beings are to him. He wants them to get health care after all. He was willing to expend resources to transmit that signal: a few dollars for a can of spray paint (assuming he didn’t steal it) plus his time. He probably even felt good about himself afterward.
Unfortunately, the money and time this genius spent vandalizing other people’s property are resources that could have gone toward, say, buying him health insurance. Or providing a flu shot to a senior citizen. This genius has also forced Kaiser Permanente to divert resources away from healing the sick. Kaiser now has to spend money on a pressure washer and whatever else one uses to remove graffiti from those surfaces (e.g., water, labor).
Michael F. Cannon
Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies.
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