The reason for the excitement?
Sue Lowden, a Republican candidate for Senate in Nevada, mentioned that bartering is a legitimate means of obtaining health care services. She even used the example of how "in the olden days" farmers would barter chickens.
Yoweee! What a bunch of know-nothing hicks clinging to their outdated barter system! Chickens for checkups!
Josh Marshall is so proud, because he has stoked this fauxtroversy into many, many links. Of course, the links mostly are from the usual suspects, like Steve Benen ("Sometimes, candidates just aren't ready for prime time"), Matthew Yglesias ("Checkups for chickens might work if we were all farmers, but what’s a blogger supposed to do?"), and John Amato ("Sue Lowden's 'Chicken For Checkups' health care plan is Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs").
But the reality is that in much of flyover country bartering -- including for health care services -- is well established and legitimate. Here are just some of the headlines in the mainstream media over the past year:
- Barter Fits the Bill for Strapped Firms (Wall Street Journal, 2/17/2009)
- Barter system reborn (Bloomberg, 4/1/2009)
- A health-care exchange of sorts already exists: barter (McClatchy 6/17/2009)
- Can't afford health care? Barter for it (CNNMoney 6/19/2009)
None of this, of course, will stop the "chickens for checkups" meme from being pushed, since Lowden's reference to "chickens" (even though she was talking about in the "olden days") is the linguistic gift which may keep giving to people who only worry about context when it is Barack Obama talking.
Bartering is not the answer to the health care cost issue on a large scale, although it may help individual cases.
But neither is Obamacare, which is far more financially dishonest and politically corrupt than anything Sue Lowden has mentioned.--------------------------------------------
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