TSA and Government Healthcare

In an earlier post I compared how government run health care would look in America by comparing the Transportation Security Administration takeover of airport security screening. I had another experience this past week that concerns me more.

Like most men, I wear a belt. I wear the same belt when I travel because it doesn’t have a lot of metal on it. The first 20 times I wore the belt I got through security without any problem. Then one day the metal detector goes off. I ask a simple question to the TSA guy – any idea why this is going off when it has never done it before? His response is an annoyed “just take the belt off”. I took it off, got through security without further incident and expected that from then on I would have to do the extra step to help protect America from belts. Well on my flight home there were no problems with the belt and I wore it five or six more times before it went off again.

Why is this a problem? We TSA would be better because they would do a more consistent job across all airports. It simply isn’t the case. They are as inconsistent across the many airports I travel and the private people were before. The current promise is for “Universal Health Care”. That somehow the state marketplaces will set a specific standard and all of the sudden everyone will get the same treatment. How has that worked with the TSA? It hasn’t. The question is why hasn’t it?

Implementing the same standard across many locations is commonplace in many organizations. The difference between when a private organization does it and when a government organization does it is that the private organization’s local implementers get some benefit by going with the program. It may be more efficiency or better cost sharing or even just favor with their boss. When the government does it, it’s just related to someone in an ivory tower gaining more power for his or her own portfolio, not empowering local implementers or helping them achieve some benefit. That’s why TSA people, post office clerks and DMV employees are grumpy after changes occur. The changes almost never have any benefit for them. Even when the change is intended to benefit the “customer”, without any incentive to the local government employee, there’s no reason to care whether it is implemented well or not aside from personal work ethic which isn’t normally so high in these jobs (although I certainly have appreciated the few exceptions I have witnessed).

Americans are being lied to about how some kind of “Public Option” will benefit all people living in America equally. The reality is that the same variability you see in the TSA will happen in government health care. People will find out about it and stop going places where their “free” healthcare stinks, creating huge backlogs where it is actually good and all healthcare will suffer.


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