Green Room

Cost Shifting Is Unique to Health Care?

posted at 9:19 pm on March 27, 2012 by

Just back from a trip through the Flux Capacitor, I bring these letters written to congressmen from the years 2025 and beyond!

What a treasure trove…and so relevant in the wake of today’s SCOTUS hearing on health care reform where the topic of cost-shifting played such an important role! Read, learn and enjoy:


July 8, 2025

The Honorable Joseph Kennedy, XXIV

Dear Rep. Kennedy:

I was very pleased to see you introduce the Affordable Food Act and want you to be aware of my wholehearted support for this important and much-needed legislation.

As you well know, cost-shifting in the food market industry has led to enormous price increases as more and more families take to growing their own gardens. But, because we all must eat to survive, these individualistic families’ actions have led to rising prices as the food industry deals with spoilage and loss, estimated by the USDA to be 20 percent of the total saleable vegetable and meat products per year. The price of this spoilage is passed along to consumers, increasing the average consumer’s weekly bill by at least 15 percent, making healthy food a luxury instead of a right.

AFA would make food affordable for everyone, not just the elite who can maintain their own gardens, by requiring all citizens to buy at least 10 percent of their food from the local market, with various items specified for purchase depending on the season and availability. Broccoli, for example, would be a required purchase now, given the favorable growing conditions of this season.

For years, consumers who regularly support their local markets have had to pay the higher costs of food caused by the reckless decisions of the few. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her US Health and Human Services v. Florida opinion, had it precisely right when she wrote, “The social contract requires responsible contributions to the common good. Rising costs due to irresponsible actions by a few should and can be corrected by law.”

Let me know if there’s anything I and my organization’s members can do to help you pass this important bill.

Angus T. Joad

Vice President, Communications

American Association of Growers of Unpopular Leafy Vegetables


April 2, 2034

The Honorable Jesse Jackson, VIII

Dear Senator Jackson:

It was with great happiness that I read of your support for the Affordable Apparel Act which gives everyone, regardless of income, access to a minimum amount of clothing per year.

As you know, considerable cost-shifting occurs in the apparel industry due to theft, leading to higher prices so that retailers might make back their investments in inventory.

Ironically, these rising costs have led to a vicious cycle as retailers raise prices to compensate for the losses, making clothes more unaffordable, which in turn just leads to more thefts as the poor try to ensure their children are clothed, leading to more rising costs and so on.

By forcing everyone, regardless of income level, to purchase a minimum amount of clothing per year at designated retailers, costs are spread out over the entire community and the cycle of despair that leads to desperate acts of shoplifting will be broken.

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in U.S. Health and Human Services vs. Florida, “An empathetic nation recognizes and supports the efforts of lawmakers in ensuring that justice prevails in the most commonplace of transactions, even if the government itself plays a role in blowing the embers of those transactions into a flame…”

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you in this important cause.


Heidi Tailor-Couturiere

Vice President

American Fashion Reality Show Association, Inc.


April 11, 2028

The Honorable Chelsea Clinton

Dear Sen. Clinton:

How wonderful it was to read of your introduction of the Affordable News Act that will allow all Americans, regardless of income, to have access to low-cost copies of the New York Times by forcing residents of states south of the Mason-Dixon line to purchase subscriptions annually.

The past decades have witnessed a swift coarsening of our national dialogue, hastened by the proliferation of websites and even radio and television networks offering little beyond incendiary (and sometimes dystopian) “faux news.” Because these institutions have drawn viewers and readers away from real news outlets such as the Gray Lady herself, subscriptions have declined, leading to rising per-issue costs.

This cost-shifting from irresponsible news consumers to responsible citizens has made free speech, in the form of the country’s leading newspaper of record, prohibitively expensive, just at a point in our country’s history when reliable news coverage is needed more than ever to combat the corrosive distortions of knuckle-dragging racist homophobic spawn of Satan reactionaries. It is a right, not a privilege, to have access to knowledge of the world’s affairs, and the ANA will guarantee that right for all citizens.

As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v Florida, “We might have our ‘books and our poetry to protect us,’ but we are not a rock, we are not an island. Since the nation’s founding, we have been in a quest for the common good, the actions and bonds that secure our mutual defense and happiness. Indeed, it was this quest for mutuality that drove me to push aside concerns about recusing myself, accepting the unfounded criticism of a few and forging forward to allow my voice to be heard with the many on this important issue…”

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you in securing passage of this important piece of legislation.


Jacqueline Sulzberger-Griffin

Chief Comrade



Libby Sternberg is a novelist. Her book website is here. She also blogs about public policy and politics at Center Right Side.

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Conservalicious on March 28, 2012 at 1:13 AM

To say nothing of the cost shifting to private payers’ insureds resulting from underpayments/low reimbursements by Medicare. This happens in most medical practices that take Medicare patients.

DrSteve on March 28, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Left wing butterfly economics and the CC can be used by socialists in Congress to justify regulating and controlling any and all human activity, except maybe breathing.

That regulation can include the government rationing and distribution of the products of human effort and labor, for the good of all. Sound familiar?

farsighted on March 28, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Left wing butterfly economics and the CC can be used by socialists in Congress to justify regulating and controlling any and all human activity, except maybe breathing.

farsighted on March 28, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Correction: The left insist global change is the result of CO2 emissions, and therefore must be regulated. Arguably, while we may not be regulated as far as breathing goes, it comes awefully close!

Turtle317 on March 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Let me know when there’s an Affordable Ferraris Act. That’s one I could get behind.

J.E. Dyer on March 29, 2012 at 3:08 AM

Let me know when there’s an Affordable Ferraris Act. That’s one I could get behind.

You’re on to something there, J.E. Dyer. I’m on board for the Affordable Beach House Act, which, of course would logically follow from the Affordable (Free) Vacation Act.

Libby Sternberg on March 29, 2012 at 6:13 AM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

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Top Pick

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Excuses, excuses.

Not really a “kill all the lawyers” scenario

4 pm ET!

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Currently doing a search for “good international trade lawyers”

Ransomware attack spreads through Europe

John Sexton Jun 27, 2017 1:01 PM

“A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide.”

At least their address rarely changes

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A “cryptic” warning to Bashar al-Assad?

Jazz Shaw Jun 27, 2017 8:01 AM

The three strikes rule may be in effect

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John Sexton Jun 26, 2017 9:21 PM

“The individuals all stated that they accepted responsibility and wanted to resign.”

Federalism’s greatest champion is now …

Ed Morrissey Jun 26, 2017 8:41 PM

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Obama: Back home again in Indonesia

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The call to prayer and eating dog.

Testing the waters.

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“If I were a Seattle lawmaker, I would be thinking hard about the $15 an hour phase-in.”

Days of future past

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Israel settles who can stand where at the Western Wall

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Women to the right, men to the left.

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It’s more about the powers of the Presidency at this point

A second look at paper ballots?

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Low tech solutions to high tech crime

No extra beatings required, thanks

A “”massive, massive f*** up…”

This is totally amazing!