How to Convince Someone to Do the Right Thing

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Reader Comments (34)

I think "spreading the misery" is going to be my new personal motto. Thanks, Scott!

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBoducky

Political propaganda? Huh. Unusual.

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGuest

Funny, I didn't see anything political in the post.

September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCdub

America is kind of funny (the sad kind of funny).

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu el Mot

Assuming everyone hasn't already said this: political would be saying that the government should pay for your health benefits from taxes. Or that the hoodie guy shouldn't have the opportunity of health benefits. He looks like he has an unsuitable lifestyle.

Scott's Mom always shows up on a mobility scooter. Maybe she got a government subsidy for that. Putting her in the strip is so political.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

Personally I think insurance is stupid. The companies have all sorts of overhead on their premiums (staff salaries, taxes, other business expenses) when all they do in essence is invest your money so they can return it if they need to.

Their premiums are carefully calculated so that their expected payouts are below what they charge (they employ very talented, very expensive people to work these out). You can theoretically cut out the middle man and do your own insurance far more efficiently.

What you should do is get a quote from an insurance agency and then invest that much in the stock market, adjusting it upwards to keep pace with inflation. Instead of paying premiums you will now get dividends and your money is still yours (what's more, it's growing along with the stock market).

Of course, you should definitely not take my advice. I'm not even remotely qualified in the field.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterInnominate

The UK used to be so much better than this...even now emergency care is often more than adequate so I understand.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

"It is the worst kind of gambling, because it's the only kind where you can still lose even if you don't play."

Best description of healthcare insurance I'd ever read.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLocnil

I don't think suggesting that people should get health insurance is particularly political. There are a couple other options, but realistically, people on all sides of the health care debate think insurance is a valid and important thing. It's just a matter of how they think it should be paid for.

Alternately, if you meant it's propaganda because it makes insurance sound unpleasant, then I'd say that's like comparing complaining about your bank fees to being a radical socialist.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervandermonde

Propoganda being "Stuff I don't want to hear", right?

Any joke or discussion about how people act will be political since we're in a civilised society. Go look up the root of the word "politics".

Someone complaining about politics because they don't like the liberal message? How passe.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWow

Scott, surely you know about the Great Non-compete Agreement? Humorists and politicians divided up the issues they're each allowed to talk about, and the politicians got health insurance.

Haven't you ever wondered why there's never been a governmental inquiry into the terrible quality of airline food?

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I don't think this comic is political at all. But I might consider the timing either unfortunate or quite brave on your part. Good luck with all the comments . . . .

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFMA

So health insurance is a more dangerous game than thermonuclear war, because you can't win by not playing....

Best comments section ever, on a soon-to-be-classic comic!

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermoojen

An important point to add to this, though is: with modern medicine, you will likely live past the catastrophic event, but you probably won't be able to work for a while, and then some employers will hesitate to hire you because of that blank spot on your resume and/ or lingering effects of your catastrophe, and the bankruptcy will be just the first step on a very long, painful, journey. I've known a lot of people who think they don't need insurance because if they had a medical catastrophe, they'd just die and what do they care who pays it after they're dead? Which is wrong on its own, but also starts with a false assumption.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfabur

Innominate, you have some valid points, but you're missing the point of insurance. It is a gamble, but it's not necessarily stupid, and your plan isn't any better.

You're technically correct that putting the money in the stock market means it's "still yours" - but if you're putting it there as "health insurance" then you can never use it for anything but health care. So it is, effectively, just as "gone" as it would be if you gave it to a health insurance company.

However, if you give it to a health insurance company, then there's a possibility (catastrophic illness) that you'll get back far, far more money than you put in. That will not happen with the stock market, and if you suffer a catastrophic illness with the stock market option, you're in trouble. You either go bankrupt or you don't get your health care.

Insurance companies don't make sure that they pay out to you, as an individual, less than you, as an individual, paid in. They make sure that they pay out less in total than was paid in in total.

Some people will pay in far, far more than they ever get out. And they, believe it or not, are the luckiest ones. :)

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeanF

Actually it is healthcare "insurance" that makes the health care itself unaffordable. It puts an entire layer of bureaucracy which has not only to be paid but be profitable, between your you and your doctor. It requires your medical provider to be an administrator and have a staff of clerks, accountants and lawyers available to deal with the paperwork required to file for the insurance, additionally raising your costs.

Meanwhile, because the "insurance" is paying for the care the cost of care gets jacked up in hospitals, etc, to ridiculous heights because 1) "hey, I'm not paying for it, my insurance is so I don't care," and 2) the insurance only pays a % of the full charge anyway so the provider is motivated to ask for as high a price as possible, hoping enough will be approved to make the rent.

Remember, your premium is paying for that big, skyline dominating building with your insurance company's logo on it.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoah Vaile

There are likely people in the thread who weren't alive when airlines served food.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTormodG

I've got news for you, bub - even with health insurance, a catastrophic illness can bankrupt you. There are plenty of people facing foreclosure because a catastrophic illness left them with huge medical bills that insurance refused to cover.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLEH


As for investing what would be your premium in the stock market?

1) The stock market is being kept pumped up by the fed's creating $$ to invest out of thin air. The fed stops the pump and the market crashes.
2) It ain't folks like you that are investing in the market and making any money. It is the rich who are making the current killing and who are going to have word to get out before the crash.

I would advise that you put your money in cash or an investment account that is neither stock-market-based nor government insured. (A credit union perhaps.) Preferably a medical savings account, and then shop around for a doctor who will provide concierge care. Look it up.

Finally, since the government will require you to buy insurance anyway find yourself the absolutely cheapest policy you can get away with, and try to avoid having to buy it.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoah Vaile

Regarding Innominate's analysis against purchasing insurance:

Your analysis would be correct if the *actual* amount and timing of a particular individual's health expenses were predictable (as opposed to a group's average expenses). But they aren't. There's a reason that there is "health insurance" but not "purchasing a house" insurance.

The *average* expenses of a large group of people, however, can be predicted with statistics. More predictability = less risk. In other words, the same potential event is actually less risky to the insurance company than it is to an individual. That's where the efficiency of the insurance system comes into play. Since all financial analysis is a calculation of expected return vs. risk, an individual is almost always better off selling large, unpredictable risks like health care to a larger cost pool (i.e. an insurance company).

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

How dare you utter the word "heathcare"!!! Next thing we know, you'll be using words like "Syria," "president," and "economy"!!!

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

At first I thought Scott was skirting pretty close to taking a political stance (and alienating half his readership - regardless of side taken), but after reading the comments to date and then re-reading the comic, it is clear that he decidedly did not take a side.
He adeptly said "health insurance" and not "Obamacare" or any other term for the government (taxpayer) paid for services. It is clear that "insurance" is an accepted method of reducing financial risk and that Scott thinks getting it is a good idea. At that he succeeds in panel 4. Isn't that the objective he set out in the comic's title?
Oh, and by the way, "Equal spreading of misery" is a working definition of Socialism :-)

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMikey

@John (Presuming you are in the US), the FDA does not think its in their jurisdiction since its not really food. FCC wont look at it since passengers buy flights instead of meals, and lord only knows its not the food airlines advertise.


September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterirrogical

And a great big hello from Canada, eh?

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbriligg

I feel obligated to offer a counterpoint to Innominate.

Insurance is not just about investing other people's money. The idea is that if 100 people are insured, and something bad happens only to person 37, the other 99 people help support that individual. The insurance company more or less the mediator of that agreement between the 100 people.

Even if someone invests his money wisely, if something catastrophically bad happens to him, he can end up worse off than he would have been if he had insurance. This is because the 99 other people are not, in this scenario, helping him.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternobody_special

How DARE you write a comic from your own point of view that is tangentially touches on a topic that is a socio-political hot-button?!?! Are you trying to start an internet fight?


Great comic, though!

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

And so the really smart thing to do is to buy a relatively inexpensive catastrophic care insurance policy. And make a deal with your "concierge Doctor" for all the rest.

Except you won't be able to do that anymore. Scott, for instance, will have to buy a policy with full coverage in case he wants an abortion... for himself.
Just spreading the (cost of) love.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoah Vaile

If a severe illness can still bancrupt you despite insurance the insurance misses the point entirely.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu el Mot

You could theoretically get a bunch of friends and just pool your money like the insurance company does, but I could see that causing a lot of hard feelings when some people (inevitably) end up using the "insurance" more than others. By the time you smooth out all the difficulties, you may as well just have real insurance. It's healthier to hate insurance companies than get mad at your friends.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

There are likely people in the thread who weren't alive when airlines served food.

Maybe, but I'm sure there are several people who do not know of Jerry's career staples before Seinfeld took off. I never did learn what the deal was with airline peanuts, either.

September 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBWM

The thing I don't like about Obamacare is the clause that allows insurance companies to opt to pay a fee of $100 a day instead of paying a claim. They don't have to justify this, there's no limit to how many times they can do this, or in what circumstances. It was all over the news for a little while when Congress was debating the bill, then they just shut up and okayed it, and Obama signed it.
With that clause, the law requires us to pay premiums, but doesn't require the comanies we pay to actually pay any claims.

September 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

@Dee - "citation needed" please?

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBabyDoc

SeanF said:

They make sure that they pay out less in total than was paid in in total.

Because, of course, they need to pay a dividend on their stock to keep the valuation high. Whereas community funded or non-profit health care should on average pay out an amount equal to that paid in.

September 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJHM

In an atlas the USA takes up quite a bit of one of the pages.

On the internet it is graffiti covering every wall with alternating "Fred is a pinko socialist Commie" and "Fred 4 Prez 4 Ever".

(a) posting comments on a web cartoon web site actually does not change USA government policy. No, really. It doesn't.
(b) the rest of us are trying to listen but can't hear the music for your noise.
(c) if being in the USA makes you so unhappy, get a passport and shop around for somewhere else to live.
(d) it's a web cartoon, people. Smile and be happy.

Alternatively, Scott, could you do a strip about Knifeketeer coming out as gay, marrying the Moon Emperor and signing up to a gun club to train illegal Mexican immigrants to defend themselves in exchange for them providing health care services to unemployed non-black African Americans (e.g. South Africans, Libyans, Arabs) if they promise to vote against the death penalty and they'll be paid in dollars printed in Spanish with "In God/Allah/Yahweh We Trust" on them? That'll make your page ranking & hits to go up.

But Missy might need some help moderating the responses to that. :-)

October 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimes
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