Chickens for checkups

Sue Lowden really did mean “bartering” for health care. Amazing!

Honestly, when Democrats started to make a fuss about Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s comments about “bartering” for medical care, I thought the attacks were unfair. Presumably, Lowden had merely misspoken, and really meant “bargaining” rather than “bartering.”

Here’s what she said:

Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry. And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor.

Now on one level that’s still a pretty stupid idea: “Sorry, Doc, but if you really need $5000 to do that that procedure I’m just going to have to take my business to the discount doctor down the street” isn’t really a plausible thing to say. When you’re in a doctor’s office, you want to be dealing with a healer, not a used-car salesman.

Still, there’s a grain of sense hiding in that pile of horse manure: health care providers would certainly have to charge less if more of the cost were coming out of the patient’s hide. So, assuming that Lowden had meant bargaining and not bartering, I decided to let it lie. After all no one would seriously propose “bartering,” as in offering your doctor a chicken for a check-up.

Silly me!

The Dems are, for once, all over it; apparently the DSCC plans a Chickens for Checkups website (though I can’t find it on line yet). And there’s more to this than sheer stupidity. Apparently Lowden is a gazillionaire, who could write checks for her own health care. Can you cay “out-of-touch plutocrat”?

Let’s start asking other Republicans whether they agree with Ms. Lowden.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

14 thoughts on “Chickens for checkups”

  1. How many chickens would a doctor charge to remove all the government-mandated microchip implants from those intimate parts of your body? Now that the health care bill is law, everyone will be required to have them.

    At least, most people will. I converted to Islam last week, and, as a Muslim, I will be exempt.

  2. Visit and it switches you

    to a wingnut website trying to dump Harry Reid.

  3. I can't believe he's losing to this idiot. It's like a parochial Sarah Palin, if Todd were Moe Greene.

  4. There are any number of hilarious threads in response to this. I especially like the jokes about Bouillon.

    But, yeah, what does it say that the extremely moderate majority leader of the Senate is losing to this clown?

  5. On the other hand, my father once accepted his doctor's fee in the form of a side of venison.

  6. Let's see, a fully cooked rotisserie chicken is about 7 dollars at the grocery store. If we assume that the costs of labor inflate the price, that means a live chicken is much cheaper. How many chickens would I need to present to my doctor in Lowden's scheme in order to get a physical? 350? Is there really a doctor out there that wants 350 live chicken?

  7. So all we need to do is bring the average income of rural doctors back down to where it was in the 30s and 40s for this to work. I'm sure they'll all vote for someone who wants to do that.

  8. But Paul, you are forgetting something about doctors nowadays: I hear tell that, unlike the docs of the 30s, they can give you some kind of shot for the clap and it will cure you just like that!

  9. Paul, how could you make that comment and ignore the "chicken feed" joke staring you in the face?

  10. I've never really understood barter. Why not just sell what you have for cash and use that cash to pay for what you need? That's why money was invented in the first place, right? So I wouldn't have to find someone who needs what I have and has what I need, but could change what I have (chickens) into what everyone needs (cash) and then use that cash to buy what I specifically need (medical care).

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