It’s like a carburetor
Do you remember when cars had carburetors? Back in the day, I decided to rebuild the carburetor on our Datsun 510. I bought a kit, laid out muffin tins to sort the tiny parts, and dove in.
I discovered it was “complicated.” It looked as though the engineers had started with a simple design— air chamber, jets and butterfly valve. Then they added extra chambers and jets and valves and springs and sensors and vacuum hoses to enhance the choke, boost acceleration, retard deceleration, prevent stalling, reduce emissions, compensate for temperature, and so on. Each successive addon served a purpose.
But I could not shake the thought that they might have built a leaner and meaner machine by starting from scratch.
If they had asked what should be the net result, I am sure they could have come up with a simpler and better design.
Our various health-care bills remind me of my carburetor. Drop a coverage, provide a tax break, phase out Medicaid, add a subsidy, limit benefits, supplement premiums, strip the mandate, penalize lapses. Each tweak enlists the support of one group or another.
But I cannot shake the thought that we have cobbled together a heap of provisions that lose track of the main purpose. Suppose we ask: What can we do to provide health for our nation? I bet if we pursued that question, we could come up with one slick carburetor. BILL RICE Bella Vista