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In which John, who is kind of a fiscal conservative, uses the example of Hank to show how the current American health care system disincentivizes economic growth and entrepreneurship and argues that a public insurance option (even like the hodgepodge one in Montana) does not result in public bankruptcy but a more efficient and productive economy.


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A Bunny
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Ok, hi, my name's John Green and this is my brother Hank. Actually, do we have any more, like, humiliating footage of Hank? Perfect. Right, so this is my brother Hank. Off topic, but dancing is funnier when you remove the music. Hank is 29, he's a video blogger and a musician and he also runs the environmental technology website EcoGeek. Hank started EcoGeek when he was in graduate school and it's grown and grown and now it's like a business. So when people say that small business is the engine that drives job growth in America, they're talking about Hank.

Right, so the other thing you need to know about Hank is that besides being a video blogger and a song writer and the CEO of EcoGeek, he is also a dude who has ulcerative colitis. Which is the kind of disease where you don't really wanna know the details, but basically it's like your whole body is on earth, except for your intestines, which are in hell.

So anyway, in the United States if you work for a big company that big company is required to partner with a private health insurance company and required to offer you health insurance. So the funny thing about America is that if you're really poor you can get health insurance, you can get on Medicaid, and if you're really old you can get health insurance, you can get on Medicare. The people who can't get health insurance are the people who are not poor, not old, and don't work for a big company. And in fact, my brother Hank, despite having a successful business and despite being the engine that drives job growth in America, could not get health insurance for many years because health insurance companies don't like to cover people with ulcerative colitis because ulcerative colitis, in addition to being crappy (no pun intended), is also incredibly expensive. This isn't because insurance companies are evil or anything, they just don't see Hank as a good investment because he's not a good investment. Like Hank has to take this medicine that costs twenty dollars a day everyday, and there's a greater risk that he might get colon cancer which is an incredibly expensive disease.

So that sucks for Hank, but you know, lots of things suck for Hank and I don't wanna be responsible for fixing all of them. Like for instance when Hank was a little kid he liked My Little Ponies and I've spent the last twenty-five years of his life humiliating him about it. But I don't want to have to pay for the therapy Hank needs to deal with the shame and humiliation of his My Little Pony fetish. Right? I mean the government is not in the business of giving people everything they want or even actually everything they need. But, government is in the business of protecting us, that's why we have a military, that's why our government negotiates trade treaties with other countries, and that's why we put all kinds of regulations on the free market, like, for instance, not letting Walmart sell black tar heroin to children. And also, like, not letting Toys R Us sell Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slathered in lead paint.

So here's what happened to Hank. The state of Montana, which by the way is not known for it's liberal bias, partnered with a private insurer to create a somewhat affordable plan that offers health insurance to anyone who needs it regardless of whether they have a preexisting condition. So now Hank has health insurance! He doesn't have prescription drug coverage so he still has to spend twenty bucks a day on pills, but he doesn't have to worry so much about getting colon cancer and going bankrupt. Which has in turn allowed him to invest more money in EcoGeek and in building his company so that it employs more people. This is the real conservative economic argument for why we need a public option for health insurance all across America. The system as we have it encourages you either to be poor, to be old, or to work for a big corporation. It discourages the entrepreneurial spirit that made America's economy strong in the first place. It says to young entrepreneurs, "Don't start your own business, don't be the engine that drives job growth in America, go and work for a big corporation so you can have health care. It's just really bad economics to have the job decisions of your citizenship based not on revenue growth, but instead on health care costs. Hank, you'll see me on Tuesday.