Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pay for your mistakes?

While I bemoan those who give or take credit without being able to bear the risk either way, Crusader Rabbit has an interesting post on those who bemoan the "costs" of alcohol or drug use imposed upon the public health system.

Send them the bill. In other words, if the hospital determines that you are to blame for your accident - you pay.

That's inherently appealing - responsibility for the harm you impose on yourself or others. However ACC gets in the way - at the moment we all pay ACC for the costs of all those who have accidents causing personal injury. The better first step is to individualise ACC, and allow people to choose who to get accident insurance from - meaning premiums will vary. If you don't pay for accident insurance then you pay the bill. Of course such insurance would have to be compulsory unless the right to sue is returned - a big additional step.

So if you are turning up at A&E regularly drunk, then funnily enough your premiums go up. If you don't, your premiums go down. Then the only costs left that remain a concern are those who don't get insured - in which case you might ask, why drink alcohol heavily instead of buying accident insurance? That becomes another issue - but why should the costs of recidivist foolishness be socialised? Why should the state owned monopoly ACC be retained?

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