In the spirit of bipartisanship, I have a modest proposal for getting younger people to sign up for Obamacare: liposuction discounts. I’m not saying insurance should pay for liposuction, but as insurance companies routinely offer discounts for joining health clubs, etc., I thought lipo discounts might be attractive to the twenty and thirtysomething crowd. (My husband suggested discounts on silicone implants, but I think lipo is a more gender-neutral procedure, as you’ll see in a moment.)
As an economist, I can immediately think of several sizeable groups who might find a lipo discount to have high marginal utility (that’s econ-speak for stuff people really want).
The first group consists of brides-to-be. These women routinely live on lettuce for a year so they can fit into a skin-tight wedding dress. This is not just for the photos/videos, but also to ensure waves of ‘ooh, she’s so thin’ murmurs from the guests. I think these women would happily exchange lettuce for lipo – at the right price, of course.
Ten years later, many of these once pencil-thin females are, sadly, divorced, and back in the dating game. They march into the gym, endure workouts, and sweat, sweat, sweat, but find that certain bits of their bodies seem impervious to all this effort. Those bits, however, are not impervious to lipo – and you can guess the rest.
Ah, you say, what about the men? In our hypercompetitive job market, a thirtysomething (or even a twentysomething) male who enjoys a steady diet of beer and chips might find his paunch is affecting his career. To his dismay, he observes those slim, trim guys in European-cut suits repeatedly moving out of the cubicles and into real offices with doors. What will he do? Diets, workouts – they take too long, and his career clock is ticking fast. The answer: go for the lipo.
My last group consists of young people (male and female) whose earnest desires go beyond a slim, trim body – they obsess about having a perfect body. With discounted lipo, I can easily foresee this group making a tradeoff between making student loan payments (so boring) and purchasing a service that will bring physical perfection. It’s all about that marginal utility, folks.
Would plastic surgeons embrace the discount concept? They just might, as what once was a big chunk of their business (regular Botox injections and the like) is now a staple of Groupon and LivingSocial deals.
Will the Obama administration accept my modest proposal? Sadly, I remain doubtful, as Mrs. Obama seems to favor the workout solution over liposuction.
But in our chaotic political climate, who knows what could happen? Perhaps, in the end, the 21st-century version of H. Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” won’t be of jobs leaving the country, but of fat leaving the body.