What if restaurants were paid like doctors?

Imagine if food was a universal right in America, and citizens can forward the bill to the national government.

Wendy Lynch does so, and hypothetically describes a system which assigns an “RVU” value to weigh the cost of different meals. Examples include “basic oatmeal and fruit served at a diner in Omaha is assigned a RVU of 1 . . . for consumers needing special meals, a three-course, no-gluten, antioxidant-rich, organic meal prepared in an allergen-free kitchen, is assigned an RVU of 16.”

So, what happens? Well, you can guess what the unintended consequences are: “Chefs soon learn that having special skills means earning a better living. So, even though 85% of the population needs simple, nutritious-but-low-RVU meals, fewer and fewer chefs in culinary school undergo general, primary-food training. Cafeterias serving the basics like chicken noodle soup, baked fish and steamed vegetables have begun to close down because funds barely cover the cost of mass meal distribution. Soon, simple meals for families in places like Casper, Wyoming are almost impossible to find.”

Welcome to the world of the third-party payer, where the consequences will be the same no matter what industry it’s applied to.