In Thursday’s episode of NBC’s Superstore, the gang at the big box store ventures into the virtuous world of socialized medicine. However, the show's takeaway is quite different from the characters' initial idea.
The employees are suffering from the woes of their horrible insurance. One employee is stuck on a half-year waiting list, and the high deductible of everyone's insurance is prohibitive. Therefore, the character Jonah has an idea: the group will start a fund to which everybody contributes evenly, and when someone is in need, the financial resources will be ready for use.
The plan receives some resistance: Isaac says it sounds like socialism. Someone responds with an ignorant endorsement of the repressive economic system which is the gateway drug to communism. Of course, there is no counterpoint offered:
Jonah: So, instead of relying on the jar method, we would each contribute 20 bucks a month, and then the fund grows, and then we pay it out--
Employee: Slow your roll. This sounds like a pyramid scheme.
Jonah: Guys, this is not a pyramid scheme, okay? A pyramid scheme needs to recruit. This — what’s — this is -- Technically, this is recruiting, but--
Amy: Oh, I think this is going really well.
Isaac: Well I smell socialism, and we all know where that leads.
Garrett: High literacy rates, low infant mortality, increased quality of life, fjords.
Isaac: Uh, no, the government watching us on the toilet.
Amy: Hey, guys, look. I know that this idea seems really not well thought out and that it's totally naive. That's all I wanted to say.
Anti-socialism Isaac is portrayed as a conspiracy theorist, of course.
But as the group’s communal fund grows, so does their subsequently encouraged casual use of it. Before long, the demand exceeds the supply. Amy notes, “So in the first four hours, you’ve managed to commit us to $37,000.”
In the end, the group reaches a conclusion: in order for their system to work, different people need to pay different amounts, not according to their ability, but rather, according to their need. Karl Marx would not be pleased. In the end, the show filled a prescription the whole world needs -- one for the truth.