Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health Care Reform for Computers

The debate around health care has heated up in the week since the bill's passing, to a level that arguably surpasses that which was sustained during the bill's journey into law. Indeed opponents of the bill, much like same sex union supporters in California, seem to have waited until the bills' actual passage into law before unleashing their anger and frustration.

Angry, disparaging cries of "socialism" are raining down from all corners. However can a bill that merely mandates one to have health insurance of some kind really be any more socialist than the decades old California law that requires one to have automobile insurance?

In the case of computers, it's perhaps a little more straight forward. All Apple computer hardware, for instance, is covered by a one year limited warranty that includes 90 days of free telephone technical support. Beyond that, you're on your own. Unless of course, you subscribe to AppleCare.

The AppleCare Protection Plan can be regarded as a kind of health insurance for your computer. The basic AppleCare plan provides three years of hardware coverage and software support for your computer. Services include global access to telephone tech support, on-site repair for desktop computers and global repair coverage for any mishap that occurs.

Now there are certainly no laws that mandate one purchasing AppleCare, or any similar warranty plans available for PCs. However most computer stores, online and terrestrial, will strongly recommend that one do so. After all computers, much like the human body, do sometimes go astray despite our best efforts to care for them. Just like us they can fall victim to viruses, crashes or some faulty internal component. To spend several hundred or even a couple thousand on a new computer without also buying some kind of insurance would seem foolhardy. To careen through life without similar coverage on oneself would seem similarly so.

So while there is no government mandate telling us we need to go out and put our laptops and desktops under protective warranty, perhaps a law that instructs us to do so with our bodies is in our best interest after all. Because while it may be possible to recover one's hard drive after a system crash, in the real world there may not be any coming back from the blue screen of death.

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