More on the Health Care Trojan Horse for Fascism

Frequent readers will now that I have long warned of government-funded health care acting as a Trojan horse for micro-management of our personal lives, the logic being that if our lifestyles or behaviors make us less healthy, then the government that funds medical care may claim an interest in regulating those behaviors.  I often post examples of this phenomena, the most recent of which is here.

This installment comes via Reason, and looks at the NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan's new fascism to prevent diabetes program.  I am not sure I even need to comment on the following for you to get the picture:

New York City is at the forefront of this new public health movement. In
January, city health officials began
requiring
that medical testing labs report the results of blood sugar tests for all
the city's diabetics directly to the health department. This is first time
that any government has begun tracking people who have a chronic disease.
The New York City Department of Health will analyze the data to identify
those patients who are not adequately controlling their diabetes. They will
then receive letters or phone calls urging them to be more vigilant about
their medications, have more frequent checkups, or change their diet....

So what could be wrong with merely monitoring and reminding people to take
better care of themselves?  New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan
has made it clear that it won't necessarily end there. If nagging is not
sufficient to reduce the health consequences of the disease, other steps
will be taken. Friedan
argues
that "modifications of the physical environment to promote physical
activity, or of the food environment to address obesity, are essential for
chronic disease prevention and control." Friedan envisions regulations for
chronic disease control including "local requirements on food pricing,
advertising, content, and labeling; regulations to facilitate physical
activity, including point-of-service reminders at elevators and safe,
accessible stairwells; tobacco and alcohol taxation and advertising and
sales restrictions; and regulations to ensure a minimal level of clinical
preventive services."

The NYC health department starred in a previous post for their brave attack on restaurants that give patrons too much for their money.

  • Maurice Sonnenwirth

    There is no question that you are correct about health care as a Trojan horse, and it is all because of the government funding. There is a both a knowledge problem and a slippery slope argument about this. The knowledge problem is...what are the appropriate measures to take? What's the best diet? How much exercise is too much? NO ONE KNOWS. Yes, the commonsense thing for Type 2 diabetes is to..be born to the right parents, exercise (but how much?) and avoid a lot of sugar (but wait, the sugar folks tell us it's not such a problem) and fat (but which fat: Just trans fats, all fats...but what about Crete where they use copious amounts of olive oil and live long lives?).

    The science is just not clear. That alone makes this frightening, as whatever the goverment tells us is not necessarly the "gospel" 10 years later...look at how we now demonize margarine, but for years, that's what we were told to eat. So it's infinitely stupid to even begin to try to control anyone; advice is good, but eroding our liberties so completely is absurd.

    The slippery slope is inherent in..where do they stop? You've already noted this, but there is no end to micro-managing our lives if they deem something "dangerous" to our health. Ostensibly they could make it so the only thing in the supermarket is that which THEY have deemed healthy, or add onerous taxes to the Twinkies and ice cream...but which product is really unhealthy? My daughter is a Type 1 diabetic, and I can tell from my standpoint, about 3/4ths of the local food market's products are not very healthy for her...but that's from my knowledge; if the government decides the same things, we could end up with as much choice as Soviet-era food shoppers had in Russia!

    Scary stuff, and you have brilliantly pointed it out more than anyone I have read. Only one other thing I would add is that the enormous costs of just administering these programs would be insane; medical care is already becoming more bureaucratized by the day, with the added costs of paperwork, added workers to cull through the billions of documents we generate...I think I counted something like 17 pieces of paper generated on every patient I see who walks through the door in the ER I work in...that's only what's visible to me and is NOT the entirety of the paperwork, just what comes to me, and that's on anyone, serious illness or stubbed toe...and so I want to know how they will pay for their vigilance.

    I would guess the argument will be that by these measures, diabetes costs will be controlled...but that is a chimeric ideal that will not pan out in the real world, IMHO.

    Thanks for the continued series about health care. It's an aspect completely ignored by both the public and many in the medical care community, who are propagandized into believing these are good measures, and have no concept of what you have pointed out, about how fascistic this is and how liberty is lost as a result. Thanks.

  • Jeff

    Just imagine the HIPPA risks. The IT security at local government agencies is generally horrible. If people are scared of insurance companies having personal health data, they should be even more scared of the government collecting it.

  • markm

    Jeff: What risk? Look up "qualified immunity." Government officials are allowed to make stupid decisions and be free from lawsuits, where any private person making a similar stupid decision affecting someone else could be sued.

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