Health Care Trojan Horse

I have written a lot about government-provided health care as a Trojan Horse for government micro-management of individual behaviors.  The logic is that once the government is paying for your health care, your decisions that once only affected yourself now affect public costs.  Here is a great example:

Touting new recommendations from an Institute of Medicine panel on obesity on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, science correspondent Robert Bazell proclaimed to viewers: "...a sea change in how we perceive obesity. No longer a question of individual responsibility, but a need to change what's called an 'obesity-promoting environment.' Calling on corporations, government and individuals to act."...

Bazell further pushed the findings: "With the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses approaching $200 billion a year, many on the panel say the nation is ready to act."

I wonder how many feminists who were pretended to be libertarian rather than just pro-abortion by arguing "keep government policy out of my body" are all-in on this type of food consumption regulation?  I would bet a lot.

Update:  Here is an idea -- let's deal with the perceived issue of people eating poorly by ... licensing nutritionists to make their advice scarcer and more expensive.  And here too.

  • BFD

    Can we say the Eighteenth and Twenty-first Amendments to the United States Constitution?

  • Sean

    If you are a bureaucrat, the justification of your position is the problems that you address. It is remarkable how much time and energy the government spends telling us we are doing the wrong thing and we have to improve. But I don't think they really want the problem solved, they just want to extract a pound of flesh on the presumption that it will solve the problem. Look at cigarette smoking. In our state, 75% of the purchase price goes to the government. In NY, the state's take is approaching 85%. And in NY, how much enforcement of smoking regulations is to insure you don't go out of state for your nicotine fix vs. smoking cessation plans? And these smoking taxes are 3x more likely to be paid by the poor vs. the affluent. What a system.

  • http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/ Eric Simpson

    In fact, to straitjacket our freedoms, you have the liberal trifecta of Obamacare, climate change controls (possibly cap & trade, EPA, global govt etc), and new intrusive technology. "You can't just get in the car and drive willy nilly because of climate change," and by 2015 black boxes will be mandated in cars (where were the Repubs on this vote?!). You can't just pick up a plate and start eating whatever salty fatty sugary food you want, because this may effects our national medical bill! You can't just lounge around watching TV, it effects our medical bill! You can't weigh that much, or that little. Big Brother will be with you all the time. There is value in our freedom, the freedom this country was founded for. End the steady govt takeover of our lives!

    "Obama is already setting a new historic course by reorienting the economy from private consumption to public investments...free-market pundits bemoan the evident intention of Obama and team to 'tell us what kind of car to drive'. Yet that is exactly what they intend to do...and rightly so. Free-market ideology is an anachronism in an era of climate change." -- Jeffey Sachs, Columbia University, Director of The Earth Institute

  • DrTorch

    Considering the conventional wisdom that nutritionists have spouted for the past 60 years has contributed tremendously to the obesity problem, maybe licensing them is a good thing.

  • Mark2

    We are all fat because the government redefined obesity about 20 years ago.

    There is a movie Fat Head - available free on Hulu if you care to watch. The movie is a cut on supersize me, and also explains a lot of the government scams involving diet. Not surprisingly, it is much like the global warming debate. The guy was looking for visibly fat people to film and it took him hours. Then we find by the new BMI standards this trim guy is fat and how the government redefined fatness.

    If they kept the old fatness standard, there would be no way to control us. With the new standard where everyone is fat - now we have a great excuse for government to intervene.

  • marco73

    I'm actually doing my part to store up for the coming mass starvations that have been predicted by the AGW crowd. Damned if I'm going to rely on the government to distribute food.

  • Ted Rado

    The march toward an elected dictatorship, where every facet of our lives is micromanaged by the government, continues. The day will come when, because over half of Americans benefit from USG handouts, it will become impossible to vote the idiots out of office. What then?

  • brauneyz

    I do not know many female libertarians. I know even fewer females pretending to be such. I'm fighting for autonomy over my body in all regards, and don't expect society to pay for my choices and their consequences. Giving the food police domain over my diet would be rather a "progressive" idea, not a libertarian one, no?

    What's with the feminist crack?

  • caseyboy

    Sean, "If you are a bureaucrat, the justification of your position is the problems that you address." Actually that should be the problems you create and then try to address. Always remember most of our problems are the unintended consequences of the government's attempt fix something else.

  • DoctorT

    "... With the cost of treating obesity-related illnesses approaching $200 billion a year..."

    Bullcrap. Here's how they play the game: hypertension, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis-related conditions, osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, reflux esophagitis, etc. are diseases or conditions in which obesity _may_ be a causative factor or a severity-increasing factor. The nanny-state government bureaucrats add up _all_ the treatment costs for _all_ those diseases to come up with the $200 billion a year number. The facts they omit are that the majority of those costs were for treating non-obese persons and that among the obese with such conditions, the obesity itself typically is only one of multiple factors that caused or contributed to the severity of the conditions.

    The nanny-state bureaucrats inflate drug- and alcohol-related statistics the same way. For example, a sober designated driver with three passengers who had been drinking gets hit by a semi because its driver fell asleep. All four people in the car die. The blood alcohol levels of the three passengers had nothing to do with the accident or their deaths, but those three fatalities will be classified as "alcohol-related."

  • DoctorT

    DrTorch: "Considering the conventional wisdom that nutritionists have spouted for the past 60 years has contributed tremendously to the obesity problem, maybe licensing them is a good thing."

    The problem is that most of the bad nutrition advice comes from people who would meet licensing standards. To this day, thousands of nutritionists (most with state licenses) and the federal government are advocating low fat, moderate protein, high carbohydrate diets as the standard for most people. That advice is wrong and is the biggest contributor to the increased adiposity of the US population over the past forty years. It is especially bad advice for the quarter of the population with a family history of adult-onset diabetes.

  • Ariel

    I'm sorry, but yeah we are fatter. A woman's size four is roughly what an eight was when I was a kid; there are more fat kids now, as well overly-endowed girls, than when I was a kid. The baseline has moved but not in the direction of calling "fat" what was normal 40 years ago, but just the opposite. My 16 year old daughter is well shaped, matching the girls I knew in the late 60s early 70s, but the school experts have grilled her as to whether she is anorexic or bulimic. Next time I grill them...The weight data for past years is available on line.

    That the government finds another area to expand it's power is to be expected; rule by experts was called what in the thirties?

  • Matt

    If they cared as much about "choice" as they claimed to, they'd have already been fighting for choice in places where it's endangered by the intrusions of the state. Instead, they've been silent. The only conclusion to be drawn is that "choice" is simply a code word for them, and what they actually care about is killing babies. Any choice which doesn't lead to the death of a baby is one they don't care about.

  • Ted Rado

    The recommendations for a healthy diet have been all over the place during my lifetime. How much of it is hokus pokus I don't know.

    I had a friend (an ex Marine) who worked out and walked every day, watched his diet, (fruit and veggies), and had a physique like an 18 year old marine. He died of cancer at age 72. Life consists of making a bunch of decisions between what is theoretically best (diet, finance, exercise, etc.) and what is most enjoyable. If someone enjoys fine dining and dies a few years earlier than they might have optherwise, why is that necessarily a bad decision?

  • DensityDuck

    Nourse's "The Blade Runner" would seem to be relevant. Due to the cost of healthcare, the government decrees that anyone who wants to be treated in a state hospital must be permanently sterilized via surgical removal of the gonads.