Update on the Health Care Trojan Horse for Fascism

I have warned for quite a while that government health care is a Trojan horse for all kinds of intrusive micro-regulations of our decisions and behaviors.  Here's an update: (via Maggies Farm)

"As the government assumes a larger share of health care costs, it is increasingly able to use that as a justification to intrude into personal decisions or private enterprises, whether it's a matter of smoking policy, trans-fats, or salt," we wrote last month. Now the Wall Street Journal is out with an editorial praising Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity, reasoning, "the reality is that U.S. obesity imposes huge costs on taxpayers. In 2006, the per capita increase in spending attributable to obesity was 36% for Medicare and 47% for Medicaid, according to a paper last year in Health Affairs. Many fat kids grow up to be fat adults, and you've got to start somewhere."

Almost any behavior or decisions, from eating to driving to sports participation, has implications on one's potential future health care costs.  So by this logic, almost anything can be regulated.  For example, I would argue that sex has a much higher health care cost impact than eating, not just in STD's but in the cost of pregnancies and pediatrics.   Or as another example, our family spent far more in health care costs on treating our kids' accidents while playing sports than in dealing with any obesity costs.  Should we be requiring kids to stay indoors playing on the computer where they will be safe from potentially expensive accidents?


  1. Ron Russell:

    Cassandra tried unsuccessfully to warn the ancient Trojans of the approaching danger, but her gift of foretelling the future also had the curse that do one would believe her. Many are still honoring that great gift that Obama is presenting to the nation, but more are seeing the many dangers hiding in the great beast.

  2. James:

    People describe this as a Trojan Horse, but how much more obvious could this be? Restricting freedom isn't a bug of socialization, it's a feature.

    I'm as libertarian as they come, but if I'm forced to pay for your bypass surgery, or your scooter, or whatever else your fat ass needs, then I have an incentive to make sure your ass doesn't get fat. Instead of me not caring what you do to yourself, you've forced me, Mr. Libertarian, to yearn for curbs on your freedom.

  3. damaged justice:

    James: So you're willing to knuckle under to threats of violence and pay the parasites' bills. How's that working out for you and the rest of the rapidly shrinking productive class?

    If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll only get more of the same.

  4. Gil:

    Parents might well be willing to let their kids play computer games instead of sports if their medical costs was totally user pays.

  5. James:

    @damaged justice

    Of course I'm willing to "knuckle under threats of violence" to pay other people's bills. Why do you think I pay over 50% of my income back to the form of government in the form of Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, Use, Income, Property, Capital Gains, and a litany of other taxes I don't even want to think about, a huge percentage of which provide me absolutely no benefit. I'm not willing to go to war with the government. If it gets too bad, I'll simply retire, just like most of the people I know.

    My point is that those who call for socialization as well as increased freedom are either hypocrites of the worst kind, or morons of the highest order.

  6. Fred Z:

    So now sex is risky and we shall have a f**king tax on it?

  7. Craig:

    Yes, Fred, we're going to tax "thingy."

  8. ADiff:

    Fred Z,

    And what makes you think there aren't already taxes on it?

  9. Dr. T:

    There is strong evidence that excessive stress causes more health problems in the USA than almost any other factor, including obesity. The decisions and actions of lame-brained and venal politicians and government bureaucrats create tremendous stress among the population. Therefore, we should eliminate most government agencies and employees, limit all legislative sessions to four weeks per year, and disallow all campaigning prior to August 1st of election years. These actions will directly reduce government-related stresses and will indirectly reduce personal finance-related stresses (due to smaller governments and lower taxes). We'll be healthier and happier. Write your representatives today about these medically sound proposals.

  10. Allen:

    To add to @Dr.T's statement, most obesity studies are flawed as they rely on BMI as though it's telling us something.

    Think about it, can we really say with a straight face that given we know most of the cost of medical care comes near the end of life that half of that is _all_ due to childhood obesity? Really? The other 60, 70, 80 years inbetween that medicare treatment and childhood are just half? Really?

    The bureaucrats have become drama queens.

  11. Quint X:

    Of course, this is exactly why so called "positive rights" are complete and utter bullshit. The danger of creeping fascism is perfectly illustrated in James' comments. The nature of the welfare state is to create perverse incentives that leave us yearning for what we hate most, and cursing that which we would freely choose otherwise.

  12. damaged justice:

    Who said you had to go to war? You said it yourself. Retire. Withdraw your consent. Just say no.

    "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."
    - Etienne de la Boetie

  13. roger the shrubber:

    "resolving to serve [the tyrant] no more" is a lovely idea in theory - in real life, it doesn't necessarily work out all that well. stop serving the tyrant, anger him in any way, and he'll send his well-paid, special-privileged, gold-plated-pensioned police after you. and THEY will place their hands upon YOU. then what? think your neighbors will come to the rescue?

    the good folks of russia waited 70 years for the tyrant to collapse. while they waited, he killed some...oh....30,000,000 of them to keep them in line. in china, they still wait after 60 years, and 50,000,000+ dead. north korea: 60 years and counting, a third (?) of the population starved/worked to death, the survivors stunted so badly they look like children. crazy bob in zimbabwe turned the jewel of africa into a starving toilet, and he sleeps quite well in his presidential palaces still. mad mahmoud in iran? (or, more properly, the rafsanjani and khamenei families) doing quite well, thanks. not going ANYwhere. the butcher of sudan, reviled the world over for the darfur genocide? why, they throw him parties at pan-african meetings. how long has qaddafi had libya under his guns? or mubarak held egypt in thrall? the assad family's going on...what? ...50 years now of iron rule in syria? the generals have been running burma for their own gain for 50 years now....still waiting on "change". suppose someone NOT named "saud" would like a shot at running saudia arabia? not likely...and on and on and ON.

    sometimes waiting works out. once in a blue moon, say. but as the world turns and technology gets more pervasive, though, i suggest its becoming a crappier strategy by the minute. just a thought: suppose the english should magically regrow their balls one fine day, and try to overthrow the government that's systematically disarmed them and made them foreigners and criminals in their own land. since the government has *all the guns*, and some 2,000,000 + CCTV cameras to boot, who you think's gonna win that one? and the brit gov is *cupcakes* compared to the world's more, uh, "robust" tyrants, no?

  14. IgotBupkis:

    Yeah, and how much of this $%#$%$#^ "obesity" crap is attributable to the fact that they've massively revised the definition of "obesity" downwards in the last 20-odd years, too? To the point where it has no rational connection to sense of any kind?

    According to the current standards, if you aren't spending half your free time at the gym, and you're over 30, you're going to be "obese" in 75% of all cases. It's frigging ridiculous. Especially when, 30 years from now, they're going to have an entirely different set of standards based on the discovery that body fat has longevity benefits previously unnoticed until the whole population was starving themselves trying to attain some blonde supermodel's idea of appropriate leanness.

    Simply put -- Different people have different physiques.

    When I hit 30 I was in the best shape of my life. I could do a stairmaster at its maximum level for well over an hour without stopping, and could do all the nautilus, etc., machines at 2-3 times (or more) of the initial weight I used when I started.

    My body fat, however, was still over 15%, and my BMI was 26.

    That's "overweight"! Flat out ludicrous.

    The whole concept of "obesity" has been distorted, twisted, and abused -- much like all the AGW crap -- to get funding for a "problem" where none exists.

    These people can osculate my posterior... "Not on zee left side, not on zee right side, but right in zee middle."

  15. tehag:

    "So you’re willing to knuckle under to threats of violence and pay the parasites’ bills. How’s that working out for you and the rest of the rapidly shrinking productive class?"

    Terrible, but unless you're willing to go full-on Ayers or Unibomber with me, damn straight I'm knuckling under. Cowardice is one of my best features.

    Any socialist health care system that punishes people for their weight gain, second case of clap, second ski-related broken bone will cause staggering amounts of fraud to avoid these punishments, as kindly doctors take bribes to misdiagnose ailments.

  16. horse blogs:

    The decisions and actions of lame-brained and venal politicians and government bureaucrats create tremendous stress among the population. Therefore, we should eliminate most government agencies and employees, limit all legislative sessions to four weeks per year, and disallow all campaigning prior to August 1st of election years.