Posts tagged ‘health care trojan horse’

Health Care Thought of the Day

If the government can tax food because eating too much can increase health care costs, what about sex?  Sex leads to all kinds of medically expensive consequences (STDs, including AIDS; aborted pregnancies; childbirth).  Shouldn't we tax sex as well, by the same logic?

Health Care Trojan Horse For Fascism (Episode 36)

I have written on this topic any number of times, warning that when government pays the health care bills, said payments gives it nearly infinite room to label just about any individual behavior as "costly" to the health care system and therefore fair game for micro-regulation.

Via a reader:

If you happen to be the 1-in-3 Americans who is neither obese nor overweight (and, thus, considered at risk of becoming obese), you might well conclude that the habits of the remaining two-thirds of Americans are costing you, big time. U.S. life expectancies are expected to slide backward, after years of marching upward. (But that's their statistical problem: Yours is how to make them stop costing you all that extra money because they are presumably making poor choices in their food consumption.)

"Facing the serious consequences of an uncontrolled obesity epidemic, America's state and federal  policy makers may need to consider interventions every bit as forceful as those that succeeded in cutting adult tobacco use by more than 50%," the Urban Institute report says. It took awhile -- almost 50 years from the first surgeon general's report on tobacco in 1964 -- to drive smoking down. But in many ways, the drumbeat of scientific evidence and the growing cultural stigma against obesity already are well underway -- as any parent who has tried to bring birthday cupcakes into her child's classroom certainly knows.

Key among the "interventions" the report weighs is that of imposing an excise or sales tax on fattening foods. That, says the report, could be expected to lower consumption of those foods. But it would also generate revenues that could be used to extend health insurance coverage to the uninsured and under-insured, and perhaps to fund campaigns intended to make healthy foods more widely available to, say, low-income Americans and to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.

Please, please note the text in bold.  They have made overeating a crime with a victim - people who are thin are victims of those who are overweight, and therefore can call on the government to take swift action to protect them.  Eek!  And the LA Times is clearly in love with the idea.   Is it any wonder my chief concern about government health care is not the costs, but the threats to individual liberty?

John Stoessel has further comments.

For those of you comfortably thin who chose to ignore this as not your problem, consider this:  If an overweight person is a threat to a thin person, via the health care charges he might burden taxpayers with, what about, say, a skier?  I don't chose to participate in dangerous sports, so isn't a skier doing a crime against me by the same logic for taking a risk of a potentially expensive injury?  How about a person whose hobby involves dangerous tools.  If TJIC cuts his finger off on his band saw, isn't that costing me money in our new socialist regime?  What about bike riding, or motorcycle riding, or rock climbing, or rugby?  What about any parent that lets their kid play somewhere they could get hurt and cost us mone?

This is why government health care is so dangerous  -- it takes what should be individual decisions with individual consequences and socializes the costs of our personal choices.  Once the costs are socialized, won't control of the choices themselves follow?

Postscript: Again going into morbid mode here, obesity may increase costs for younger patients, but its higher early morbidity actually can reduce lifetime costs.  Basically, morbidly obese people tend to die more often before they grow old enough to get expensive cancers and such.  Several studies have shown lifetime costs for the obese to be lower than for other folks.

Which is not to say that obesity is good, so please do not misunderstand my point.  I would work hard to help someone I loved who was morbidly overweight to get in better health.  Obesity can be bad but its a crappy excuse to take another axe to our free society.

Health Care Trojan Horse (Episode 35)

Via Maggies Farm, Dr. Melissa Clouthier:

y biggest concern with Government Run health care is that the government will run it and run you. That is, your life will be controlled from cradle to grave. You will eat a certain way"¦or else. You will do certain things"¦or else. And the government will have every motivation to force you down a path.

Ultimately, this is a civil liberties issue. Some people say that not having health care for all is shameful in such a wealthy country. Shameful is the notion of a bureaucrat deciding whether you live or die based on the metrics of a chart. That's shameful. And that would be our future. It is a future I don't want to see.

Just look at the big government, totalitarian groups that are for this mess. It should give you an idea of what you'd have to look forward to in the future.

Yep.  It is still amazing to me that the National Organization for Women, who have built 80% of their history on "Keep the government out of my body" is a huge supporter of national health care.

TJIC described the problem well:

The art of socializing everything under the sun, in four steps:

  1. For no reason at all, have the taxpayers deal with situation X.
  2. Declare that people who create situation X are imposing a negative externality on others.
  3. Tax and spend even more on cleaning up mess X, and make it illegal to create situation X, or put high taxes on X.
  4. Create winners and losers. Winners (those collecting tax dollars to clean up mess X) donate to politicians to keep the gravy flowing. Losers (those paying taxes and getting penalized) donate to politicians to lighten the yoke.

One example of application of this approach:

Old school:

  1. Some people overeat and get fat. Some of these people have heart attacks. No problem.

New school:

  1. Decide that taxpayers will pay for socialized health care.
  2. Declare that people who overeat are enemies of the state.
  3. Tax affordable, healthy-in-moderation food that does not appeal to NPR listeners.
  4. Collect the campaign donations.

The Health Care Trojan Horse May Now Have Its Achilles

Via Jacob Sullum:

Today President Obama appointed Thomas Frieden, New York City's crusading health commissioner, as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frieden, an infectious disease specialist who is known mainly as an enthusiastic advocate of New York's strict smoking ban, heavy cigarette taxes, trans fat ban, and mandatory calorie counts on restaurant menu boards, embodies the CDC's shift from illnesses caused by microbes to illnesses caused by lifestyle choices.

Explanation of the health care Trojan Horse here.  More articles here.

More Recognition of the Health Care Trojan Horse

I have argued for a while that one of the undiscussed problems with nationalized or universal health care is that by socializing the costs of individual lifestyle decisions (e.g. eating, drinking, smoking, wearing a bike helmet, etc) it creates a strong financial incentive for the government to micro-manage individual behavior.  I call this the health care trojan horse for fascism (other posts here).

Q&O has a good post, quoting from Paul Hsieh, on this very topic.

Here's how I understood freedom and liberty worked:

Of course healthy diet and exercise are good. But these are issues of personal "“ not government "“ responsibility. So long as they don't harm others, adults should have the right to eat and drink what they wish "“ and the corresponding responsibility to enjoy (or suffer) the consequences of their choices. Anyone who makes poor lifestyle choices should pay the price himself or rely on voluntary charity, not demand that the government pay for his choices.

Does anyone have a particular argument with that?

In fact, if you believe in freedom and liberty, there really isn't another choice, is there?

But here's what's being offered as the alternative:

Government attempts to regulate individual lifestyles are based on the claim that they must limit medical costs that would otherwise be a burden on "society." But this issue can arise only in "universal healthcare" systems where taxpayers must pay for everyone's medical expenses.

The article has a lot of good examples that follow.  Mr. Hsieh's op-ed is here.

As a side note, I was watching the movie "The Golden Compass"  the other day.  The author and the original book are quite critical of religion, at least of the organized kind, and the evil fascist entity against which the protagonists fight is a world-controlling church.  The movie actually purged most of the religion criticism (or at least made it more subtle) and made the bad buys more generically totalitarian, but hangover criticism of the book stuck to the movie as well.

It was not really a particularly good (or bad) movie, but it had one set of lines spoken by the Nicole Kidman character that I couldn't believe came out of Hollywood.  The protagonist, Lyra, asks Kidman about the contradiction between Kidman's unwillingness to let anyone tell her what to do and the rule-making and absolute obedience that her organization demands of all citizens.    I need to go back and watch the movie to get it exactly right (of course, no one on the movie sites found it memorable enough to post).  But it was something like "Only a few of us are capable of making good decisions for ourselves.  We few have to make decisions for everyone else.  It is really for their own good."  It was really a brilliant summary of the modern political mentality, and slipped through I think only because people in Hollywood took it as a criticism of the religious right, not recognizing it as an equally damning indictment of the left.  (if anyone has the exact quote or a link, please post.  It was on the dirigeable fairly early in the movie, I think).

Update: OK, the Golden Compass lines I wanted start about the 3:00 minute mark in this video [thanks to commenter for showing how to link to a specific point in a YouTube video].  Here is how I transcribed it:

Kidman (Mrs. Coulter):  The Magesterium [the world-girdling totalitarian organization] is what people need, to keep things working, by telling people what to do.

Lyra:  But you told the master that you do whatever you please

Kidman:  That's right, clever girl.  Well, some people know what's best for them, and some people don't.  Besides, they don't tell people what to do in a mean and petty way, they tell them in a kindly way, to keep them out of danger.

Its really hilarious to read through reviews, as I have trying to find this quote.  Apparently (though I missed it at the time) it became a left-right debate about the movie.  The hilarious part is all the left-leaning blogs criticising the right for not seeing how well the shoe fits, without for a second considering that this is a perfect recitation of their end game as well.

Again, about 3:00 into the below: