Free Markets, Free People

You can see this one coming a mile off

The other day in the comment section of one of the many posts on health care, Looker brought up the fact that the new HCR law counts obesity as a chronic illness and uses Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether or not one is obese.   BMI, of course, is not the greatest way to determine obesity.  In fact, given that BMI is used, I even question the underlying definition of “obese”.  But that’s an argument for another day.  Suffice it to say, obesity is now officially a “disease” or “illness”.  And, of course, that means all sorts of new things when talking about it or taking action to counter it, doesn’t it?

So it came as no surprise to me to see this article about the conclusion of a recent study (timing being everything):

The study, involving rats, found that overconsumption of high-calorie food can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain and that high-calorie food can turn rats into compulsive eaters in a laboratory setting, the article said.

[…]

“Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating. Other treatments in development for other forms of compulsion, for example drug addiction, may be very useful for the treatment of obesity,” researcher Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida said in a telephone interview.

Obesity-related diseases cost the United States an estimated $150 billion each year, according to U.S. federal agencies. An estimated two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.

Question – is there anyone out there that hasn’t understood that much of the obesity we see is caused by overeating and overindulging in the wrong  types of foods?   Anyone?  So that’s not news, is it?

So what is the key point to be gleaned from this study?

Well, what does “compulsive” mean?  Ah, yes, now you get it.  The first sentence leads us into the swamp.  Compulsion, as it is used here, is synonymous with addiction.  If obesity is a form of addiction that changes the whole game, doesn’t it?  It is suddenly something you can’t help.  It is something you need help beating, right?   And – follow me here – if the medical profession now finds itself with more and more “government insured” patients who are considered “obese”, per the law and obesity is a “chronic illness”, per the law, what’s likely?

For those who still aren’t following this,  don’t forget the first lady has declared “war” on childhood obesity, the last sentence above tells us that “obesity-related diseases cost the United States an estimated $150 billion each year”, and the government has promised to reduce health care costs via preventive medicine.  So where do you assume that leads us?

Or, here, let me ask this another way that may simplify it for you- which industry is the next to be demonized and which group is next to be draped in the mantle of victimhood and told “it isn’t your fault” while the rest of us pay for their “treatment” ?

~McQ

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5 Responses to You can see this one coming a mile off

  • So would a hamburger be a type-2 or a type-3 controlled substance?  What if you add cheese?

  • Hmph.  Put a bag of Snyder’s Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Pieces in front of me and I’ll show you what compulsive eating is all about!

    McQ…the first lady has declared “war” on childhood obesity, the last sentence above tells us that “obesity-related diseases cost the United States an estimated $150 billion each year”, and the government has promised to reduce health care costs via preventive medicine.  So where do you assume that leads us?

    An interesting Catch-22.  On the one hand, libs assure us that behaviors that people can’t control are “disabilities”, diseases if you will.  On the other, they will presumably attempt to control our behavior through taxes, fines, etc. to reduce obesity and, hence, the costs to the health care system.  “You can’t help it that you’re fat because nasty ol’ food companies and restaurants trick you into overeating, but we’ll tax the sh*t out of you until you lose weight because your big, flabby gut is costing us MONEY!!!”

    I wonder if they’ll take a similar attitude towards HIV / AIDS.

    Nah…

    Lost in all of this is the simple concept that we’re bringing these costs on ourselves because we’ve declared an end to personal responsibility.  If people were responsible for their own health care costs, it wouldn’t matter a jot if they decide to overeat, smoke, ride a motorcycle without a helmet, etc.  “I don’t care if you go skydiving with an unfiltered Camel in one hand and a triple fatburger in the other because I’m not paying for your hospital bills.  Have fun.”

    Personal responsibility is the key to solving our budget problems.

  • “On the other, they will presumably attempt to control our behavior through taxes, fines, etc. to reduce obesity and, hence, the costs to the health care system.”
     
    Ah, my rub – fines, taxes, charges, punishments, all equal……..say it with me children………..R E V E N U E.
     
    Kids, they don’t care if you’re fat (okay there are some who really do, poor benighted do gooding useful tools that they are…and no, I didn’t mean fools, I meant handy good people who really do care about you…) they, your congress critters and lobbyists, care they can now generate revenue from your choice of lifestyle.  Oh, they’ll try and convince us we ought to eat better, and exercise, and all that.    Just like they do with tobacco and alcohol, what an awesome success that’s been eh?
     
    Fact is we have to eat, fact is people are going to eat what they like, even if they force us underground into our homes manufacturing our own bad food to satisfy our cravings.   Course it’s better to tax it and generate revenue from it out in the open isn’t it.  We don’t really want it fixed, the CBO will be making revenue projections based on the profit the government plans on making from our inability to stop ourselves from being ‘chronically overweight’.
     
    And it’s about control – they can tax you, and they can gather data on you to do it.  Fun for everyone. all completely, 100% legal and enforceable.
     
    Yeah, I know, call me a dreamer.  But if I thought of it, you can bet your sweet ass that some Harvard graduate is waaaaaay ahead of me on this.    Hope and Change.

  • So… is a tax on butter, cheese, & salt to be expected before too long?

  • Until I looked into carbs, sugar and how our digestive and blood systems processes them, I thought and ate one way.  After learning some things, I think and eat differently now.  No difference in exercise or other lifestyle issues, but avoiding bad carbs, sugar  and huge portions leaves me 30 pounds lighter, two fewer inches in my waistline and taking the minimum blood pressure and cholesterol medication.  Also avoiding the fate of my grandfather, who died at age 62  with a “barrel chest” and diabetes.  Gramm’s biscuits made with processed flour are deadly (as well as tasty).  Don’t get me started on soda pop.
    My point?  Yes, I am a version of the “health nut”.  I sincerely believe in what I have learned and extol its virtues freely (like here).  Question.  Knowing what I know, do I want to continue to pay the resulting costs so that others can continue their ignorant food consumption?  Ugh… yeah.
    However, once we have crossed over into government-run health care, well… folks, we tried to tell you this was a bad idea.  Trying to limit government intrusion now is folly.  Facts are facts and one can expect government operatives to act on them.
    So what are we to do?  Get the government out of healthcare (well, not entirely;  you know what I mean) and this problem disappears.  It goes back to being a matter of education and societal pressure.  You know what that is:  picture the big fat guy with four hamburgers in front of him at Burger King.  Old days:  jolly good fun. Big smile.  “Boy, you really like Whoppers, don’t you!”   Nowadays:  frowns all around, eyes averted.  He orders take-out.  Eats burgers, but looks into why people think his eating behavior is bad.