Free Markets, Free People

Speaking of your health care, the obese should prepare for another government mandate

Given that ObamaCare has been upheld, the following shouldn’t take many people by surprise:

In a move that could significantly expand insurance coverage of weight-loss treatments, a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urged doctors to identify patients with a body mass index of 30 or more — currently 1 in 3 Americans — and either provide counseling themselves or refer the patient to a program designed to promote weight loss and improve health prospects.

Under the current healthcare law, Medicare and most private insurers would be required to cover the entire cost of weight-loss services that meet or exceed the task force’s standards.

And, of course, all that will be “free” and cost absolutely nothing because ObamaCare has magically lowered costs in the insurance and health care world.

Read those three sentences carefully.  You can see the coming disaster easily through this fairly simple example.  Government has a solution to obesity.  More government.

First BMI is a crock of crap.  Anyone who has spent a day looking into it knows that.  Yet the government stubbornly holds on to the standard.  I’m 6’ and 188 pounds.  My BMI is 26 which makes me “overweight”.  Sorry, that’s BS.   And if you have any muscle mass at all, you can most likely count on being overweight even if you’re in the best shape of your life.

But BMI is what we’re going to see used to determine who that one-third are, and the bottom two-thirds?  Well they have a role too.  They will be paying for that top one-third’s “intensive weight loss services” for which the law mandates insurers pay.

What are those standards of treatment?

The task force concluded after a review of the medical literature that the most successful programs in improving patients’ health were "intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions." They involve 12 to 26 counseling sessions a year with a physician or community-based program, the panel said.

Successful programs set weight-loss goals, improve knowledge about nutrition, teach patients how to track their eating and set limits, identify barriers to change (such as a scarcity of healthful food choices near home) and strategize on ways to maintain lifestyle changes, the panel found.

The programs set goals?  Anyone who is past the age of 20 and with an IQ above room temperature knows that programs setting goals are useless.  Unless the person for whom the program is setting those goals is willingly and totally committee to change, it won’t work.  Ask any ex-smoker or alcoholic.

But, cynic that I am, I see opportunities here for all sorts of waste, fraud and abuse.  It is found in the phrase “community based programs”.  The new growth industry?  “Intensive, multicomponent” weight loss companies contracted to the government to provide “behavioral interventions” and facilitate weight loss.  Because otherwise, doctors have to do the sessions and we all know that’s going to happen, don’t we?  We;’re so overstocked with them and they have so little to do.

And don’t you just love the phrase “behavioral intervention?”  Sounds … ominous?

Finally, the government is still pushing diet regimes that don’t solve the problem.  Look at the sample menu here on this 1,600 low calorie menu.  Note the carbohydrates and sugars in that menu (sugars aren’t noted, but it has juice and fruit).  If you want to lose weight it is those you must cut out.  Not salt.  Not even fat.  The body converts carbs and sugars to glucose.  And it burns glucose before it burns fat.  If you load up on things that produce glucose and the body doesn’t burn It all, it then stores the rest as fat.  So you want a diet that reduces glucose production and has the body burning stored fat.  That is how you lose weight.  That means removal of grains, bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.  You should also avoid starchy vegetables like corn.

That menu is loaded with them.   Personal experience.  Go low carb and you’ll see weight drop off and quickly (like 7 pounds in a week).  At some point, you can begin to add a few carbs back in when you go to maintenance mode.  There are or may be some initial unpleasant side effects to going low carb, but you get over them fairly quickly.

But government continues to push a “balanced” diet loaded with all the things that actually help make us fat.

If any weight is lost using their plan it will be excruciatingly slow and if you think someone is going to stick with a diet like that I’ve linked for very long, you don’t know human nature.   If you’re going to motivate someone to lose weight, you’d better show them some pretty real and dramatic progress fairly quickly or you’re going to lose their interest in about 2 weeks, a month at the most.  Because here is ground truth about diets:

A common argument that many experts wield against carbohydrate restriction is that all diets fail, the reason being that people just don’t stay on diets. So why bother? But this argument implicitly assumes that all diets work in the same way—we consume fewer calories than we expend—and thus all fail in the same way.

But this isn’t true. If a diet requires that you semi-starve yourself, it will fail, because (1) your body adjusts to the caloric deficit by expending less energy, (2) you get hungry and stay hungry, and (3), a product of both of these, you get depressed, irritable, and chronically tired. Eventually you go back to eating what you always did—or become a binge eater—because you can’t abide semi-starvation and its side effects indefinitely. -Taubes, Gary (2010). Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (p. 209). Random House, Inc.

By the way, that’s a great book and I recommend it highly. 

Anyway, I didn’t mean to wander off into a diet discussion, but it only helps reinforce my point.  Government, as of now, is touting exactly the wrong stuff to fight obesity.  Yet it plans, obviously, on taking the lead, having doctors prescribe the weight loss programs and require unwilling “obese” people to take them.  And all of it will ‘cost less’ – never mind the golden opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse.

Yes, friends, now that the government owns health care, it has a plan for all you fatties out there.   Whether or not you really want to lose weight that’s another choice (freedom) you’ll probably lose.  Mandatory obesity screening and a prescribed program of weight loss coming you’re way whether you want it or not.  And all at a nominal cost, of course.  Because, you know, health care costs have been reduced now that we all have to have insurance or pay a tax.

Welcome to your new world.



Twitter: @McQandO

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18 Responses to Speaking of your health care, the obese should prepare for another government mandate

  • Indeed, once government controls the purse strings there will be no end to what they will dream up to modify behavior.  Forced exercise?  Fines for eating fatty foods?  Everything is on the table at this point and anyone who doesn’t think the logical endgame is complete government control over individual behaviors is a naive fool.

  • “Whether we advertise the fact or not, the moment we cease to support the government it dies a [natural] death.”

    The Supreme Court isn’t “supreme” in the sense it has the final say in American life. It rules on law.
    Each of us has to decide what laws we will be bound under. If you will be bound by any law, you already have said you will be a slave. You are just awaiting the passage of that law.
    Prohibition was abolished because so many Americans just said NO.
    Civil disobedience works any time it is supported by a sufficient number of the people.
    We yet have the ballot option this November, and we can hope that will avail. But many of us have already determined we will not comply with this assault on our freedom.

  • “And if you have any muscle mass at all, you can most likely count on being overweight even if you’re in the best shape of your life”
    And ‘big boned’ Don’t forget ‘big-boned’.
    And, speaking of boned…
    “the most successful programs in improving patients’ health were “intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions.”
    “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urged doctors to identify patients…”
    Uh oh. I’m in trouble. To paraphrase Pastor Niemoller, “…but when they came for the obese,…”.
    Death panels and fat camps. Arbeit macht schlank.

  • Speaking of ominous, don’t miss this one
    “…limits, identify barriers to change (such as a scarcity of healthful food choices near home) and…”

    More junk science BS that invites government interference.

  • Well, now the term ‘fat tax’ is going to have a completely different meaning ain’t it.   Wonder if Bloomberg will decide it’s time to save us on a national level.

  • As I see it, these counseling sessions are just intended to make recommendations about diet to give people information of which they may not be aware—similarly to the public’s ignorance about Obama Care.   Some will avail themselves of the information, change their habits; some might learn they have a condition that requires medical consultation that may require treatment, and they will have the medical coverage to do so—when the national healthcare program is fully in place.  None of this plan takes away anyone’s freedom; there aren’t going to be re-education or death camps for the terminally obese; the program is ultimately voluntary—except possible for the information.

    • Then they’re a waste of money, Tad … that’s the point. And, again, they’re going to be forced on people, which seems to be fine with you.

      You really don’t get this freedom stuff, do you?

      • So when the fatties rise up and demand a right to their own bodies, the right to privately be lardy, and campaign for their own Roe vs Wade ruling to keep government out of the kitchen and drive-throughs, who’s side will tadcf be on?

        • I see a future of government provided fat transplants to assure that the adipose-challenged can really be who they are.  Who are we to judge them?

    • “when the national healthcare program is fully in place”
      Yeah, weight control programs instituted by national health services are a spiffing success… just look at the rest of the world for great examples. OK, the Western world perhaps since North Korea seems to manage quite well on the fatty front.

    • Right, voluntary.  You can voluntarily pay a penalty for being ‘big boned’.   You can voluntarily agree to be pigeonholed into a BMI grouping that shows you are overweight even if by any sane definition of the term, you are not.
      There will all sorts of ‘voluntary’ things now Tad.   The comfort I have is that inevitably, YOU will find your niche in the list of ‘voluntary’ things that require you to pay more, do more, and be less free.    That’s small comfort, but at this point I’m taking what I can get.
      and speaking of ‘big boned’, let’s follow along the view line Rags has pointed out – heh, let’s imagine how interesting it’s going to get when people are labeled, officially, ‘fat’, by the government.  Yessir, we’re in for a new round of sensitivity and Orwellian double speak once that howling begins.

  • During the healthcare debate in 2009, I wrote a comment on this blog stating the best you could hope for (I’m Canadian), is a single payer system with a parallel private system.

    I am a huge believer in liberty and dislike dependency. However, the simple truth is that more people prefer security than liberty. 

    For reasons well understood by the readers of this blog, your heathcare “system” is a Rube Goldberg machine that encourages fraud, waste and overuse.  Obamacare does nothing to change this and will probably make it worse, hastening the day of reckening on your debt.

    Save your energy on repealing Obamacare. I suggest a bolder approach to this Gordian knot. Strike a grand bargain with the Left. Advocate a single payer system that utilizes vouchers, health spending accounts and breaks the link between enployment and heath insurance, while enshrining the Left’s concept of universality.