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

Michelle Obama “We can’t just leave it up to the parents”

That’s a quote from Michelle Obama during the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act.  It is also a quote out of context.   So let’s be fair – here’s the entire quote:

“But when our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, and when many children get up to half their daily calories from school meals, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well,” Mrs. Obama said. “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.  I think that parents have a right to expect that their efforts at home won’t be undone each day in the school cafeteria or in the vending machine in the hallway.  I think that our parents have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards.”

Unlike it is being characterized in some places, she’s essentially claiming it is the job of government to aid parents in ensuring that children are properly fed at school.

Hate to be a party pooper, but in reality it isn’t the job of any government our founders envisioned.   It is a job that government has assumed because a) it put itself in charge of schools and b) it decided it had to feed children while they are at school.

In fact, as benign as you may consider that, it is just another indication of the creeping reach of government.  Michelle Obama is using the force of law to do what she and the legislators who approved this bill have decided constitutes “good nutrition” regardless of what parents think.  The fact that it may actually be “good nutrition” and a benefit doesn’t change the fact that parents wishes or desires aren’t a part of this at all. 

In fact, what most parents think they have a “right” to is deciding what their children will or won’t do, eat, participate in or undergo.  Somehow government constantly wedges its way into this “right” and attempts to usurp a lot of those decisions.  And it is when it finally establishes that position of power that it begins banning things like bake sales in schools and the like.

I know that most are going to view this law as a “good thing”.   But looking at the following, you tell me what say parents are going to have concerning this program:

The law increases spending on school nutrition programs by $4.5 billion over ten years and encompasses a range of provisions, including offering qualified children breakfast, lunch and dinner at school, as well as meals during the summer. It also includes a pilot program for “organic foods.”

No one wants hungry or malnourished children.  But for the most part, given the other food programs that are available to single mothers and low income families, I would guess the problem is vastly overstated.  This is feel good legislation that lets the do-gooders pat themselves on the back and adds yet another layer of government intrusiveness.  It also assumes more and more responsibility for the children of others while requiring less from the parents.  In essence, and as we all know, there is going to be a certain segment of the population that abrogates their responsibility to feed their children – when they’re perfectly capable of doing it — to take advantage of such a program when in fact they could (and should) shoulder the responsibility themselves (not to mention the bonding benefits of the “family dinner”).  And it thus becomes just another dependency welfare program at that point.

People who agree with this sort of interventionist government program are going to claim the usual – $4.5 billion is but a drop in the budgetary bucket and it is “for the children”. 

Of course it takes many drops to fill a bucket, and no one said creeping tyranny wouldn’t come cloaked is seemingly benign programs.  Personal responsibility, of course, is not one of the virtues this sort of a program encourages.  And that is a virtue that government should be stressing instead of further inserting itself in our lives.