Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Health care costs/unnecessary

The national news lately has been reporting how some governmental and private organizations have taken to banning smoking on the premises. Not just in the buildings, by the entrance ways or nearby sidewalks, but also the parking lots and associated property. Anywhere. Anyone caught smoking will be given a few warnings but if they continue they will be fired. In some ways this is admirable. In some ways it is an attack on personal rights regarding a practice, disgusting and injurious to one's health as it may be, as yet is completely within the law. Annual health costs related to smoking run around $97 billion. That's a lot of money. It also costs lives at an early age. However, there is another health hazard that is only spoken about nicely and almost ignored so as not to offend someone that has an annual health cost of at the very least, $197 billion.: Obesity! Especially among the folks in this country that live in poverty.

Obesity is a national disaster and is getting worse by the day. Just look around. Why aren't obese people forbidden to eat in those same buildings or on the premises? I'm not trying to be funny here. I take this seriously. Obesity is a national scandal in a country as educated and health conscious as the United States. Smoking is terrible. We used to think it was sort of cool. Cowboys advertised it, athletes advertised it, there were cute mascots that danced and sang the praises of smoking. Doctors recommended certain brands because they were so much healthier than other brands. Then came the revelation that smoking killed. It took some people decades to believe that something so prevalent in our culture was a bad thing. People quit smoking in droves. Not all mind you but literally millions quit and became healthier and, inevitably reduced health care costs and lengthened the life span of the average American. But, smoking remains legal and those that smoke pay a ton of taxes for the privilege. A pack of cigarettes is, by my best guess about 80% taxes.

Obesity on the other hand, kills more people than cigarettes ever did. Most food is available without taxes being added on to help divert the costs back to the offender. And adds double the health costs to the over extended national budget. Some health costs are hidden by calling them by another name: diabetes, degenerative heart disease, high cholesterol, high bloods pressure, heart fibrillation and many other health problems. But, because saying something or forbidding people from overeating may offend someone that is obese, nothing worthwhile is done.

I'm not saying that nothing should be done about smoking. My point is that if rights are taken away regarding a perfectly legal practice re:smoking. Then the rights of another perfectly legal practice re: overeating can also be taken away and because of the costs and damage to health very well should be. That's the point of government taking away our rights in the first place isn't it: Telling us what's best for us and backing it up by punishing us and embarrassing us into submission?

I guess there are various perspectives on these subjects but we may as well be discussing them at one time or another being as how the government is looking at how to lower the health costs that we all must pay now with the new legislation going into effect soon that is supposed to help us all. Of course it is possible that this has already been discussed and the agency may not pay for self induced health issues for either smoking or obesity. But then what about unprotected sex, drug reactions, bee keepers bites, mountain climbers accidents, oh forgive me, I do go on don't I. It'll never be a perfect world will it?

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