Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'll Save Me, Thank You! Part 2 of the Obesity debate.

Perhaps you saw my little rant a few months ago on the 'story' that obesity contributes to global warming, or how a New York Congressman wants to ban any fast food restaurant within a 500 feet radius within a school. The first sentence is linked to it if you missed it and care to read it first.

Part two of this rant presented itself just a few weeks later, although it only recently gained more press due to it's relevance to the Healthcare Bill President Obama is attempting to pass. Commonly called the 'soda tax', it would tax "soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages," according to the Wall Street Journal. Do you honestly think it will end there?

Recently Alabama was rated as the second most obese state in the nation. In response, all Alabama state employees must pay a 'fat tax', a $25 surcharge on their health insurance. As Fox News reports, "But there's a way to avoid the fee: Get a check-up at an in-office "wellness center," where nurses will check for diabetes and hypertension and measure blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels and Body Mass Index (BMI). The idea is to encourage employees to act responsibly, lose weight and lower their health care needs. But critics say it will humiliate and stigmatize obese employees and amounts to nothing short of a "fat tax." Here's the catch: ALL state employees have to pay this tax. The only way to avoid the fee is to go through the humiliating process described above. It's an IN-HOUSE wellness center, which to me equates to being forced to step on a scale in your boss' office. Then the results are sent up to the insurance handlers, who are your co-workers, who then also know your results...private health results they don't deserve, nor should they know. That is something that should be between a patient and their private doctor.

In my view the soda tax simply opens the door to more 'sin' taxes, which are already being considered on the federal level. Right now one could argue the tobacco taxes or an alcohol tax. But what is next? Potato chips? It's just another way to bilk money out of the American public by making it palatable (pardon the pun) to step on others' rights. Proponents say it's designed to discourage 'unhealthy behavior'. Really? I think that's a load of crap. So instead I thought of a better way to handle this problem:

If this administration is so concerned with obesity and the health of Americans, perhaps we should have federally funded gyms. These gyms could have a physician, nurse, nutritionist and personal trainers on staff. They should also have child care available with certified child care providers, so all Americans could take advantage. Think of it: The physician could assess and recommend a work-out regimen for you, who would be in direct communication with your personal trainer. Your personal trainer would be then properly notified of any relevant medical conditions and how that applies to their job. The nurse could assist in this process, as well as be on hand (as would the doctor) if any health emergency or accident occurs at the gym. The nutritionist would also be in direct contact with the physician (having more medical knowlege on each patient) and can council people accordingly. Maybe each gym could have a pool for fitness and hydrotherapy, and on the side have lifeguards who could also be certified to teach swimming to children. There's another safety issue we can address on the national level!

Now I hope you realize I'm not serious, right? The cost alone would be astounding. But with a government that's not afraid to spend obscene amounts of money on rediculous projects with OUR money, is it so far fetched? Spending time on the CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste) website is enough to make one sick. Government pork isn't the focus of this particular post, but I think the government is more concerned with finding ways to tax us rather than have the actual concern they claim to have for the people they serve. That's obvious by how most, if not all our representatives and senators haven't read the sweeping healthcare bills being proposed. Even Rep. Conyers, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee seemed incredulous that we should actually require him to read the bills he votes on: “I love these members that get up and say, ‘read the bill!’ Well, what good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you’ve read the bill?” Oh, and 'The Bill' he's discussing is YOUR HEALTHCARE BILL. Here's a thought, Rep. Conyers! Maybe you should DEMAND TIME TO READ IT. EACH VERSION YOU COULD POTENTIALLY VOTE ON. That is your JOB.

No, instead they seek to blame, tax and humiliate 'fat' or 'obese' people as a social ill, and acting as if taking this action will save us from ourselves. As if we needed to be saved by the almighty government. No, it's just another handy scapegoat the government uses to justify taking more money out of our pockets.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

The more I hear about this so called bill to improve health care, the more irate I get.

Oh, those federally funded gyms should also have a few paramedics on staff because, frankly, most doctor's are not fit to handle emergencies in the field.