What You Eat: Nobody’s Business But Your Own

May 21, 2004

By George Anderson

Radley Balko, a policy analyst with the Cato Insitute, thinks its time we collectively ‘just said no’ to the push to tackle the nation’s weight problems through legislation or the courts.

A person’s weight, what they eat and how much or little they exercise, reasons Mr. Balko, is not a public health issue but a private one.

He writes, “For decades now, America’s health care system has been migrating toward socialism. Your well-being, shape, and condition have increasingly been deemed matters of ‘public health,’ instead of matters of personal responsibility. Our lawmakers just enacted a huge entitlement that requires some people to pay for other people’s medicine. Sen. Hillary Clinton just penned a lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine calling for yet more federal control of health care. All of the Democrat candidates for president boasted plans to push health care further into the public sector. More and more, states are preventing private health insurers from charging overweight and obese clients higher premiums, which effectively removes any financial incentive for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“If policymakers want to fight obesity, they’ll halt the creeping socialization of medicine, and move to return individual Americans’ ownership of their own health and well-being back to individual Americans. That means freeing insurance companies to reward healthy lifestyles, and penalize poor ones.”

Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree with the Cato Institute’s Radley Balko that what we eat is not a public health matter?

While we see no problem with the government spending money on building more bicycle trails and sidewalks or schools removing sugar-laden snacks from vending
machines, as does Mr. Balko, he makes many valid points.

America, we often say, votes with its wallet. If the less fit and more at risk among us had to pay more for our indulgences in the way of insurance premiums
and health care costs, then perhaps some change would begin to take place.

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

Be the First to Comment!