NY Times Finally Gets Something Right About Health Care

11 Sep

The NY Times has recently been making a fool of itself and lost the respect it once had, but at least one journalist, a contributing writer for The Times Magazine and a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, made an interesting connection of “Big Food vs. Big Insurance.”

For those of you who missed my thoughts on reforming health insurance, you can catch up here and here.

While I still think the whole “organic” business is bullshit, I did not at any time say I wasn’t in favor of healthy food choices.  That’s a double negative, so I’ll say it again:  Americans need to learn to eat better and make healthy food choices, and they shouldn’t have to pay a small fortune to do it.

The average American diet should be labeled a criminal offense and some products should simply be outlawed or regulated.  No one under the age of 18 should be permitted access to certain food products, the way alcohol and cigarettes are banned.  I know this doesn’t keep all children from using alcohol or cigarettes, but it keeps a significant portion of their population from indulging and it makes it a criminal offense for adults to provide them with access.  And it would drive home the point to parents that these foods are bad for the health of their children!  I’m talking about fast food, high calorie/high fructose/high caffeine drinks, and high sodium snacks.

As Pollan says in his article, if health insurance reform passes in its most basic form (requiring insurers “to take everyone at the same rates, provide a standard level of coverage, and keep people on their rolls regardless of their health”), the health insurance industry will immediately become concerned with what we are putting in our bodies and how that affects our short- and long-term health.

I think Pollan is correct in his assumption that “the [health insurance] industry will begin buying seats on those agriculture committees [involved with the farm bill] and demanding that the next bill be written with the interests of the public health more firmly in mind,” not because they care about us as individuals, but because “Insurers will quickly figure out that every case of Type 2 diabetes they can prevent adds $400,000 to their bottom line. Suddenly, every can of soda or Happy Meal or chicken nugget on a school lunch menu will look like a threat to future profits.”

Personally, I think this will be a very good side effect of health insurance reform.  I’m not adverse to a Burger King sandwich and some fries once or twice a year, but I’ve known whole families to subsist on nothing but junk food, who then couldn’t understand why they had so many health problems.  America needs to wake up in more than one way when it comes to health care and reform.  Kudos to Mr. Pollan and the NY Times.

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2 Responses to “NY Times Finally Gets Something Right About Health Care”

  1. Marvin September 16, 2009 at 11:35 AM #

    I agree, I’m looking forward to the inevitable class-action lawsuits against fast food restaurant chains, just like the cigarette companies. That will be fun to watch.

    But more important is sterilization for everyone over 12 until they can prove that they are intellectually, emotionally, and financially fit to raise a child. As long as we’re talking about more regulation. ;-)))

    • Faerie♥Kat September 16, 2009 at 12:32 PM #

      Won’t it though? What’s really needed is a class-action suit for refusal to take personal responsibility; I just don’t know who has pockets deep enough to pay for such idiocy.

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