Health care a stalking horse for nanny-state restrictions

posted at 3:12 pm on June 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When government pays the bills for health care, it gains an important lever of power in dictating personal choices of living for all its citizens.  Don’t think that has escaped the notice of Barack Obama and the Democrats.  Politico notes that the autocrats have gotten a big boost in Washington and are preparing to dictate your food and leisure choices in the name of cutting health-care costs:

Don’t be fooled by the presidential burger runs. Obama and Congress are moving across several fronts to give government a central role in making America healthier — raising expectations among public health experts of a new era of activism unlike any before.

Any health care reform plan that Obama signs is almost certain to call for nutrition counseling, obesity screenings and wellness programs at workplaces and community centers. He wants more time in the school day for physical fitness, more nutritious school lunches and more bike paths, walking paths and grocery stores in underserved areas.

The president is filling top posts at Health and Human Services with officials who, in their previous jobs, outlawed trans fats, banned public smoking or required restaurants to provide a calorie count with that slice of banana cream pie.

Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul.

Supporters of Obama will say at this point, “What’s wrong with healthier eating and more exercise?”  Nothing at all.  Schools should put more emphasis on physical education, especially on cardiovascular exercise and health education.  Americans would do better to consume fewer carbohydrates, especially from high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, and eat more vegetables and fruits, along with lean meat and other sources of protein.

But for adult Americans, that should be their own choice.  We used to have an interesting concept in this country: none of your business.  What did your neighbors eat for dinner?  None of your business. When was the last time your neighbors took a walk?  None of your business.  How much did they spend on doctors’ bills last year?  None of your business.

However, once we all start footing those doctors’ bills, it becomes our business — and that of the government.  Surrendering to a single-payer system means surrendering a right to choice and privacy.  Abdicating individual responsibility for their own costs creates an impetus for the growth of government to fill that vacuum, and it’s hard not to believe it isn’t by design.  The HHS officials Obama appointed have long track records of autocratic diktats, the very kind of elitism that Obama claimed not to endorse during the presidential campaign.

How long before Obama appoints a Health Practices Czar to issue these kinds of mandates?  Don’t be surprised if it becomes part of the current health-care reform bill Congress will produce this year.


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Comments

Mmm…chocolateboarding.

Fallen Sparrow on June 10, 2009 at 4:04 PM

I have my doubts that a burger eating cigarette smoking POTUS is going to introduce draconian health measures.

lexhamfox on June 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

It will be ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

redfoxbluestate on June 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

A few years ago they wanted to put a high tax on soda because they said it contributed to childhood diabetes. I argued that one, they could stop selling it at schools, or the parents could stop buying it. Two, I drink diet soda. There is no sugar therefore no sugar related diseases. Why should I have to pay more? Fascists!

Blake on June 10, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Liberals are “Pro-choice!”
Except the choice of: owning a gun, where to send your kid to school, what we can eat, what we can drink, what we can smoke, what car to drive, where to live

Bevan on June 10, 2009 at 4:07 PM

lexhamfox on June 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

That’s funny because he strikes me as just the kind of person who does the “parent” thing. “Do as I say, not as I do.” He has too much stress not to take a break from some of those health mandates.

Cindy Munford on June 10, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Enforcement will be interesting. I’m thinking exercise and diet restrictions will only be enforced selectively based on politics. Like voter intimidation laws and the tax code.
And to enforce these regulations, you would need a civilian security force as well funded as the military.

zmdavid on June 10, 2009 at 3:47 PM

On the targets of selected enforcement, you forgot to mention car dealerships. They’ll be out of work, but healthier.

iurockhead on June 10, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Obama is the kind of half black half-wit who would smoke Kools on purpose. Freaking wannabe.

JiangxiDad on June 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Loxodonta on June 10, 2009 at 3:57 PM

It’s good to agree.

Cindy Munford on June 10, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Here’s what’s wrong with this argument.

The Republicans in charge of CA want to tax everything.

They are just not winning me over.

AnninCA on June 10, 2009 at 3:26 P

M

The RINO in charge of CA wants to tax everything because he wants to prevent the state from going into receivership because the democrats won’t stop spending money that the state doesn’t have. They also want to provide billions of dollars of services for non citizens who are in this country illegally.

Blake on June 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM

And just what is the fat content of Waygu beef again?

FreakyBoy on June 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Mmm…chocolateboarding.

Fallen Sparrow on June 10, 2009 at 4:04 PM

.
Hah! How about…
Lagerboarding!

ronsfi on June 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Has it occurred to anyone that enforcement would be impossible? That’s the biggest problem with employer programs for smoking cessation, exercise, etc. How are you going to make sure people are doing what they should be doing–short of following them 24/7?

Dee2008 on June 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I’m telling you, Mary Katherine Ham was prescient prior to the election – she knew exactly what was coming. If this video link works, I think you’ll appreciate it (though it was a lot funnier before Obama was POTUS.

http://townhall.com/blog/MaryKatharineHam

rezgirl on June 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Even Congress is getting into the act, giving serious consideration to taxing sugary drinks and alcohol to help pay for the overhaul.

Interesting how they’ve singled out high-calorie beverages, but not the other high-calorie sugary crap with little nutritional value (e.g., candy, kids’ cereals, doughnuts, etc.).

Were there too many Republicans owning stock in Coke, Pepsi, and the brewers? (I didn’t think it was possible for Pepsi to kiss Obama’s a$$ any more than it already has. How’s that working out for you so far, idiots?).

Why put sin taxes on Coke, Pepsi, and beer and leave Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts free to fatten up the population? Surely we all need to be protected from them too. I think the beverage manufacturers should file a civil rights lawsuit. Their equal protection rights are being violated!

AZCoyote on June 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM

You got to love it when a former drug user, chain smoking President lectures us on taking care of our health.

David in ATL on June 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Let’s see, I think we tried something similar in the early 1900s. Ban something most people enjoy because of its ill effects on society. How did that work out? This time I am doing what the Kennedy family did, profit from it and then let my descendants go into politics.

dpierson on June 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM

You got to love it when a former drug user, chain smoking President lectures us on taking care of our health.

David in ATL on June 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Especially when his wife just took their girls out for fish & chips in London.

Wethal on June 10, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Hah! How aboutLagerboarding!

ronsfi on June 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I have gone on record here at HA a few weeks ago predicting in the next college year we will hear stories of how college kids are simulating waterboarding, but with beer.

WashJeff on June 10, 2009 at 4:15 PM

This thread sure is making me hungry.

kingsjester on June 10, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Here’s what’s wrong with this argument.

The Republicans in charge of CA want to tax everything.

They are just not winning me over.

AnninCA on June 10, 2009 at 3:26 P

Actually, according to Glen Beck last night, Arnold has FINALLY given the order to cancel unfilled contracts, make sure the state is getting the best deals, etc., and has implemented other cost saving measures that are supposed to save a bundle. Beck’s question, of course, “Why did he wait till now?”

Dee2008 on June 10, 2009 at 4:17 PM

You got to love it when a former drug user, chain smoking President lectures us on taking care of our health.

David in ATL on June 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Explains why existing conditions cannot be taken into account under his plan. As someone who is fit, never smoked, and drinks recreationally (and only after the 9th hole), I do NOT want to subsidize unhealthly lifestyles.

WashJeff on June 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

The 1961 Robert Preston “Chicken Fat” exercise song. For those of us old enough to remember JFK’s exercise campaign in schools.

Wethal on June 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Good lord, I’d forgotten that one. They played that during gym class when I was in grade school.

iurockhead on June 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

HOPE and CHANGE!!!! ROPE and CHAINS!!!

Dire Straits on June 10, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Wethal on June 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Holy Cow! It went all the way to 1969. Too funny.

Cindy Munford on June 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

We used to have an interesting concept in this country: none of your business.

Yeah, well, when everybody across the political spectrum decided it was okay to jump on the no smoking bandwagon, that died permanently in this country. If I don’t approve of it, then whether you do it or not is my business. Ask Bill Frist, and be sure to mention evil internet gambling.

rightwingprof on June 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

iurockhead on June 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Cindy Munford on June 10, 2009 at 4:28 PM

And if you listen to it, you have it running through your head the rest of the day. Sorry about that.

Wethal on June 10, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Knucklehead on June 10, 2009 at 3:23 PM

I wannabe whiskey czar!

Don’t forget, we got a date with Bret tonight…

ladyingray on June 10, 2009 at 4:29 PM

And to enforce these regulations, you would need a civilian security force as well funded as the military.

zmdavid

The public schools will teach our children to inform on their miscreant parents. Read that in a book somewhere.

SKYFOX on June 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Incidentally, for those wondering about enforcement, it will be much easier than you think. Once the govt. runs healthcare, and institutes electronic medical records (and gets rid of that pesky “privacy” issue, you know, in the name of national good) they can simply look up records, like body mass index, smoker v non-smoker, drinker or non-drinker, etc…

Doctors will likely get dinged first with “incentives” for “encouraging” our patients to “be healthier.” (As if we aren’t already trying hard to do that) And they are already putting in measures of punishing doctors who have patients that aren’t meeting healthy guidelines. The punishment will come in its usual form: non-payment of services.

Sometimes I feel like Kevin McCarthy running in traffic yelling “they’re coming for you!! You’re next!!” at oncoming cars.

DrAllecon on June 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Taxing sugary foods/drinks, a “flatulance”tax of $175 per dairy cow, $80 per beef cow and $20 per pig to farmer.

Final expected result:A nation of Vegans

Jeff from WI on June 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Final expected result:A nation of Vegans

Jeff from WI

I will learn to field dress cats and squirrels before I become a vegan.

SKYFOX on June 10, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Hah! How about…
Lagerboarding!

ronsfi on June 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Now we’re talking!

ladyingray on June 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM

AnninCA on June 10, 2009 at 3:26 P

Ann – there are no Republicans in charge of CA…

DrRansom on June 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I can’t wait to see the civil war that is going to break out between the sanctimonious arugula eaters, and the fast food fans. This WILL be a tipping point, and I assure you, Barry will assure us, that “It’s for our own good”

Well let me tell you something, Mr. dirty-mouth-smoker President; If you plan to get in my face about what I can eat, you better be prepared to not only give up your cancer sticks, but ALL the tax money that you’ve been getting from them for the past hundred years. Cigaretts are far more dangerous to your precious Obamacare than some guy eating a donut.

anniekc on June 10, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Hey, if we tax items to fund new health programs, then we can see the demand for the item drop and more unfunded mandates for stuff we don’t need. It’s like dividend reinvestment, only stupid.

jdfister on June 10, 2009 at 4:44 PM

the way to stop this obamacare is to go viral with the facts showing that breast cancer mortality is way, way higher in every country in the world than right here in USA. we have the best detection, treatment & cure rates.

women will be convinced to defeat socialized medicine. not only is this a fact, it makes good political sense to use these facts.

kelley in virginia on June 10, 2009 at 4:45 PM

How long before Obama appoints a Health Practices Czar to issue these kinds of mandates?

A New York minute.

drjohn on June 10, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Let Don’t let them eat cake.

LibTired (KO) on June 10, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Liberals are “Pro-choice!”
Except the choice of: …

Bevan on June 10, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Ever notice how the choice of life gets derided and dismissed? The only choice is death, for their convenience. The height of selfishness run amok, and I hope it bites them hard as we swirl down the drain.

AnotherOpinion on June 10, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Has it occurred to anyone that enforcement would be impossible? That’s the biggest problem with employer programs for smoking cessation, exercise, etc. How are you going to make sure people are doing what they should be doing–short of following them 24/7?

Dee2008 on June 10, 2009 at 4:12 PM

.
Laser spectrometers in the toilets.

darktood on June 10, 2009 at 5:10 PM

I have my doubts that a burger eating cigarette smoking POTUS is going to introduce draconian health measures.

lexhamfox on June 10, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Then you are naive. Have you not noticed the way he absolutely cannot NOT sound condescending and preachy with every breath of every speech? He is very much a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ kind of person.

CaptKurgan on June 10, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Mmm…chocolateboarding.

Fallen Sparrow on June 10, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Hah! How about…
Lagerboarding!

ronsfi on June 10, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Baconboarding?

UltimateBob on June 10, 2009 at 5:15 PM

However, once we all start footing those doctors’ bills, it becomes our business — and that of the government.

I call logical disconnect. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because people are foolish enough to vote for politicians that want to socialize medicine, doesn’t mean that it becomes anyone’s business how anyone else lives.

Vashta.Nerada on June 10, 2009 at 5:23 PM

The cake is a lie…

angrywonk on June 10, 2009 at 5:24 PM

At some point this stupid pudwacker is going to say “oh, well, you know we have so many czars now and so much to monitor and control that we are now instituting a local enforcement program.

From now on, if you fall out of line with out mandatory programs your neighbors will be required to report the activity or non compliance with the block captain, who will in turn notify the local enforcement bureau for correction of your abhorrent actions.”

It’s coming, and we have only to thank the idiots that voted this bastard and his cohorts into office.

Spiritk9 on June 10, 2009 at 5:46 PM

I’ll probably get flamed for pointing this out; but there are certain ailments associated to ceratin sex acts which happen to be prevalent in homosexuality (I’m not talking about AIDS). The politically incorrect diagnosis is “Gay Bowel Syndrome”. And yes, straight people who indulge in these practices can be similarly afflicted.

Will there be screenings and counseling to discourage these acts as well? If Donut holes are deemed dangerous because of costly treatments… then..

kooly on June 10, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Government wants to know what I eat?

I’m serving up lead and hot brass on the menu.

Its good for my health! Really!

I’m sure I can get a doctor’s prescription for it… stress relief.

ajacksonian on June 10, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Not A Right, A Responsibility and Responsibility = Control

Health coverage is not a right, it is a responsibility.

As such the debate should be over who is responsible for your health coverage — your employer, the government, or you.

Remember, responsibility for an issue is equal to control of that issue.
DKK

LifeTrek on June 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Eventually the conservatives will get treated by the health care department the same way the Chrysler dealers got treated by the government. Voter registration lists and political contribution lists in the predetermination department. “Oh, you’re a republican? I’m sorry, we won’t give you a new heart, even though we think you need one, (both physically and socially).” Totalitarianism through the back door.

Doctor Hook on June 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM

You got to love it when a former drug user, chain smoking President lectures us on taking care of our health.

David in ATL on June 10, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Heh, oh yeah!

4shoes on June 10, 2009 at 10:04 PM

I’ll probably get flamed for pointing this out; but there are certain ailments associated to ceratin sex acts which happen to be prevalent in homosexuality (I’m not talking about AIDS). The politically incorrect diagnosis is “Gay Bowel Syndrome”. And yes, straight people who indulge in these practices can be similarly afflicted.
Will there be screenings and counseling to discourage these acts as well? If Donut holes are deemed dangerous because of costly treatments… then..
kooly on June 10, 2009 at 5:46 PM

As if. Do you really think 0bama would dare to discourage those disgusting perverts? This is the same crowd that threw a temper tantrum over Californian citizens denying them the right to redefine an institution as old as civilization to their twisted standards…publicly acknowledge buggery to be a health risk and you’re talking riot-in-the-street material, evidence or NO evidence!

Dark-Star on June 11, 2009 at 4:11 AM

Ronald McDonald is the new Joe Camel.
And so is that creepy Burger King dude.
And come to think of it, so is my Grandma with all her mashed taters ‘n’ gravy, baked ham, cornbread, and chocolate pie.
I’m addicted, people! Damn you, Granny!

sawbuck on June 11, 2009 at 10:08 AM

The Government Will Pry My Bacon Double Cheeseburger From My Cold Dead Fingers.

Jeff from WI on June 11, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Ronald McDonald is the new Joe Camel.
And so is that creepy Burger King dude.
And come to think of it, so is my Grandma with all her mashed taters ‘n’ gravy, baked ham, cornbread, and chocolate pie.
I’m addicted, people! Damn you, Granny!

sawbuck on June 11, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Ronald and “The King” is very creepy. Seem like pedophile types. But the Govt. have to pry a pan of Grandas Hot Apple Kuchen from my Cold Dead Fingers!

Jeff from WI on June 11, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I’m sure that Obama, and the Mrs. won’t care about purchasing that bottle of wine for dinner, or the tax levied on it. We’ll be paying for that.

capejasmine on June 11, 2009 at 11:45 AM