The Fitter, Slimmer Test

Day by day, Americans have been getting fatter and sicker. This works out great for the food industry as the demand for their products increases with American appetites. It works out equally great for the Pharmaceutical industry as sicker Americans pop more pills daily. Unfortunately, this combination is now bankrupting the system, while making for some unhappy, angry citizens.

Americans already have a form of universal health care, but it is of the dumb kind. As a society, Americans don’t let people keel over and expire on their sidewalks. They summon an ambulance, have the person taken to an Emergency Room to get fixed up. If the person doesn’t have health insurance and cannot pay, the premiums on the rest of us increase to make up for the cost of the ER visit. There are now 45 million Americans getting by on such Emergency Room Health care, courtesy the rest of us.

Even if Obama manages to cover these 45 million people with a more sensible kind of health care, it is unlikely that health care costs can be contained eventually if Americans continue to get fatter and sicker each year. Ultimately, every health care plan passing through Congress should be subjected to the following acid test:

Is this going to make Americans fitter and slimmer year by year?

In other words, are there incentives to convince Americans to consume differently? If not, the plan is probably just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, which is sinking due to the sheer weight of the passengers.

Life and Climate Change
Tipping Points
Sailesh Rao
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