Monday, January 12, 2015

Who is responsible for your health?

This ad is from the CDC which is no longer
just the Centers for Disease Control,but is
now the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention.
Forgive me for getting this wrong, but I always thought I - and I alone - was responsible for my health.

Sure, genetics play a role, but whether I was overweight or underweight , ate junk food or fruits and vegetables, exercised or not ... all that was on me.

Apparently I'm wrong.  Well, at least according to today's lead editorial in The Blade.

Yes, they do say our individual health is partially on us and the decisions we make, but they also say:

"The report notes that Ohio ranks near the top in the percentage of its adults who smoke, and of children exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. Such things are as much a matter of individual responsibility, or its absence, as of inadequate public policy.
Really?  Inadequate public policy is to blame if you or I smoke?

Who DOESN'T know that smoking is bad for you?

In fact, people who do smoke, do so in spite of the fact that they know it's bad for them and for anyone who lives in their smoke-filled house.

How can inadequate public policy be to blame for that?

They even write:

"But it isn't just the responsibility of government to make Ohioans healthier and more productive."

Hmm... I guess I missed that responsibility in the U.S. Constitution as well as the state constitution.

For the record, I don't smoke - never have.  Neither has my husband. My sister does, but she doesn't smoke in my house and has never asked to do so.  Most smokers are considerate in that respect.

But no amount of government spending is going to make her stop. In fact, I doubt that anyone has decided to stop smoking because government spent money on an advertisement bemoaning the ill effects of the practice.

People stop smoking when THEY want to. They are the ones who must make the choice, which means it is entirely an individual responsibility and action.

The primary reason for the editorial is to call for "greater public investment" - that means spending - arguing that the more government spends on preventive care, the less it should end up spending on actual, more expensive, care as a result of bad habits.

You see, the 'logic' is that if government spends more money up front telling people how to be healthy, they'll have to spend less treating these people when they end up with costly diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc...

But first the people have to actually head the direction from the government to lead healthier lives - and that certainly isn't the case, at least, not for the majority of people.

There's an easy solution to the state spending so much money on actual care of illnesses that are preventable:  Don't.

What if the government warned people ahead of time that if they get cancer from smoking none of their health bills will be covered?  In fact, what if the government said that the cost of any illness or disease that was the result of self-inflicted activity wouldn't be covered?

Would people make better decisions knowing they'd be responsible for all the costs associated with bad habits, or that they might have to go without treatment if they couldn't afford it?

It's an interesting question and one that too few stop to consider.

But the government is all too happy to pay because, in doing so, they develop justification for telling you how to live. It is the 'logic' they use for controlling your life:  We're going to end of paying for your health care so we have the authority to tell you how to keep yourself healthy so we don't have to pay so much.

Oh, they might not say so in so many words, the bottom line is control - of your eating habits, exercise regimen and decisions.

Just look at Michele Obama's Healthy Hunger-Free Act which, as of a year ago, had 1 million kids leaving the school lunch line.

It doesn't stop.

And sadly, too many editorials are all to happy to jump on the bandwagon and advocate for even more government involvement in our daily lives, because (clearly) they know what is best and its for our own good.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I smoked for 15 years - I quit 25 years ago (yeah!). I didn't quit because of the government, I quit because I liked more money in my pocket. Just to identify how long it has been, cigarettes were at $1.00 a pack!

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