"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

4.8.09

Heath Care Reform?



Until the federal government gets Kraft, McDonald's, Monsanto, etc out of the Department of Agriculture, begins to regulate their ability to advertise to our kids, and gives it's monetary support and subsidies back to individual citizen-farmers - who grow real food, not commodity ingredients for "packaged-goods" - nothing is going to happen on health care.

Health Care's costs are out of control in part because we are so unhealthy. And this is due in no small part to corporate agribiz turning food production into a profit. As a result, the majority of us eat most of our meals out of a box. Don't buy their claims that they are regulating themselves and bringing us "Better For You" options.

"0 Transfat!" "Now with more Omega 3!" BFY does not equal "healthy."

Healthy is real food. Organic when possible. Greens, fruits, veggies, and real grains like oats and rice. Free-range, grass-fed meat, in moderation. Oil-derived fertilizers feed the crops that feed you. More insidious, it feeds the corn that feeds the beef and chicken that feed you.

Take back your food and take back your body.

I've discussed this at length before, with some controversy in the comments section, but until I watched this documentary, "The Killer at Large - How Obesity is Killing America," I never really put the connection together with "Health Care Reform."

If trends continue entire generations of could be stricken with diabetes and heart disease, compromising our entire ability to be productive and protect ourselves, our entire foundation as a society.

The fact is our state of terrible health as a society probably has as much to do with the cost of health care as does business trying to turn a profit with it. I believe that modern countries with public health care have far less problems with it than our right-wing is predicting for us, due to the fact they have a far smaller obesity problem, and therefore less demand driving up costs.

If we were able to reduce the demand on our own health care system, that would at least get us halfway there to reducing costs to a level where not having insurance isn't nearly the death sentence it is today.

15 comments:

Pankonin said...

Delicious! Hard to changed ideology. The lense is touching the eyeball. You read anything by M. Pollan?

Biva said...

Address the root cuase: individual responsiblity and discipline. This is not the company's fault for making a product that fills a DEMAND. People have got to stop wanting the crap and then people will stop making it. As long as people want it, someone will always be willing to provide (e.g. drugs). To your liberal friends: rights and responsiblity go together. No responsbility = No rights

The Car Whisperer said...

I am absolutely all for personal responsibility. I lost almost 80 lbs over 2001-2002 after cutting fast food almost completely from my diet and beginning exercise. But demand isn't the issue, and I'm not really faulting the companies in this piece. It's the government's complicity in letting them control food production as a profit source. It needs to be regulated. Because you're right, the companies just fill a demand. I'm dismayed that however, that you think there should be no moral judgment on their advertising practices. Do you think the sale of drugs should be made completely legal and unregulated as well? People want it, after all? It's their personal responsibility not to use them, no matter how addictive. And if you think sugar is not addictive, I think you should watch the movie, and do a little research before you start throwing the Liberal-baiting around. It shows a lack of investigative intellect. Not to mention it's unbecoming.

Biva said...

It is not private enterprises job to impress moral character, but to turn a profit for the shareholders. I’m not signifying they are allowed to be immoral, but it’s not their job to enforce the governments idea of moral advertisements on consumers.

The war on drugs has been, is and always will be a BIG loser. It will never be won. Look at the statics on how much money we spent VS the number of addicts. It does not add up. However, if you took every dime spent on the war and used it on recovery clinics and education of kids, I bet you could minimize the amount of people on drugs, lower the demand and reduce the drug problem signifigantly. The drug dealers and drugs will find a more profitable place to go.

Making things illegal or adding regulation does little to solve the "REAL" problem. The world will just find an easier way around whatever you put in its way (e.g. water eventually finds its way downhill). If you want private enterprice only to make “healthy food” deosn’t that reduce our freedom to eat McDonalds? If people want to eat McDonalds every single day, they have the right. The don’t have the right for me to pay for their medical bills because they wanted to enjoy a big mac everyday.

I know sugar is addictive...that's why I love Chipotle! I know drugs, school, gambling, etc. I have first hand experience. I once asked my obese brother what cause him to over-eat out of curiosity. He said, "70% was self-discipline and 30% was environmental." You find me someone who blames their weight on a street sign advertisement and I show someone who probably lacks responsibility in other avenues of their life.

Why doesn’t the government start with education. That is the key to getting people out of the “dumpsters” in life.

PS Don't act like a politician and attack someoned personal integrity simply becuase they disagree.

Julie said...

You're letting the ideal be the enemy of the good. Little steps are what people need, not everyone can be an overnight superhero.

The Car Whisperer said...

First, I’m the first to say that the War on Drugs is a sham and doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean heroin and cocaine should just be legal. As well, I’m not saying to make it illegal for people to eat McDonald’s to McDonald’s to sell their shit-in-a-box. Read what I’ve written – instead of scanning it and dismissing it as “liberal” (You’re the one calling names and using ad-hominem attacks here, not me).

The fact is that members of government who were acting on their constituent's wishes to regulate the advertising to kids were blocked by lobbyists of those companies whose bottom line would be hurt by regulation of these proven tactics (and I worked at 2 advertising agencies for the better of 9 years). Tactics that undermine parents’ own personal decisions to keep their kids' diet as healthy as possible. Marketers speak of the "nag" factor, owning kids, “wedging” between the TV and their parents. It's serious stuff.

It's easy for us to cluck our tongues and wag our fingers at people with no "will power" but what does that solve? What are education and admonishments to exercise going to do without follow-through on making sure better food choices more available? Government continues to push away and marginalize growers of real food while subsidizing corporate agribiz in their efforts to put profit before health, and placing their members in powerful positions with government that make decisions on the health of the American people.

Our government is talking out of both sides of its mouth, and what you’re recommending won’t work without real action. We still continue to get fatter. More and more kids are coming down with diabetes and heart disease. Kids! We've got to do SOMETHING, because we can't have an entire generation of societal-contributors – firemen, police, military - bed ridden, in wheelchairs, unable to move, and dropping dead at 40.

The Car Whisperer said...

And I have news for you...you wanna know why your insurance premiums are so high right now, and need "reform?"

Because so many people are placing an unnecessary demand on the system by eating McDonald's every day.

In the end, you and I are on the same page.

The Car Whisperer said...

Julie,

How is it "pie-in-the-sky" to ask that advertisers not be allowed to undermine parents wishes?

Have you watched this movie? Did you hear the gym teacher talk about how 40-50% of his incoming students have probably never run before?

We may need an overnight solution...

Biva said...

ad-hominem? That's a Didrikson word and I'm allergic.

I agree advertising is a over-produced, justifying industry that is forced to cut-throats to survive. I do support locals should have full control over thier county/district/parish/etc. That's why the federal govt needs contain we the locals maintain 100% power. If you don't favor your local rules (e.g. outlawing McDonalds) then you have the freedom to relocate. Freedom is truly a gift that we are destroying with every federal mandate passed.

One last comment: when did calling someone a liberal (not you but your firends btw) be considered negative to an extend that it is considered "calling someone names?"

The Car Whisperer said...

Haha. Now I know who this is...sorry dude. Just passionate is all.

But, when you throw around labels - such as "liberal", that is ad-hominem. Replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. But I suppose I responded in turn.

Listen, I hear what you're saying and agree with all of it. I think McDonld's can sell whatever they want, and how ever they want. Adults can make up their own minds, yes. Kids on the other hand, are not mentally equipped to make those kinds of choices, and the practice of advertising directly to them should be regulated. It undermines their parents wishes. However it's done, on a federal level, on a state level, I don't care.

Second, corporate pursuit of profit is fine by itself, but there needs to be a separation between it and government policy. Corporate agendas are being woven into government policy on this issue, and that's fascism, by Mussolini's own definition.

And at the end of the day, we are still getting fatter and more unhealthy, and it's going effect the very foundations of our society, critically. You can take a stand for personal choice all you want, but within a generation, if something isn't done - hard concrete action - our national security will be compromised be our inability to be productive workers.

Team ride or are you officiating this weekend?

Erik said...

"Corporate agendas are being woven into government policy on this issue, and that's fascism, by Mussolini's own definition."

That's Lobbying by everyone's definition. If there's money to be made in doing something, it'll be done. There's a stupid amount of money to be had here... sell people crap that makes them fat and feel awful, then sell them an "Ab Rocket" to make them think they'll get skinny despite a diet of deep fried, boot-shaped and beef flavored chicken slurry.

The best way to solve some of these issues is to come up with a better idea that threatens their entire business model (i.e. Netflix:Blockbuster) and create new demand. Do it in a way that you build a critical mass while you're off their radar and you'll successfully avoid being lobbied against.

Regarding parents and advertising to children, the regulation already exists... SHUT OFF THE TV. Use the TV as a babysitter and this is what you're going to get.

The Car Whisperer said...

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

---Benito Mussolini

Lobbying is one thing. It's another entirely when McDonald's and Kraft VPs are drafting policy in the Dept. of Agriculture.

Fine. Wag your finger, cast shame on parents all you want, and then wash your own hands of it. Don't come crying when 60% of the entire population has progressed from merely fat to diabetic. What far more drastic action will be needed then, when we can't even fill the basic requirements for police and fire departments, let alone military ranks with even barely healthy bodies?

The Car Whisperer said...

Personal responsibility won't mean very much then.

Bob Mitera said...

Great stuff! Love this blog entry

Illinoisfrank said...

Interesting article on why our health care costs are so much higher than other developed countries with charts!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/11/an_insurance_industry_ceo_expl.html

And I'm sure that our poor national health habits have something to do with it, just not as much as one might think. We do need our government to stop subsidizing bad behavior. This is just as important when it relates to bank bailouts as for farm policy.