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Political Topic: Controlling obesity and other health risks
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2020 6:41 PM
Joined: 5/2/2019
Posts: 390

I have seen this discussion almost take off a couple times now and I find it a very interesting topic. But unfortunately, the threads were either locked or removed before the conversation really got going so I would like to have that conversation now.

Do you think the state should impose disincentives for health risks? Like a tax on cigarettes or sugary drinks? Or maybe something more? And do you think the state even has the right?

What do you think?

Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2020 7:05 PM
Joined: 11/13/2014
Posts: 2368

They already tax cigarettes and alcohol. Considering that I'm a libertarian, I think the gov should leave us alone.
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2020 7:25 PM
Joined: 5/2/2019
Posts: 390

I wish I could be a libertarian but I have a couple of beliefs that disqualify me (I believe in preemptive strikes and I believe in public education). But I have the heart of a libertarian, if that counts.

I think one can make an argument for the state to dictate lifestyle if there was a national health plan. This is one of the reasons that I am against a nationalized health plan.

Stuck in the middle
Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2020 11:16 PM
Joined: 6/4/2017
Posts: 1594

Google my congressman (Billy Long, R-MO) and you'll see an example of why that bill would never get out of committee. 

I don't think this is an area in which the government can take any kind of effective action, short of putting us all in barracks, feeding us in chow halls, and enforcing mandatory PT every morning.  Works for the Marines, not so much for the rest of us.  I'm not a Libertarian or any other ism, but I try to be practical.

When I was working my way through college, I worked for a time in a warehouse, moving heavy things without a fork lift.  I could eat whatever I wanted and wash it down with barley pops, and just get stronger and leaner.  Then I graduated, got a desk job that paid a whole lot more than moving things, and found myself in the affluent situation in which I could drive an air conditioned car to my air conditioned gym to take a sauna.  You kind of have to get your mind right to be healthy in that situation, or you won't be.  

I don't see the government heaping any more abuse on fat people.  They already suffer low incomes and relatively poor health (as a group, not all individuals), as well as diminished sexual opportunities and lower status.  They have trouble enough.

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020 8:41 PM
Joined: 5/2/2019
Posts: 390

What about smokers? Are you alright with the state controlling some behaviours but not others?
Stuck in the middle
Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020 9:14 PM
Joined: 6/4/2017
Posts: 1594

I didn't say I was OK with taxing smokers.  I think how much a person drinks, and what he/she smokes, is his own business.  When I recommend moderation, I am addressing what I think you should do if you want to be healthy.  I'm not your daddy and whether you do it is up to you.  Eat, drink, and make Mary if you want to.

Obesity, smoking, and the like are individual problems and not amenable to public intervention.  Infectious diseases, on the other hand, are public problems and are amenable to public intervention.  If my neighbor is fat, that is his problem.  If he has TB, it is my problem too. 

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020 9:21 PM
Joined: 5/2/2019
Posts: 390

Understood. I agree with you. This is what I think too.
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 11:32 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20398

Smoke illness only raises my insurance.

Don't wear a seat belt.....the same...or a helmet or need to pass a drivers test or do not inoculate children so that they can die from measles or be crippled by polio.

Let's do away with the FDA and the SEC and everything else set in place for out protection.

Let's do away with licenses  for Drs....for pilots....for lawyers.....

Let's do away with food inspectors....rules for interstate commerce...zoning...and the list goes on.................

Libertarian? No thank you. I believe in government....I am the government....we are the government.

Rescue mom
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 1:49 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2326

They already tax cigs and booze in my state.  Extra taxes on unhealthy food and soft drinks is a bit of a puzzle for me, because it hits lower-income disproportionately. I don’t feel too good about making that relatively small thing harder for them. Cigs seems worse than a pop, although the principle is the same. (Yes, I smoked, and quit).

We’ve already seen reliance on cig taxes cause problems, because that money will go away as more smokers quit, and die.

There  is a public impact because so many of their health problems end up being treated via a public taxpayer funded system. (Aside from their own personal suffering and vulnerability to a host of medical complications).

That smoker  on Medicaid? My tax money pays much of their health care bills. Obesity also complicates many health problems, creating more costs to aid programs.

When a helmetless motorcyclist spends weeks in hospital with brain damage, my and others’ hospital costs are going up because many such patients cannot pay all the costs. 

Local hospitals already have more costs for new beds and equipment to handle so many extremely obese patients. Aides are injured trying to care for obese patients, which in turn creates more costs to the employer. Who pays for that? We do if we ever have to be there. (And some hospitals use tax money).

I have seen politicians and community leaders rail about “too much regulation,” yet they also demand action against food poisoning breakouts, protection against mold because unsafe building materials were used, zoning to prevent a shack from remaining next to their multi-million McMansion. They want better checks on unsafe trucks and cars on the highway. Etc., as jfroc said.


ALZConnected Moderator
Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 5:46 PM
Joined: 8/17/2011
Posts: 348

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