Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Growing Police State: Weight Loss Edition

Whatever happened to "get your hands off my body?"

In the June 25 LA Times, there is this article which discusses a government panel (empowered by Obamacare) which recommends that doctors "identify patients with a body mass index of 30 or more" and either counsel them or refer them to a weight loss program.  The article then goes on to point out that Obamacare would force insurers to pay for this treatment, something most private insurers do not currently do (which is not 100% correct). 

The article talks about some options, and has a little back-and-forth on the efficacy of weight loss programs.  At least one "expert" cited talks about what this would mean for the insurance agency.  The panel weighs in saying that there are no studies showing that intensive weight loss programs have beneficial long term effects.

What is never asked?  Why on earth Government would think your weight is in their purview.  Certainly doctors should talk to you about your weight.  You pay them to help keep you healthy, after all.  But that "should" is a professional ethics kind of "should," not a governmental "or else" kind of should.  And why should insurance companies pay for it at all?  You weight is your business, and you should be responsible enough to take care of it.  If you're one of the few people who really have a medical condition that causes obesity, that medical condition will be covered for treatment, but just being fat? 

And, again, here is the answer: Obamacare.  Because, just as conservatives have been saying, and as I have said, once the Government is in charge of your health care, the Government is in charge of you.  Obamacare not only grants the government the authority, but tasks it with the responsibility, to oversee your health. 

Conservatives have been mocked for pointing out there is no philosophical difference between a governmental mandate to purchase health insurance and a governmental mandate to buy broccoli.  Yet, here, the government is, in a sense, mandating exactly that.  They are mandating action from everyone: the doctor must counsel you or refer you for treatment, you must accede to treatment, and the insurance company must pay for it.

Conservatives, especially those of us with roots in health care, tried to warn the nation.  In our defense, I believe we did a fairly good job; Obamacare was wildly unpopular when it passed, and is not significantly more popular now.  But the law was passed anyway, and now we begin to see the hidden costs.  We begin to see that we are no longer citizens, but subjects.

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