All about ideas…

I just love reading Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News

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Ms. Carlson’s latest editorial on the Bloomberg site is both thought-provoking and amusing. She has a remarkable way of causing the reader to think seriously about an issue while at the same time laugh.

Today’s editorial focuses on health care and at least one missing component of the debate: the cost of obesity to government programs and health care insurance.

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) — I’ve finally figured out the Republicans’ philosophy: If President Barack Obama is in favor of something, it has to be wrong, even if they once believed in it.

Save the economy from collapse by propping up the banks, which former President George W. Bush did to a fare thee well? That’s now socialism. Talk to school children about turning off video games and doing their homework? That’s “creepy” and Orwellian, indoctrinating the young as if they are guinea pigs.

For suggesting that doctors should be reimbursed for end- of-life counseling, something previously supported by Bush and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Obama is going to throw grandma from the train.

If the president is for death panels, fat panels can’t be far behind. Not exactly. But grab yourself a Dr Pepper and a Ho Ho and calm down, if that’s possible on a sugar high. Every expert says that health-care reform must address obesity, where medical costs have increased with the national waistline — up 37 percent since 1998 to $147 billion in 2008.

Those who are overweight spend $600 more a year on drugs. A recent study out of California pinned its budget problems on the $41 billion cost of “obesity and inactivity.” (italics mine)

Yet a broad effort to link obesity and health-care reform has retreated to a modest soft-drink tax, which Democrats tend to favor and Republicans, led by the ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassley, tend to oppose. In the committee, where members snack on chips and Coke during their marathon health-care negotiations, Grassley dismisses a levy on sweetened drinks as a “nuisance tax.” Grassley was the first senator to follow Palin down the death-panel hole and kill end-of-life counseling.

There are a lot of things wrong with health care today, not the least of which are American lifestyles and the costs it places on each of us in terms of costs. Health care reform is a deeply serious and complex issue, but it is enjoyable to read a columnist write intelligently about the issue while maintaining a sense of humor rather than the vitriol and partisanship we’ve become used to seeing and hearing.


Written by Valerie Curl

September 10, 2009 at 5:40 PM

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