UK Health Services: No to Smokers and Fatties




fat smoker
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Flickr User: EgoAnt.

If you want to know what eventually happens when you have a national health scheme, wonder no more, read this from the National Health Service of the UK:

Patients could be denied treatment because they smoke or are overweight, Patricia Hewitt said yesterday.

The Health Secretary insisted it was right for those whose lifestyle choices could make treatment ineffective to be refused care in some circumstances (1).


Since the poor and less educated have the highest prevalence of smokers (2) and obese (3) among them, the very people who were supposed to be most in need of health services will end up not getting them.

Since everyone has to pay into the NI (Britain's version of Social Security), I agree. Certainly I would not want my money being squandered on those whose illnesses are their own fault. Rationing of health service, the ultimate result of any universal health scheme, is one reason I am opposed to it, aside from moral considerations.

Here in the states if you smoke or are obese and you have health insurance you [or your employer] pay higher premiums for your coverage, so I don't care if you smoke or overeat. Some employers are now prohibiting smoking among those employees for which it pays health insurance or charge those employees more for health coverage (4). I certainly would never knowingly hire a smoker and I definitely would never pay for their health coverage.

The unintended consequences of trying to help the poor always winds up screwing them as happened with Hugo Chavez and his hilarious idea that forcing low prices helps the poor (5). We can forgive Hugo for being an economic moron for not knowing that you cannot diddle with market forces, but how do we explain Nancy Pelosi and the other liberal idiots who think they are helping the poor with higher minimum wage limits?

Related:

[Mark in Mexico] Caracas, Venezuela: Chávez says, "Let'em eat... chicken feet?", Excerpt: Could these people be any more stupid? Chávez and his government toadies are blaming "hoarders and speculators" for the shortages. The real problem is Chávez's price controls. Beef is artificially priced at $1.82 per pound when $2.41 per pound is required just to get it to the supermarket shelves. That means that the supermarkets have to sell it at cost, which they refuse to do, and the middlemen have to eat a $0.59 per pound loss, which they also refuse to do. Hence, no beef. Since the cattle raisers can't sell their beef to anyone, I guess that means they are hoarding it.

[Blue Crab Boulevard] Bring On The Interpretive Dance!, Excerpt: I imagine that the vicarious communists of the San Francisco bay area are already practicing their interpretive dances to celebrate the Hell worker's paradise that Venezuela is in the process of collapsing into descending into evolving into under the benighted demented psychotic brain dead enlightened guidance of (T)Hugo Chavez.

[Don Surber] Government Cannot Handle My Health Care , Excerpt: We have a government that cannot handle a hurricane despite billions of dollars and years of planning for the worst. So what is Kemp's suggestion for this inept, incompetent behemoth that "at every level failed"? Why give it more responsibility!

[Liberal Common Sense] Obama wants health care for all in six years... , Excerpt: Well, it didn't take long for the beginnings of the presidential promises to start out there as far as what a candidate would like to see happen. Barack Obama is calling for all Americans to have Universal Health Care in six years

Right Wing Nation: if we take the easy way out looking to the government for a universal solution, we will be doomed to caste system where quality of care will depend more on connections, and expensive reliance on government, and less upon individual liberty (6).






ENDNOTES


(1):

UK Daily Mail Online, Doctors: Obese should be refused treatment

Doctors say the risks of operating on obese patients are higher and the treatment may be less effective, with replacement joints wearing out sooner. Smokers could also be denied heart bypasses on similar grounds.

(2):

Tobacco Documents Online, SMOKING AND SOCIOECONMIC STATUS

Lower class panelists smoke more and are much more likely to be smokers than upper class panelists...

(3):

American Obesity Association, How Does Obesity Affect Specific Populations?

Obesity... is highest among people with less education.

(4):

Google Books, Your Rights in the Workplace

Smoking in the Workplace: Still a Burning Issue

Except in the states that forbid work-related discrimination against smokers and the states where it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of any legal activities outside of work, there is nothing to prevent employers from establishing a policy of hiring and employing only non-smokers.


(5):

BBC, Venezuelan shoppers face food shortages

Telecoms engineer Rodriguez has given up searching for coffee"As far as the law is concerned, we're absolutely within our rights to seize coffee which is deliberately being withheld from sale," insists Samuel Ruh, a government appointed monitor of consumer rights.

"In fact, we have already carried out several successful raids at premises illegally holding thousands of tonnes of coffee."

Yet several food stores in Venezuela's capital city Caracas say the coffee raids are not addressing the fact that shops are also running low on sugar, maize, powdered milk and beans.

Store managers insist they are not being supplied with new stock from wholesalers and importers, who were also complaining that the prices set by the government are too low.

(6):

Right Wing Nation [defunct blog], Stop the Presses

A Democrat with a brain! And in Wisconsin, no less!

“Should the state require all employers to provide health insurance for employees? What health care reforms do you support?”

Bob Ziegelbauer (D-WI)

No.

Requiring employers to provide health insurance would be a horrible mistake. It would act as a heavy tax, a deterrent to the new investment we need to generate high paying jobs.

Government would do better to work to empower consumers, individual decision makers, who can bring much to make for more efficient health care.

Funding increasingly complex health care is a difficult problem, perhaps the most difficult we face. However, if we are going to have a system that works, we need to embrace market-based solutions instead of centralized governmental approaches.

That’s why I’m extremely concerned about the referendum on Health Care in Manitowoc this fall.

It promotes the simplistic view that mere passage of a bill by the Legislature solves all the problems.

This couldn’t be more wrong. If we allow ourselves to be steamrolled down the path of a government run health care system we can be sure of continuing severe problems with affordability and accessibility.

Market-based options are available. Initiatives like Health Savings Accounts, which I have consistently supported despite the shortsighted objections of my party, promote efficiency by making decisions of individual consumers important.

In addition, increased transparency, better information about quality and cost made widely available to individuals, can equip us all to make better decisions.

Tax deductibility of all health insurance premiums would also help increase the total amount of coverage purchased, as would the creation of small employee cooperative buying groups.

Financing health care is an important problem with no easy answers, one that we need to keep working on.

However, if we take the easy way out looking to the government for a universal solution, we will be doomed to caste system where quality of care will depend more on connections, and expensive reliance on government, and less upon individual liberty.

Blink! Blink! Blink!



### End of my article ###

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