Sunday, September 20, 2009

Puffing Away while Chewing the Fat

For all the talk about healthcare reform, the most effective change we can introduce gets no media coverage. Worse, the best change is FREE.

Instead of demanding that taxpayers spend massive sums to repair what's gone wrong with out bodies, we can stop spending massive sums on the stuff that's causing most of our problems: Cigarettes, liquor and fatty foods.

If Americans were to stop pumping themselves full of smoke, alcohol and bad food, our national healthcare bill would drop by one-third -- almost overnight. Of course the big piles of tax revenue streaming into goverment treasuries from tobacco and liquor sales would also drop. Probably by more than a third.

When it comes to the national healthcare debate, what are Americans really seeking? Are we expected to expand our medical system to undo vast amounts of self-inflicted damage? Do America's 50 million smokers believe taxpayers and insurers are obligated to cure their lung cancer -- at huge expense to all -- when simply giving up tobacco will save them -- for free?

How many heart bypass operations must we perform -- at an all-in cost of $100,000 -- before Americans improve their diets? It's easy to live without red meat and cheese cake. It costs nothing to eat smart. But the value is beyond measure. Nevertheless, instead of taking matters into their own hands -- and mouths -- millions of Americans want ObamaCare, the program that promises to bankrupt the nation.

When it comes to healthcare, is it possible for a nation to act more foolishly that ours? On one hand people are screaming for government controls aimed at stopping financial abuses that have cost citizens trillions of dollars of net worth. The financial trouble can be traced to easy credit. Too many irresponsible people were loaned too much money. Should we have been surprised by the financial illness that eventually whacked the economy? No.

We're going down the same road with healthcare. The subtext of a national healthcare plan is this: Eat, Drink, Smoke and be Merry, for tomorrow taxpayers will fund your heart bypass operation, your lung removal, and your liver cancer treatments.

Where is the government? Where is our leadership? Is anyone going to demand the same standards for personal behavior that are about to be imposed on our financial institutions? Of course it is impossible for the government to pressure citizens to quit smoking, cut back on the alcohol and eat healthy when we all know President Obama smokes.


Men’s Lost Decade: How Smoke and Cholesterol Shorten Life Span

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Men who smoke and let fat clog their arteries die a decade earlier than those who don’t.

Scientists looking for a connection between life expectancy and cardiovascular risk factors combed through the Whitehall study, a survey of 19,019 male civil servants that started in London in the late 1960s.

They found that those who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoked in middle age died about 10 years earlier than the others after reaching age 50. The findings are published in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal. The reduction in life expectancy was even greater when the researchers factored in body mass index and diabetes.

“Our results provide support for the public health policies aimed at achieving modest changes in major risk factors throughout the population to achieve improvements in life expectancy,” wrote the authors, led by Robert Clarke of the University of Oxford.

In the study, the researchers found smoking shortened life by about six years and married men tended to live about two years longer.


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4:11 PM  

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