Sunday, December 23, 2007

Universal Health Care vs. Dangerous Activities

Today I was watching some YouTube videos, with my wife, of something called Parkour. Not sure exactly what this is but it appears to be people jumping all over the place, climbing walls jumping across roofs, sort of like a Jackie Chan movie. While I was watching this it occurred to me that this is a dangerous activity and prone to cause injuries. By the way, I am new to blogging so I probably should add some YouTube link here but I don't know what I'm doing so that may have to come later.
Anyhow, my thoughts wandered to smoking and obesity. Now we have all been told what a drag smoking and obesity are on health care costs. There is an obesity "epedemic" supposedly. Many justify banning smoking or taxing smokers based on the added cost to the health care system. Now maybe you can see where I am going with this. If the government wants to regulate smoking and ban foods that make us fat (allegedly) on the basis that it will cost taxpayers money, what about risky activities? Have you seen the shows on TV such as MTV's "Scarred"? Here is a whole show dedicated to extreme sports injuries. Expensive injuries that require surgery and months of rehabilitation.
Now if some form of Universal health care were to get passed in this country, would the government seek to regulate or eliminate certain activities that drive up the cost of health care? There are already attempts to pass legislation banning trans fats in cities like New York. Once health care becomes the sole responsibility of the government, will it seek to limit costs by controlling our behavior? Perhaps we will form health care task forces that will enforce ordinances against risky behavior. Children riding bikes without helmets, skateboarders and inline skaters who are not wearing the appropriate safety gear could be issued citations their parents would have to pay. Better yet, to offset the costs to the taxpayers we could tax products related to risky behavior the way cigarettes are taxed. Bikes, skateboards, roller skates, soccer balls etc. There is no end to the amount of government regulation that could be imposed. This sounds silly but then again I never thought smoking a cigarette in a bar would be illegal or that the government could tell McDonald's what kind of oil to cook their french fries in.
Universal Health care is going to give government a way to bypass the constitution in the name of health. Your body which you thought belonged to you will become the governments responsibility and therefore they will get a say in how it is maintained and used. This may not bother everyone and if government plays its cards right it won't tick off enough people at any one time to raise a big enough fuss over it. It can pick the low hanging fruit the way it did with smokers. Maybe those skate boarders hanging out on the corner with the baggy pants are the real cause of health care costs some will say. We should tax skateboards to cover the costs associated with skateboard injuries. There ought to be enough older people who actually vote who don't like skate boarders with baggy pants to go along with it.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites