mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The government all up in your bidness - healthcare musings, part two..

There's one other thing about the health care I didn't really talk about that concerns me - the fact that the government's greater involvement in healthcare means that they will have a much bigger role in the rest of your life.

Here's the thing - there are a bunch of things that we know are not very good for your health - things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much, having unprotected promiscuous sex. Those things are also, well, really really fun, or so I've heard.

With the government being even more involved in healthcare, I expect to see more crackdowns on these things - more taxes, more outright bans. NYC has already gone beyond banning tasty, tasty trans-fats and now has actually considered making it illegal for restaurants to add salt to food.

Now, most of these things are negative, and one might agree with additional legislation or taxes. The problem with this is that when we regulate "sins", we do so unevenly, and we often do so in ways that end up being captured by some of the businesses that are being regulated. Take tobacco - the latest tobacco bill bans what madanthony used to smoke when he would smoke cigars - cherry flavored ones - because of "the children" - but regular or menthol cigs are fine. I know lots of people who smoke cigarettes regularly, but I know nobody who smokes Swisher Sweet cherries every day. Or alcohol - big alcohol distributors have made it illegal to mail order wine in most states - once again because of the children, who you know will buy $40 pinot noir off the web rather than get their older brother to buy them a 30 of Shaffer.

The other thing is that debates about healthcare is now that the government is even more involved, lots more things will become political. We saw this already with the abortion debate - people who are opposed to things become very vocal about not having the government pay for those things. I suspect that the abortion payment debate isn't entirely over yet. I also predict we are going to see a whole lot more arguments on things like medical marijuana, alternative/natural medicine, end-of-life care, and a ton of other issues.


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