Friday, September 23, 2011

Interesting Fact of the Day: Obese Outnumber Hungry, "Excess Nutrition" Kills More Than Hunger.

Yahoo News -- Obese people now outnumber the hungry globally, but hardship for the undernourished is increasing amid a growing food crisis, the International Federation of the Red Cross warned Thursday. The Geneva-based humanitarian group focused on nutrition in its annual World Disasters Report, released in New Delhi, seeking to highlight the disparity between rich and poor, as well as problems caused by a recent spike in prices.

In statistics used to underline the unequal access to food, the IFRC stressed there were 1.5 billion people suffering obesity worldwide last year, while 925 million were undernourished. "If the free interplay of market political? forces has produced an outcome where 15 percent of humanity are hungry while 20 percent are overweight, something has gone wrong somewhere," secretary general Bekele Geleta said in a statement. Asia-Pacific director Jagan Chapagain called it a "double-edged political? scandal" at a press conference in the Indian capital, adding that "excess nutrition now kills more than hunger."

Update: Here's one example of how political forces (farm subsidies) contribute to the problem of "excess nutrition" and obesity in America, from a report released this week by CALPIRG:

"America is facing an obesity epidemic – one that’s hitting children especially hard.  Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades, with one in five kids aged 6 to 11 now obese.  These increases in obesity rates will translate into kids who are at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, undermining the health of our country and driving up medical costs by hundreds of billions of dollars.

The rise in childhood obesity has many causes, but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily sweetened junk food.  And shockingly, American taxpayers are spending billions to subsidize junk food ingredients, making the problem worse.

Between 1995 and 2010, American taxpayers spent over $260 billion in agricultural subsidies. Most subsidies went to the country’s largest farming operations, mainly to grow just a few commodity crops, including corn and soybeans.  While dairy and livestock production also receive some federal support, it is these commodity crops that get the lion’s share of the subsidies.

Between 1995 and 2010, $16.9 billion in tax dollars subsidized four common food additives - corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and soy oils (which are frequently processed further into hydrogenated vegetable oils. Outside of commodity crops, other agricultural products receive very little in federal subsidies. Since 1995, taxpayers spent only $262 million subsidizing apples, which is the only significant federal subsidy of fresh fruits or vegetables.

If these agricultural subsidies went directly to consumers to allow them to purchase food, each of America’s 144 million taxpayers would be given $7.36 to spend on junk food and 11 cents with which to buy apples each year – enough to buy 19 Twinkies but less than a quarter of one Red Delicious apple apiece."

HT: Fred Dent

67 Comments:

At 9/23/2011 7:38 AM, Blogger Dr. Bass said...

How can anyone claim there has been "free interplay of market forces?" Just the opposite is responsible for shortages and hunger.

 
At 9/23/2011 7:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Maybe that whole obesity thingie can be cured with a steady diet of $15 muffins from the Department of Justice...

 
At 9/23/2011 8:03 AM, Blogger ondra said...

"If the free interplay of market forces has produced an outcome where 15 percent of humanity are hungry while 20 percent are overweight, something has gone wrong somewhere,"

Yep, I think the numbers are vastly different, when the market forces are significantly less free... like in North Korea...

 
At 9/23/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

food prices not going to get any better this year from the look of things.

US corn crop looking to be far below last year and reserves and reserve/consumption ratios are dropping to 30 year lows.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-08/u-s-corn-crop-delays-signal-tightest-world-supply-since-1974-price-gains.html

wheat also look like a 5 year low.

but that does not contradict the basic point that despite that, over eating is a bigger issue now that hunger, which is a pretty amazing result and shows the Malthusians for the Luddite alarmists they are.

i agree with dr bass - pretty much all famine/systemic hunger today is political, not market driven.

look at venezeula or north korea for excellent examples.

venezeula was a food exporter pre chavez. now they have shortages and famine.

communism will do that every time.

 
At 9/23/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" communism will do that every time"

hey - question of the day..

when did we stop calling China - RED China?

was it when they they made so much money selling us stuff or when they started loaning us money for our deficits?

or was it when the terrorists took over top dog status as a threat?


;-0

 
At 9/23/2011 8:47 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

China is slowly moving toward a (relatively) liberal system. Still lots of of nationalized industry, but it's certainly farther from Marxism/Leninism/Maoism than it was 40 years ago.

I also shook my head at the "free-play of market forces" jab the SG made. Which free(ish) market economy is suffering deprivation again? Shortages seem to occur in those countries where the government arbitrarily confiscates or destroys the productivity of resourceful people... shoot, we're boned.

 
At 9/23/2011 8:49 AM, Blogger Moniker said...

There are lots of obese people in the US who are also "malnurished." I would hardly call it "excess nutrition" when you're overeating donuts, cupcakes, chips and fizzy soda. I suspect that in the US the obesity problem gets "bigger" the lower the income class. Ironically, both starvation and hunger afflict those who are least well off.

 
At 9/23/2011 9:06 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

does that mean that our school subsidized lunch program is giving free food to fatties?

;-0

 
At 9/23/2011 9:20 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"when did we stop calling China - RED China?"...

Who's 'we'?

 
At 9/23/2011 9:23 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I suspect that in the US the obesity problem gets "bigger" the lower the income class. Ironically, both starvation and hunger afflict those who are least well off"...

Maybe a lot of the poor are poor because they make 'poor' choices...

 
At 9/23/2011 9:29 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"when did we stop calling China - RED China?"

much of china's growth owes to a massive debt bubble being inflated by lending from local governments.

it's all investment, no consumption.

loans are made with zero strictures on repayment and ROIC.

this 5 year plan is just using carrots rather than sticks.

come back in 3-5 years, and the "china miracle" will look more like a fallen potempkin village.

it's still a command and control economy to a great extent and they lack the social freedom to become an information economy.

sure, anything is better than what they had, but their current system looks worryingly unsustainable.

 
At 9/23/2011 9:34 AM, Blogger Moniker said...

juandos -
Agreed. Poor choices are not doubt to blame for a lot of poverty. Unfortunately, the rest of us end up paying for them. When "poor" people go to hospital emergency rooms to have their extremeties amputated because they're diabetic or with a heart attack, it costs the rest of us paying customers more to visit that same hospital. Not to mention the cost of disability, and the lost tax revenues from that individual. So these "poor" choices cost you and me money too. This country needs some sort of intervention to stop the cycle. Obesity is more prevalent here than anywhere else and it's a huge drag on the system.

 
At 9/23/2011 9:37 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"much of china's growth owes to a massive debt bubble being inflated by lending from local governments ... their current system looks worryingly unsustainable." -- morganovich

How Can China Save Europe When It's Defaulting On Its Own Debt?"

Chinese Banks: “These Things Aren’t Banks”

 
At 9/23/2011 9:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"This country needs some sort of intervention to stop the cycle"...

Yeah and maybe that intervention will be electing people on the local, state, and national levels that will allow people to continue to make their own personal choices while getting rid of the laws that mandate everyone else supporting these people who make poor choices...

 
At 9/23/2011 10:56 AM, Blogger Moniker said...

Juandos-
And how do you propose to distinguish between those people who eat themselves to a heart attack and those who have a genetic predisposition?

Or are you in favor of removing all public support and just letting anyone without health insurance die in the street? So, if you lose your job and your insurance due to illness, that's just too bad for you?

 
At 9/23/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

moniker-

"And how do you propose to distinguish between those people who eat themselves to a heart attack and those who have a genetic predisposition?"

how about body fat %? i am all for pricing health insurance based on how fat you are.

the obese have far more health problems.

they ought to be paying more as a result.

 
At 9/23/2011 11:46 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

obesity, type II diabetes and heart disease are 3 things that people without insurance do not see a doctor about until a lot of damage has occurred and then taxpayers agree to pick up the bills...

 
At 9/23/2011 12:00 PM, Blogger Marko said...

"Or are you in favor of removing all public support and just letting anyone without health insurance die in the street?"

Bingo!

That is what charity is for. Cut the support and cut the taxes, and we will take care of our own, thank you very much.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

morganovich -
Health insurance price differentiation would create interesting incentives -- but not in the current system. I don't have the figures, but the number of uninsured is steadily climbing, and I suspect they are highly represented in this crowd. If they don't participate, then the incentives are pointless. And employer provided insurance is a tough issue. Does it "weigh the scales" against hiring heavy people? I'm not sure what contribution the employer makes, if any, or if the employer just negotiates for the entire company?

Can't we just keep it simple and ban "foods" like oreos and cool whip?

 
At 9/23/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Bingo!

That is what charity is for. Cut the support and cut the taxes, and we will take care of our own, thank you very much. "

Of course, when he is asked to name the countries that actually best reflect his values.. he hides...

 
At 9/23/2011 12:06 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Another one - people don't die from a lack of health insurance, sheesh. Our government regulated system is so messed up that people are all buggered up and can't even think or talk straight about the system anymore.

You know that hospitals are required to treat people with life threatening illness, regardless of health insurance or ability to pay, right? I am not saying I would keep that, but that is the state of things currently.

What we need to do is remove the incentives and restrictions the government provides for employers to offer health care. That will quickly deflate the medical cost bubble we are in. Remove federal controls that limit the ability of states to allow low cost, catastrophic coverage. Then, if you really want to help some poor person, you can pay for their catastrophic coverage as charity. Just don't force everyone else to do it. Dang, we are so far away from anything that makes sense that peoples normal, wholesome instincts are all messed up.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:25 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

moniker-

"Can't we just keep it simple and ban "foods" like oreos and cool whip?"

what, because it's impossible to get fat eating pasta or steak?

banning foods is a useless abridgment of freedom.

what might help is lifting US sugar tarrifs and repealing laws around the enrichment of grains.

the reason the US uses so much high fructose corn syrup is we keep sugar prices artificially high.

HFCS has a much higher glycemic index than sucrose. (87 vs 47)

that spikes insulin and promotes fat storage.

the same is true of US breads, cereals, and pastas. our flour is required to be "enriched". that sounds like vitamins, but it's not. it's calorie enhancement using high glycemic starches like potatoes. our grains wind up much higher calories and far more glycemic than those in the rest of the world as a result. it's a holdover law from the depression and has massive negative effects now.

regarding the uninsured, i question your facts there. most uninsured are young, making them fitter and less prone to cardiac events, diabetes, etc. that tends to come later.

how about having to meet weight loss goals to stay on medicaid? how about paying more for medicare B is you are fat? those would make significant differences.

i'm against telling people they can't be fat or what to eat, but i'm all for opening up better choices and making those who do wind up fat responsible for paying the price of the decision.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:26 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

Marko -

"Another one - people don't die from a lack of health insurance, sheesh."

YES THEY DO. Hospital emergency rooms don't "save" everyone who arrives in critical condition. It's not magic. They don't provide top notch care to non-paying customers.

For example, people die because they can't afford the insulin they need every day to treat diabetes. Instead they end up with gangreen and organ failure. Insulin is relatively inexpensive, but not when you're existing at the poverty line, unemployed or underemployed.

Hospitals absorb these costs, but that's why the rest of us pay $10 for an aspirin when we're there. This is a big reason for inflated health care costs that no one seems to talk about.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:30 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

marko-

"That will quickly deflate the medical cost bubble we are in"

i think the real key there is to change out insurance structure. US health "insurance" is not insurance at all. it's a buffet.

once you are in, who cares what it costs?

if people paid cash (through HSA'a or whatever) they would shop on price as well as quality and providers would compete that way.

the price of cash pay procedures in the US actually drops every year. this is to be expected. it's basically a technology business.

the reason insured costs go up so much IS the insurance.

that's what we need to get a handle on.

obamacare is disastrous this way.
it makes high deductible plans illegal and forces more and more into the buffet. that will drive prices wild. of course, they will then hit the "cadillac" tax and the whole industry will die, which, i suspect, was the intention all along: cause private insurance to fail by giving it impossible rules, then claim a "market failure" and impose single payer.

the irony is that if medicare/aid were cash grants, not all you can eat, the same money would buy twice as much care.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

And Marko -

That emergency treatment is WAY more expensive than just routine care.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

on top of free riders, it's also worth noting that it's very possible to get care without insurance.

you just walk in and pay.

i did that for years when i was younger. i could have afforded insurance, i just didn't think it was a good deal.

many of the current uninsured feel the same way.

40% of the uninsured make over $50k.

they could have insurance if they wanted it.

another 32% of the uninsured would qualify for medicaid but have not signed up.

that leaves barely a quarter who might actually want insurance and not be able to get it.

it's not nearly the problem it gets made out to be.

we're talking about 4-5% of americans, not the wild numbers the media likes to toss out.

 
At 9/23/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" i'm against telling people they can't be fat or what to eat, but i'm all for opening up better choices and making those who do wind up fat responsible for paying the price of the decision. "

me too.. but if they are not seeing a doctor on a regular basis and having routine screens - like the A1C for diabetes... then that disease will cause enormous damage in the interim... and then those folks will end up in an ER or on MedicAid ...

denying them MedicAid at that point is almost moot ...

denying them MedicAid for routine screening to catch emerging disease before it does tremendous damage and requires heroic and expensive care to prevent amputation and disability ... is not a smart response...

unfortunately when an obese person without health insurance shows up at an ER with massive cardiovascular damage - we don't turn them away... we pay...

a simple blood screen costs $50...

cardiovascular damage costs $50K up...

 
At 9/23/2011 1:03 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

i'm not sure your "testing" argument works.

what does testing achieve?

it may tell us earlier that they are in trouble, but if that is not linked to some sort of prevention, what good is it? it's not like just knowing you are at risk eliminates the risk.

your GP says "lose weight". so what? it's not like fat people don't know they are fat.

unless there are some teeth in it somewhere like "lose weight or you lose care/costs go up" i don't really see what testing accomplishes.

lots of people (me among them) have insurance but don't see doctors regularly either. my understanding is that people on medicaid are notably bad about that.

 
At 9/23/2011 1:08 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

Opting out of insurance is risky if you don't have serious family money. Perfectly healthy young people get a cancer diagnosis out of the blue. And it doesn't matter how healthy you are, you can't control for other people's bad driving, errant golf balls, satellites falling out of the sky, etc. You're lucky it worked out for you. Statistically, it's a sound bet, but insurance should be available for those who want it:

"Only about one-half of all young adults who are working are offered coverage through an employer, compared to about 75 percent of adults who are offered coverage through an employer, over age 30," said Sara Collins with the nonpartisan health care group, Commonwealth Fund.

 
At 9/23/2011 1:13 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Morg - if you look up A1C - you'll see that it's a very reliable predictor of Type II diabetes and once that test shows high A1C levels - it invokes a "standard of care" a treatment regime.

it means getting drugs to tamp down the sugar levels and regular monitoring of blood glucose and A1C.

it will not stop anyone from ignoring the test and subsequent treatment but a certain number of people, if they have access to treatment - will get the drugs and get the education and advice to tamp down sugar levels.

Type II is a stealth disease.. that slowly but surely damaged circulation, organs, eyes, and cardiovascular ....

it's a very expensive disease at the end stages...

by the way ...if you don't think young people are obese... spent a few minutes in front of a WalMart....

 
At 9/23/2011 1:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Opting out of insurance is risky if you don't have serious family money. Perfectly healthy young people get a cancer diagnosis out of the blue. And it doesn't matter how healthy you are, you can't control for other people's bad driving, errant golf balls, satellites falling out of the sky, etc."

even if you are right, so what?

it's their bet to make.

people engage in lots of risky activity.

shall we ban it all?

fwiw, it was not all that risky for me. i was making plenty of money in my 20's and could have easily covered pretty much anything out of savings.

if you stop and think, it's insurance that has to be a bad bet.

if the average person had a positive expected return on insurance, insurance companies would all go out of business.

if you have the ability to self insure, statistically, that is the good bet.

 
At 9/23/2011 1:27 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

i think you are kind of arguing against yourself here.

if there is an easy $50 test, why do they need help getting it?

only the VERY poorest cannot afford $50 every year or 2.

you don't need insurance to get care.

seems to me like it could be handled privately quite easily.

alternately, fine, let's do free tests. but to get treatment, you need to adhere to guidelines and hit goals.

if you go back to eating 4000 calories a day of sugary snack, well, that's on you at that point.

 
At 9/23/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

M-
Again, in your situation, I concede (and already did before) that it makes sense to self insure. If you (or your family) can cover cost of care, then fine. But that is not the case for millions of other young people.

Statistically, that group is the least insured, but also (if we go with your assumption of fitness) costs the least to the insurance companies. Their contribution would bring the average cost of insurance down.

And as to people taking a "bet" that they will be healthy and therefore opting out of insurance, it's only a "bet" if it's a choice. If it's priced out of reach, then it's just the default.

 
At 9/23/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

And yes, it is possible to get fat on pasta and steak, but it takes a lot more work. They leave you feeling sated. Plus, you have to actually labor in the kitchen to make those, so you're less likely to just "go get yourself another round" when you're done.

We appreciate government regulation on things like our cars. You can't sell one that doesn't meet certain safety standards. Why can't we do the same with food? On that note, how is an oreo any better than a cigarette? Second hand smoke affects my personal freedom. People who are obese infringe on my rights too. They consume extra fuel in their cars and on airplanes, driving up prices. They take up part of my seat. They slow me down on the sidewalk.

And yes, point taken on the high fructose corn syrup and enrichment program. Please lobby a congressman.

 
At 9/23/2011 2:31 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Their contribution would bring the average cost of insurance down.

but then their contributions should be lower as well to account for the fact that they cost less.

the fact that so many choose not to be insured may have a great deal to do with their price/benefit ratio not being good enough in buying insurance, so they opt out.

forcing them to buy overpriced insurance in yet another form of wealth transfer to their elders seem unjust and antithetical to personal choice.

And as to people taking a "bet" that they will be healthy and therefore opting out of insurance, it's only a "bet" if it's a choice. If it's priced out of reach, then it's just the default.

sure, but that, as i outlined earlier, is a very small potion of the population.

what is it you are proposing that we do here?

i'm not really sure i understand what you believe the correct course to be.

 
At 9/23/2011 2:44 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

M-
Ideally, universal health coverage, but given that it won't happen, at least affordable insurance. Eliminating the drain on the system from the obese and the uninsured with chronic but treatable ailments that end up in the ER, would help. Tort reform would be a big step in the right direction to help doctors insure their practices at better rates and therefore bring down costs. And yes, unshackling regulations on the insurance industry to create more competition.

 
At 9/23/2011 2:46 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"And yes, it is possible to get fat on pasta and steak, but it takes a lot more work. They leave you feeling sated. Plus, you have to actually labor in the kitchen to make those, so you're less likely to just "go get yourself another round" when you're done."

so we should ban beer then? that's even worse than soda.

how about birthday cakes?

ice cream?

there is no way to ban fattening foods, nor any rationale for doing so that is even remotely supportive of basic freedom.

i'm not fat. why can't i have a cookie? why take away my freedom because of actions others undertake? hell, i used to be a bike racer. i ate 5000-6000 calories a day just trying to maintain body weight and enough fat to have endurance for long races. without high calorie foods, i would have been in real trouble. do you have any idea how hard it is to eat 5000 calories of chicken breasts, vegetables and fruit? why punish me for the sins of others?

isn't that pretty much the definition of unjust prosecution?

"We appreciate government regulation on things like our cars. You can't sell one that doesn't meet certain safety standards. Why can't we do the same with food?"

i don't appreciate them. i find them absurd. i feel the same way about the FDA. that could easily be handled by private ratings, and it would let me import cars i'd like to own in their actual form, not the cut up versions to meet ridiculous US bumper height standards. it would let people try experimental drugs if they have no good approved options. the DOT and FDA should be voluntary accreditation, like good housekeeping, not mandatory choke collars on industries and choice.

there is no "safe food" for obesity. hey, we tried this, remember. enriched flour? look at the disaster that has been.

you can over eat anything. will you ban cashews? limit how many burgers you can eat?

you seem to have worryingly fascist inclinations. the state decides what's good for you, and rams it down the throats of the skinny and fat alike? really?

who would want to live in that kind of nanny state?

you seem awfully anxious to see basic freedom taken away.

it would never work anyhow.

unless you ban flour, eggs, sugar, and baking powder, it's awfully easy to make cookies.

it would be pointless, ineffective regulation.

better to use a carrot than a stick here.

predicate benefits on good behavior, but leave freedom intact. you get all the benefits with none of the totalitarianism.

 
At 9/23/2011 2:52 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

moniker-

"Ideally, universal health coverage, but given that it won't happen, at least affordable insurance. "

those are just platitudes.

how do you pay for it?

how do you get "affordable" insurance"?

free beer would be great too, and pony rides on fridays, but how do you make it happen?

the "universal care" system are on the ropes all over the world as costs run amok.

the answer is to go to cash.

let providers compete and give patients incentive to care what things cost. you can never regulate them from the top down. it has to go the other way.

made medicaid/care cash grants and let them accrue in HSA's.

let people buy real "insurance" with 5-10k+ deductibles. (depending on what they had in their HSA's)

give them skin in the game.

only a market with a real price signal can keep costs down.

we'd get all the same care for half the money.

look at how well it worked in singapore.

i disagree with the coercive nature of their plan, but it's still a helluva lot better than all you can eat buffet style insurance.

 
At 9/23/2011 4:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" if you have the ability to self insure, statistically, that is the good bet. "

try that line with the DMV or your mortgage company...

 
At 9/23/2011 4:21 PM, Blogger aorod said...

People eat too much. Let's end those farm subsidies.

 
At 9/23/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"if there is an easy $50 test, why do they need help getting it?"

that's a good point .... but by the time you see a doc and get the test and then treatment.. it amounts to quite a bit more...

but the test usually arises from regular doctor visits and care... from a doc who if familiar with you medical history... things like how much weight you have gained in what period of time...things in your urine sample... other indications in CBC... which does not measure AC1 but glucose.

if the doc see's too high a glucose level or escalating glucose levels over time, she/she will order the AC1 test ...

you could buy a glucose "sticker" but you'd have to know when to "stick" and that would depend on other factors that your doctor would be looking at... Type II is not a black/white diagnosis.

some people "spike" differently.

some people don't spike but their glucose stays up for hours ...

some folks go from Type II to Type I...

these are all issues for a professional... usually an endocrinologist that your doctor would refer you to once your A1C test confirmed a problem.

the first thing the endo guy does is to have your cardiovascular system and eyes checked to see how long you've been afflicted...how much damage has been done.

bottom line.. this disease requires much more than a test.

 
At 9/23/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

all these ideas would be "good" ideas if we refused to pay for back-end medical costs...

but we don't.

we pay for ER visits and MedicAid to render heroic and expensive treatment to people who did not go to the doc and waited until the disease severely damages them.

this is one of the main reasons why we spend twice as much per capita as other countries.

It would be cheaper for us to provide regular doctor visits for free and catch disease early...rather than refuse medical care until someone is severely damaged and it costs out the rear to keep them alive..

 
At 9/23/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Don't forget that doctors charge more because they know you likely have insurance. If you don't have insurance, they will often give you a price break. That shows me that insurance is driving up the cost of health care. Take a look at the two services that are going up drastically in cost - health care and college. Both are essentially subsidized by the government. The way to solve these problems, like many other problems, is to have the federal government stop being so "helpful".

Oh, and Moniker - Duh. You are right, the current system doesn't work. That is why many of us want to scrap the current employer supplied government regulated insurance system and let people buy their own health care with cash or HSAs and/or buy high deductable catastrophic insurance. A true flat tax or consumption tax would go a long way toward doing that. Can you imagine how businesses would take off if they didn't have to pay for your gold plated health insurance and all those administrative costs? Health insurance is the largest cost of many companies. That is messed up.

 
At 9/23/2011 5:04 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"try that line with the DMV or your mortgage company.."

that's a bit of a non sequitor and also factually inaccurate.

many trucking fleets self insure. there is no requirement that insurance come from outside. you can get a mortgage without insurance as well if you pledge appropriate collateral.

it's a non sequitor because registering a car or getting a loan are both voulentary.

the lender and the borrower agree on terms. their can walk away. you bank doesn't care that you statistically lose on a home insurance (which you do). that's your problem. don't like it, don't borrow.

the same is true of cars.

you are welcome to drive, without a license and sans insurance, just no on public roads.

i drove on private property long before i was 16.

being required to get insurance to be lent money or use a public road has nothing do do with whether it's a good deal for you.

 
At 9/23/2011 5:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"that's a good point .... but by the time you see a doc and get the test and then treatment.. it amounts to quite a bit more... "

it doesn't need to. go to a walmart clinic or whatever. if the system were cash pay, lots of cheap alternatives would emerge for screening.

those with issues could still get care. your endocrinologist example is fine. you can go get care. BUT, you need to start losing weight, eating better, wherever too. care is contingent on your following the regimen.

if you choose to drink 4 liters of coke a day and live on kripy kreme doughnuts anyway, then you have made an expensive choice, and you can do it on your own.

clearly, treatment is cheaper early on. clearly, even with a diagnosis, lots of people will fail to improve their habits. why pay huge money for those too lazy or uninvested to care for themselves?

isn't that a bit like the drunks/drug users who get 200 ambulance rides a year and a like number of ER trips? at what point do you just say, hey, you made your bed, lie in it?

there needs to be personal responsibility in these situations as well.

paying for those with bad luck is one thing, paying for those making bad choices over and over is another.

 
At 9/23/2011 5:25 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I'm with you on the personal responsibility but it does not work on either path - with or without insurance.

In both cases - a failure to deal with the problem results in costs to others.

for those lucky enough to have insurance - it results in higher premiums, reduced coverage and for some lost insurance.

Insurance people also are adversely affected by those who go to the ER without insurance...as hospitals must admit them - and they cost-shift to people with insurance...

that is..whatever MedicAid does not cover...

my view is that if we end up having to pay these costs anyhow - why not minimize it to earlier intervention and treatment - for those that will listen.

the ones that don't will cost you no matter what.

 
At 9/24/2011 12:33 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> The rise in childhood obesity has many causes, but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily sweetened junk food.

Oh, Equine Excreta!!

Emphasis on the "Excreta".

There are three "causes" to this "increase":

1) Changes in the basic definitions of "obese" for people of every size and weight making the "number" and "percentage" figures go up completely artificially.

2) FAR less PE in schools, due to funding cuts.

3) Kids are FAR less likely to be active after school, and if they are, it's for less time. When I was 13, I came home, changed into scrub clothes, and then went out and ran around the neighborhood until dark fell, which was often as much as 3-5 hours, depending on the time of year. Nowadays, kids go out with mommy or daddy to some after-school PE activity (soccer, swimming, or the like) that isn't more than an hour or two, then come home and play video games for hours (interspersed with reams of makework homework).

Parents need to get their kids out of the freakin' house, and stop worrying that there's a dumbass child molester standing on every corner waiting for their kid to come out unescorted.

Your kids are more likely to get molested by some family member or close family friend than they are by some random stranger. And most kids can be taught to be properly cautious about such, and can be taught to watch over each other as a group, too.

 
At 9/24/2011 3:16 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Can't we just keep it simple and ban "foods" like oreos and cool whip?"

No "we" cannot.

Would you also dictate what clothes people can wear, or how long they can grow their hair, or how much water they can use when they shower?

Oh, wait...

 
At 9/24/2011 3:24 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

""Only about one-half of all young adults who are working are offered coverage through an employer, compared to about 75 percent of adults who are offered coverage through an employer, over age 30," said Sara Collins with the nonpartisan health care group, Commonwealth Fund."

And, why do you think that is? What point is to be made here?

 
At 9/24/2011 4:42 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It would be cheaper for us to provide regular doctor visits for free and catch disease early...rather than refuse medical care until someone is severely damaged and it costs out the rear to keep them alive."

This is the common wisdom, but health care costs increase with age, and increase exponentially after age 50, so that those over 85 spend twice as much as those 75 - 84. So, in reality, lifelong care and early treatment that results in living longer, actually costs more than waiting for serious illness, then dying at a younger age.

So, those who don't buy insurance when they are young, and don't get regular checkups and tests, actually cost less than those that do.

You are barking up the wrong collectivist tree here.

"some folks go from Type II to Type I...[diabetes]"

You should try to understand what you are talking about, so you don't embarass yourself by making incorrect statements like that one.

Type I is an immune system failure that destroys insulin producing cells of the pancreas, and is considered to be genetic in origin. Type II is generally acquired, is a metabolic disorder, and involves insulin resistance.

You may not want to state that an acquired disease sometimes becomes genetic.

 
At 9/24/2011 4:50 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "i'm not fat. why can't i have a cookie? why take away my freedom because of actions others undertake? "

The same mindset that would deny you a cookie to protect the obese from themselves, is the one that forces you to pay FICA taxes for benefits you neither need nor want.

 
At 9/24/2011 5:11 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Moniker: "YES THEY DO. Hospital emergency rooms don't "save" everyone who arrives in critical condition. It's not magic. They don't provide top notch care to non-paying customers. "

Can you supply a reference supporting your claim that ERs provide different levels of treatment based on ability to pay?

 
At 9/24/2011 5:14 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"And how do you propose to distinguish between those people who eat themselves to a heart attack and those who have a genetic predisposition? "

What difference does it make? are you interested in what costs they might impose on others, or are you concerned with punishing bad choices?

 
At 9/24/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

type II is where insulin production is depressed. Type I there is no insulin production.

how much insulation is produced can and does vary... and over time someone who is producing little insulin can drop even lower and have to start using insulin.

but you are correct and I was wrong for the reason you gave.

I acknowledge my errors.

 
At 9/24/2011 8:10 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" What difference does it make? are you interested in what costs they might impose on others, or are you concerned with punishing bad choices? "

there's a third choice -

policies which minimize costs to other taxpayers and citizens.

 
At 9/24/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"there's a third choice -

policies which minimize costs to other taxpayers and citizens.
"

This seems at odds with your normal collectivist recommendations.

Does this mean you believe people should pay for what they get, rather than sharing the pain and the wealth equally in every way?

Or, are you just arguing against yourself once more?

 
At 9/24/2011 5:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"And how do you propose to distinguish between those people who eat themselves to a heart attack and those who have a genetic predisposition?"...

Well moniker, neither one of those groups are my concern and I don't think there's reason enough to have the federal government extort the personal wealth of individuals in order to support one group over another...

"Or are you in favor of removing all public support and just letting anyone without health insurance die in the street?"...

The average working individual in pre and post paycheck phases loses about 50% of his/her check...

How much of that goes to the federal government and how much to local and state government?

Now I personally have no problem with as you put it, "letting anyone without health insurance die in the street" but I think its well past time that people on the local level & state level take a much more proactive position on what their tax dollars are spent on...

This is NOT a federal government problem, it never was...

 
At 9/24/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"It would be cheaper for us to provide regular doctor visits for free and catch disease early..."...

Actually larry g it would be cheaper for us if YOU and your fellow travelers provided the dinero for all that wonderful medical care you're bleating about...

Funny thing about liberals and progressives, they always want someone else's money to finance their silly ideas...

 
At 9/26/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>>
You may not want to state that an acquired disease sometimes becomes genetic.


Awww, Ron! C'mon! They are soviet wannabes!

Why would they NOT fully embrace Lysenkoism?

After all, the general concept is already applied to AGW...?

 
At 9/26/2011 9:52 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Can you supply a reference supporting your claim that ERs provide different levels of treatment based on ability to pay?

It's not an entirely incorrect statement conceptually, but it's not accurate as-is.

What ERs do is stabilize and eliminate crises. Once admitted, the hospital is obligated to provide a minimal level of care -- up to that point, it will be the same as for an insured person.

Example: I had a severe back spasm. They gave me an EKG as a result (heart attacks can fool some people into thinking they're back pain, apparently). The doc looked at it, saw something they did not like, then admitted me. They injected dye into me, and did a scan of what my heart was doing. Noted that it was pumping much less efficiently than it ideally should have been for my age and health -- about 40% instead of 60% or more.

Presumably I contracted a virus, which has been known to do such things.

Having noted it, they didn't really do much about it.

I have no idea what insurance coverage would have done as a follow up, but the hospital/ER wasn't under any obligation to deal with it. It wasn't immediately life threatening, and I was in no pain at all, so they released me.

============================
NOTE: *Not* complaining, just noting that there is a difference in what happens if you have insurance. As there presumably should be.

 
At 9/26/2011 5:05 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

morganovich -
You can have a cookie, just not a Hydrox oreo. It's the highly processed, fake food that I am concerned about. It's convenient and cheap. And it's heavily marketed to kids.

There is an obesity epidemic in this country. I look around my office and maybe 40% to 50% of the people are overweight. Maybe 20% of the total are obese. Convenient, bagged, junk food is mostly to blame for it. I see people coming out of the cafeteria with a burger, soda, fries AND a bag of potato chips. They sit at a desk all day and don't need those calories and fat.

How do you stop the problem? It's easy to just say, "well, it's not my problem, so I don't have to fix it." But our entire society is paying for it. Higher health care costs are just the beginning. Low productivity, lost taxes, disability, etc. impact the country as a whole. We are not as competitive as we could be.

And not all government regulation is evil. Self-policing or third party policing is always vulnerable to bribes and corruption. Sometimes government is the better option.

 
At 9/26/2011 7:16 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>>>>>"there's a third choice - policies which minimize costs to other taxpayers and citizens."
>>> This seems at odds with your normal collectivist recommendations.

Ahhhh, not really. He's talking about using "federal policy" to make companies stop offering "supersized" meals, for example.

The Federal Government telling McDonald's and Wendy's what to do.

That's fully in line with collectivist BS.

 
At 9/26/2011 7:49 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: "collectivism"

how about nutrition labels?

should govt require them so people will know what they are eating?

 
At 9/27/2011 2:39 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

OBH: "Awww, Ron! C'mon! They are soviet wannabes!

Why would they NOT fully embrace Lysenkoism?

After all, the general concept is already applied to AGW...?
"

I know, I'm a party pooper.

"Renewable energy" seems to be another of Lysenko's favorite playgrounds.

 
At 9/27/2011 2:54 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I have no idea what insurance coverage would have done as a follow up, but the hospital/ER wasn't under any obligation to deal with it. It wasn't immediately life threatening, and I was in no pain at all, so they released me."

As should happen at that point, whether you had insurance or not.

I'll bet you were instructed at discharge to make an appointment with your regular doctor. that would most likely be your next step.

Any further treatment would result from your doctor's visit, not treatment in the ER.

Hopefully you were billed for treatment and you paid the bill, so I won't have to. :)

 
At 9/27/2011 3:17 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You can have a cookie, just not a Hydrox oreo. It's the highly processed, fake food that I am concerned about. It's convenient and cheap. And it's heavily marketed to kids."

You do realize, of course, that most kids have parents who control what their children eat. I agree that marketing is directed at kids, but they aren't the ultimate deciders - and neither are you.

You might try limiting your concern to things you actually have any control over. If your concern was shared widely by others, there would be no Oreos, as they would never leave the supermarket shelf, and the losing product line would be discontinued.

Oreos exist because people want them, and are willing to pay for them, not because they are forced on people by an evil cookie pusher.

"There is an obesity epidemic in this country. I look around my office... ...I see people coming out of the cafeteria with a burger, soda, fries AND a bag of potato chips. They sit at a desk all day and don't need those calories and fat."

Oh, the horror! I'll bet they're really tired of hearing about it from you.

"And not all government regulation is evil. Self-policing or third party policing is always vulnerable to bribes and corruption. Sometimes government is the better option."

Yeah, I can be bribed with a box of Oreos.

Of course, there is no corruption, bribes, or cronyism possible in government.

LOL! you are a hoot.

 
At 9/27/2011 3:35 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"re: "collectivism"

how about nutrition labels?

should govt require them so people will know what they are eating?
"

No.

You don't seem to understand the concepts of customer sovereignty, competition, and self interest.

If there was a real demand for nutrition labels, producers would provide them without government involvement.

Customers would request them, favor items that had them, and they would become a necessary part of food packaging.

Your collectivist notions keep you from understanding market forces.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home