There was an article from the Times this morning about the growing activity of “fat pride” advocates in regards to the health bill which just passed the House. Apparently, these extremely overweight people were offended at the suggestion that there should be certain limitations and penalties imposed on those Americans who are very overweight for a reason other than genetics. They don’t like it being implied that they should lose weight because, for some strange reason, they actually like being fat. Or, so they say.
I honestly don’t understand their argument. Why should I have to pay for their future diabetes or heart attacks simply because they couldn’t lay off the McDonalds? If your weight is the cause of genetics, that’s not your fault, so go ahead and put it on the communal tab. But why should I pay for someone else’s lack of willpower or intelligence? It’s not that I’m biased specifically against fat people. I think limitations should be imposed on all of those people who willfully indulge in health-harming behaviors: smokers, alcoholics, and druggies, for example. Why should I pay for their health care when they’re the ones who put themselves at high risk?
Conflicts like this are the reason that I’m not 100% for universal health coverage. I know I’m biased because I’ve always been lucky enough to have it, and would want it if I didn’t, but I as a Capitalist and business student, I can’t help but think about the money side. My friends in Austria give 35% of their income for their “social safety net.” I’m not willing to part with that kind of money if it’s going to be paying the bills of people who put themselves into the hospital.
I have to admit, I’m also extremely bothered by the idea that certain groups have began to accept obesity as being okay. Obesity is not okay! It shortens your lifespan and–as previously mentioned–increases your risk of several medical problems. Raising kids to think that it’s perfectly fine for one person to weigh as much as three or four normal people do, instead of teaching them to eat healthy and exercise, just makes the problem worse. And that’s without even going into the aesthetics of the situation…