On the heels of the first anniversary of the Scottish smoking ban, it may not be long before the next ghillie drops. An article in The Scotsman today bemoans the cost of the “obesity epidemic,” including a 16 percent increase in the prescribing of anti-obesity drugs to citizens. The cost of the obesity pills to treat this “epidemic” (watch out, it’s contagious) represents an annual additional cost to the Scottish taxpayer of £500 (about $1,000).
It won’t be long now (if it hasn’t already occurred) that the nannies will be calling for bans on fatty foods as a matter of health and national interest.
This is a problem on two levels in Scotland: one, the nanny-state mentality that holds sway and makes such bans not only conceivable but likely; and two, the fact that healthcare in Scotland is nationalized in the first place, which simultaneously puts the government in charge of extracting the costs from all citizens while also being in position to ration what care is provided and deciding who is “worthy.” And is it any surprise that obesity is increasing when the government stands ready to pass out anti-obesity pills? The pills might be effective but they’re no match for the principle that you get more of whatever you subsidize.
This is also an issue that also points out the challenges ahead for Minnesota as we are on the verge of enacting our own state-wide smoking ban (in public places, for now) and where our current legislature can’t wait for the opportunity to pass single-payer healthcare provisions. (By the way, the population of Scotland is about the same as Minnesota’s; according to 2005 estimates there are 5.09 million people in Scotland and 5.13 million in Minnesota).
The article didn’t expressly call for a ban on selling unhealthy foods, but it’s the next logical step from a system that has, ironically, force-fed its citizens with a never-ending platter of entitlements as if they were so many veal calfs or geese being prepared for foie gras , limiting their movement (freedoms) til they were in a dullard’s stupor unable to resist and fit only to be harvested for their taxes.
Snippets from the article include:
… Spending on anti-obesity drugs rocketed to more than £4 million in Scotland last year as GPs doled out 89,000 prescriptions.
…Spending on the two main anti-obesity drugs rose from £3.55 million in 2004-5 to £4.12 million in 2005-6.
…”Being overweight is a disease, and why shouldn’t these patients get these drugs?” she said.
…The World Health Organisation has described obesity as a “worldwide epidemic”, and it is already thought to cause 9,000 premature deaths a year in the UK and costs the NHS £1 billion annually.
…A recent study by the Health and Social Care Information Centre showed that the annual cost for the two main drugs, Orlistat and Sibutramine, has hit almost £38 million in the UK, which means that £1 in every £264 spent on NHS drugs is now being used for obesity medication.
Now I am rather robust of frame myself. If it were, in fact, “raining men” as the old song sang, I’d be my own puddle. Of course, armed with the information from the article I now know that I have a disease and that I am a helpless victim of a worldwide epidemic. I’m sure I caught this disease from using a contaminated spoon while eating ice cream, or from one of those people in line next to me at McDonald’s coughing on me. If only someone would do something to help me!
That’s not to diminish the serious health issues of obesity. If I, myself, am to diminish however it should be up to me, not the government. I can eat less, exercise more and even counter-intuitive as it sounds — sleep more and lose weight. Sleeping more is something that I’ve been trying to do, since studies have shown that getting more than seven hours of sleep a night helps your body control its weight. The problem is, I always wake up after six hours (or less) regardless of when I go to bed, no matter how much I’d like to sleep longer.
Maybe someone should pass a law.