Monday, September 21, 2009

"You can't complain about healthcare reform if you're not willing to reform your own health"

Bill Maher can be rather snobby, rude and condescending sometimes, but more often then not he hits the nail right on the head with his non PC reflections on the issues. Maher is a master of saying things that need to be said in a rather uninhibited strait forward matter of fact way.

His new rule on healthcare reform "You can't complain about healthcare reform if you're not willing to reform your own health", is one of those times he points out the elephant in the room that none of our political leaders seems to be talking about when it comes to American health issues and healthcare reform. I think I hear more about this from talking heads on the right then on the left. Except maybe the ditto heads use it for an excuse for not reforming healthcare more then as what it really should be, a value added aspect of overall reform of the healthcare system and our eating habits.

Whether it's all the fat teabaggers mostly from down south who have the highest rates of obesity going because of overly fat diets and eating habits, smoking or the general lack of exercise in America generally, we are not a very healthy country period. I recently started smoking again even though I knew full well that not smoking is the number one way to prevent a number of major causes for eventual death. So forgive me for the pot calling the kettle black here. But, of course, I'm about to quit.

I work as a volunteer at the VA and one of the things you notice if you pay attention is the VA is very concerned about obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and diet. As one of the major health delivery systems in the country they realize by encouraging patients to live a healthier lifestyle they also keep the enormous cost of any eventual treatment down. Which makes them one of the most efficient delivery systems in the country.

Maher criticizes Obama for picking a "fat" surgeon general. Or for not getting out front on issues like taxing soft drinks. It would make sense to me if you tax booze and cigarettes then you should tax the shit out of all the other things that lead to obesity and health problems. Maybe the money raised could help pay the way for healthcare reform. Seems logical. But have you seen the laughable ads already being broadcast and paid for by the soda pop industry? How about getting rid of corn syrup for starters? Here's a transcript:

"Now, President Obama has identified most of the problems with the healthcare system, but there's one tiny issue he refuses to tackle. And that's our actual health. And since Americans can only be prodded into doing something with money, we need to tax crappy foods that make us sick -- like we do with cigarettes, and like we do with alcohol. And alcohol actually serves a useful function in society, in that it enables unattractive people to get laid, which is certainly more than I can say for Skittles.

Now, I'm not saying we tax all soda, but certainly any single serving of soda larger than a baby. If you don't know whether you burp it or it burps you, that's too big.

We need to make taking care of ourselves an issue of patriotism. And if you are someone who condemned Bush for not asking Americans to sacrifice for the war on terror, sorry, but the same must be said for Obama and healthcare.

The president has already made it clear, there'll be no "sin tax" on food on his watch. And at a time when it's important to set new standards for personal responsibility, he appointed a surgeon general who is fat". I'm sorry real fat. Certainly too heavy to be a surgeon general. You know, it's a role model thing. It would be like appointing a Secretary of the Treasury who didn't pay his taxes. Oh, he did? He did. My bad.

And get this: our new surgeon general, Regina Benjamin, had previously been a nutritional advisor to Burger King. Which sells something called an "Angry Whopper Triple" that has 1,300 calories and 91 grams of fat. The only advice a health expert should give Burger King is to stop selling food.

The nutritional adviser job was described as, get this, "promoting balanced diets and active lifestyle choices." And who better to do that than the folks who hand you meat and corn syrup through a car window?

You know, when you have a surgeon general who comes from Burger King, it's a message to lobbyists. And that message is: "Have it your way."

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