According to Radley Balko’s article, “What You Eat is Your Business,” the American government is driving a wedge between you and your waist line. The perception is that the politicians can become champions of the publics health by solving the obesity epidemic through legislative measures. He alleged that it is a slippery slope into the intrusion of our civil liberties. “This is the wrong way” (Balko 466). Government should not influence or sway our dietary options. “It ought to be working to foster a sense of responsibility in the ownership of our health and well-being” (Balko 467). He professed that for decades, the American health care system has progressively drifted towards a system that’s progressively a socialistic style of care. When the government pays for our health care, what we do with our bodies becomes increasingly more of a public concern. Individuals are scrutinized for the personal life style decisions they make. Balko asserts that we have lost sight as a culture.
Governmental intrusion has been causing the loss of choice and eroding our civil liberties. Balko Argued that as medicine becomes more socialized we run the risk of our government overreaching its bounds by placing restrictions ranging from what a business can sale to what restaurants offer. “Its difficult to think of anything more private and less public concern than what we choose to put in our bodies” (Balko 468). According to Balko, it’s only a public issue if society is obligated to pay for socialized medical care. He professes that we need to revert the responsibility of healthcare from the government, back to the individual. After all we make better choices when when we pay the price for our own decisions.
I do agree with Balko, that things are not okay and that drastic change is warranted. Yet, I sat in disbelief as I read his frighteningly biased and misleading article. I absolutely disagree with his absurd argument that this is public interest vs. civil liberties, as his article wildly proclaimed. His assertions of the loss of personal liberties and the growth of an overbearing government negatively impacting individual rights is outlandish and detrimental to a novice public. I find his rational foolish, his solution second-rate and a cruel blow to our most vulnerable. Our politicians are controlled by overpaid lobbyist who have orchestrated this disastrous crisis. As reported in The Atlantic, “Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures.” Special interest spending is out of control. Greedy lobbyist and egotistical politicians should be held accountable to the families who have lost loved ones, because they are forced to make life and death decisions based solely of the financial cost of for profit health care.
As for those who are fortunate enough to qualify under the affordable health care act (not the 6 million to 9 million middle class earners without employer coverage), “their premiums on average were set to increase by 22 percent.” According to a recent report by Kimberly Leonard of U.S. News, the American health care system is out of control. Unfortunately, instead of solving this crisis it has divided us fiercely along party lines. This unquestionably should not be viewed by the public, as liberals vs. conservatives. This is not a red or blue state issue. This is a uniquely American catastrophe. It has been devised in large part by greedy for profit health care providers and powerful pharmaceutical companies who use lobbyist and strong-arm tactics to drive up the cost. Working class families are powerless against multi-billion dollar corporations that are making decisions based off profitability. This is not because the governments seizure of our rights or the forfeiture of our civil liberties. It’s because of crony capitalism. Our government is picking winners and losers. Privileged corporations adorned by our politicians are playing God by deciding who should be allowed to live or die. Our underprivileged and sickest individuals are defenseless against powerful corporations. A moral society must ask itself how it can permit corporations to commit such appalling crimes against humanity with no consequences. Where is the compassion for those who are less fortunate? As the statue of liberty cries out, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (Emma Lazarus). This is a call of attention to an America that has forgotten her promise.
The United States is the most technologically advanced and wealthiest country in the world. “We collectively hold a total of $63.5 trillion in private wealth” (Fortune). Despite our enormous wealth America is consistently dead last among all other advanced industrialized countries in health care. In addition, the United States also has the most expensive healthcare system in the world relative to it’s GDP. “The level of health care spending relative to GDP is about 50 percent more than any of the countries studied” (CNBC). Regrettably the working class does not benefit from from the tremendous amount of money infused into the health care system. “Our health care system is fragmented and overly complex” (USA Today). Politicians and lobbyist have commandeered our health care system. For the working class that means care that is increasingly limited and exponentially more expensive. The rest of the economically advanced world has implemented comprehensive health care in different forms with consistent results, a better level of care at a lower cost to their GDP.
We must hold corporations and our elected officials accountable. It’s daunting but imperative that we stop crony capitalism from further damaging our health care system and put an end to further atrocities. We have allowed special interest to control the conversation for too long. Health care spending in America continues outpacing the rate of economic growth. It is out of control and unstainable. “The united states spent 16.4% of its GDP on health care in 2013, that amounts to $8,713 per person (USA Today).” Working class families simply cannot continue to afford the uncontrolled growth in the cost of health care.
The American health care system is in crisis and in need of reform. We should aspire to be a beacon to the world. To lead humanity forward. The problem is not about government abusing our civil liberties. In fact, evidence from the rest of the advanced industrialized world refutes any such claim. Comprehensive health care in other democracies has increased the standard of living and allowed individuals to focus on life freed from the fear of the cost associated with health issues. Its time that we take back the conversation from the incoherent rhetoric of our politicians and lobbyist.
Collaboration of great people has always pushed societies forward. Individuals have been able to hold onto self identity while at the same time making conscious decisions to work together to move humankind forward. American health care is in crisis. We can continue down this disastrous path or make a decision to change the fortune for all Americans. We can lower the cost of care while improving access. Comprehensive health care is not the problem, it’s the solution to the uniquely orchestrated American crisis.
Graff, Gerald, Birkenstein, Cathy and Durst, Russel. “They Say/ I Say” W. W. Norton & Company, 2017
Drutman, Lee. How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy. The Atlantic. Theatlantic.com 20 April 2015
Leonard, Kimberly. Millions Excluded from Obamacare Aid, Pass on Coverage. U.S. News. Usnews.com 15 February 2017
Stebbins, Sam and Frohlich, Tomas C. Countries Spending the Most on Health Care. USA Today. Usatoday.com 14 November 2015. 4 February 2017
Mangan, Dan. United health-care spending is high. Results are… not so good. CNBC. Cnbc.com 8 October 2017. 4 February 2017
Serman, Erik America is the richest, and most unequal, country. Fortune. Fortune.com 30 September 2015. 5 February 2017