...Bloomberg highlighted a comment from a supporter of the ban, who wrote, "Anyone who pays taxes and thus bears the health care costs of obesity should support this."
The article summarizes the dangers in this thinking much better than I ever could, so I won’t try.
In a free society, individuals are able to take risks and make decisions detrimental to their own well-being — be it smoking, drinking, excessive eating or anything else — because they’ll bear the ultimate costs of their decisions. But when government assumes a greater role in the health care system, suddenly there’s a societal cost to individual risks. This provides an opening for those who believe in a paternalistic role for government to make their regulations seem pragmatic. Bloomberg used the “health care costs to taxpayers” argument during his previous drives to ban smoking in bars and restaurants and to outlaw the use of trans fats.
The problem with socializing health care costs is that everyone else now has a vested interest in your health. If you choose to do unhealthy or risky things, THEY have to pay for it, so now they get a DEFENSIBLE, JUSTIFIABLE reason to meddle in your private choices and desires.
Jeb Corliss – do you like wing suiting? Then you’d better be against socialized medicine, because your fellow citizens are going to have to pay for the risks of your wing suiting, and may very well decide that you shouldn’t be allowed to wing suit anymore.
Travis Pastrana – like racing motorcycles? Then you’d better be against socialized medicine, because I can gurantee you that society is not interested in continuing to pay for your broken bones and dislocated spinal columns.
Most interesting man in the world? Better stop smoking those cigars that you sell to cuba, because our society has no patience for paying the costs of your habits.
Everyone else? Like having a Red Robin burger occasionally? Or a soda? Or using a bit of chewing tobacco on the hunting weekends, or smoking a cigar, or drinking some fine bourbon on the back porch? Well, you’d better enjoy it while you can, because every one of your neighbors is about to get a fully justifiable, legally defensible say in everything you do with your body, and they could very well decide that your favorite vice is the next to hit the chopping block.
After all, if I have to pay for your lung cancer treatment, shouldn’t I get a say in the cost to benefit ratio of allowing you to smoke a cigar?
If I have to pay for the dislocated spine, shouldn’t I have a say in whether Travis Pastrana should be allowed to attempt a backflip on a motorcycle? Can you believe where this is headed?
Welcome to the new world, folks, where every life decision is made by committee. And to think that you all asked for this with cheers and applause.