Whole Foods is implementing a plan to give a bigger employee discount to employees that don’t smoke, have lower blood pressure and have a BMI under 30. Naturally, people are whining about discrimination. This includes one quote that I can’t possibly do justice to other than to reproduce it in full:
“Why are you rewarding people who are naturally thin? We believe it’s discrimination,” said Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. “We are encouraging our membership and anyone else who agrees with us to shop elsewhere.”
Sigh. Look, Peggy Howell, I’ve got news for you. Most of your membership IS ALREADY shopping somewhere else like Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s. My tiny little brain can’t even comprehend the idea of a National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
This is a voluntary program to reward people for doing something valuable in the eyes of their employer. On top of that, it rewards people for doing what it takes to be healthier. It’s a fucking voluntary incentive program, no different than giving out bonuses to people who do more or better work. In the huge majority of instances, fat is a choice. Yes, some body types find it easier to not gain weight but contrary to Ms. Howell’s assertion, almost everyone is naturally thin. We eat too much and we exercise too little because we choose to.
I think it’s sad that it’s come to the point not only where being fat and out of shape is a badge of honor but where there is an association trying to spread the acceptance of it. This is not the same thing as civil rights or gay freedom or anything else out there. We are fat because we eat too much, exercise too little and live in a country where we have to do almost no physical labor at any time. Just today, I saw a commercial by a bariatric surgeon that told me if I was fat, I didn’t have a weight control problem, I had a medical condition called obesity. We are to the point where being overweight is a medical condition and not a choice. That’s unbelievable. Is weight loss hard? Only because our diet is so screwed up and our exercise output is so low. Get 30 minutes of exercise a day, eat nothing but meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit in 2000 calorie daily totals and you will lose weight in all most all cases. It just isn’t that hard from a physical standpoint. The rules are simple and easy to define. It’s the discipline to do so that goes so terribly wanting.
Whole Foods is trying to get their employees to be healthier. People who choose not to participate still get the same damn discount they have always gotten. This is an incentive program, plain and simple. Choose to do what it takes to be healthy and we’ll reward you. There’s nothing discriminatory about it. Bill Maher said it best: “Ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.”
The front page article on CNN right now, if read uncritically, would have the dear reader to believe that if you are uninsured in America, you are “at mortal risk” of dying prematurely and that 45,000 people die every year for the sole reason that they don’t have health insurance. Read more closely and you realize that all of the above is based on a study written by physicians who founded a program that supports government-backed “single-payer” health coverage and that is based on such hard data as “What all three of these people have in common is that they experienced symptoms, but didn’t seek care because they were uninsured and they worried about the hospital expense, according to their families.”.
Look, maybe we need single payer health care in this country. Maybe we don’t. But how in the holy hell will any of us be able to decide if we are to base our decisions on craptastic reporting like that linked above? Let us assume for a minute that it really is true that not having health insurance increases your risk of dying by 40%. According to the CDC, the age group measured in the study has a 1 in 305, or .32% of dying from cause whether you have health insurance or not. Acknowledging that the data is a little messy, if you say the uninsured have a 40% greater chance of dying, they are up to a whopping .46% chance of dying. For this, we’re going to completely rewrite how we handle health care in this country and hand it all to the government, keeper of things like Social Security and the regulation of Bernie Madoff?
This is the way reporting is going on CNN and other major media outlets. It’s all screaming and histrionics. This article is riddled with the three terrible sounding anecdotes, blaming their deaths on not having health insurance and being afraid to go to the hospital ignoring any other possible explanation like a freelance cameraman who by his wife’s own admission never complained about anything. Yet his death must have happened because he didn’t have health insurance. Color me unconvinced which is the color black like my sad, cynical heart.
Here’s another good one: one of the authors of the study, again who created a foundation to support single payer government sponsored healthcare, says that not having health insurance has become lethal. Guess what? Having health insurance is lethal too! Everyone dies. Having health insurance does not guarantee that everyone will suddenly start taking care of themselves and going to the doctor on a regular basis any more than having auto insurance ensures that everyone will suddenly start driving the damn speed limit.
Seriously, health care is not a fundamental human right. It just isn’t. In the long run, maybe it’s cheaper and better to have a single payer system and maybe it isn’t. But reporting like this CNN hit piece isn’t furthering the debate. It’s the sad state of big media today that we have to believe stuff like this is front page news.