Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Health of the State

I don’t mean to post so much today, but this item from today’s New York Times shows why government-funded health care can threaten liberty. Nationalizing the costs of health care gives the government a legitimate reason to moniter our diets in particular, and our lifestyles in general.

From Japan:

Summoned by the city of Amagasaki one recent morning, Minoru Nogiri, 45, a flower shop owner, found himself lining up to have his waistline measured. With no visible paunch, he seemed to run little risk of being classified as overweight, or metabo, the preferred word in Japan these days.

But because the new state-prescribed limit for male waistlines is a strict 33.5 inches, he had anxiously measured himself at home a couple of days earlier. “I’m on the border,” he said.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months. . . .

The ministry also says that curbing widening waistlines will rein in a rapidly aging society’s ballooning health care costs, one of the most serious and politically delicate problems facing Japan today

Obvious question: Is there a Sumo wrestler exemption? Or must they simply slim down by age 40?

Discussions - 3 Comments

"They will find the cake and they will gobble it up, because, having no mother, they don't know how dangerous 'tis to eat rich damp cake." He burst into laughter, not hollow laughter now, but honest laughter. "Aha, they will die."

Is that an argument against socialized health or an argument for it? Lets say we have a healthcare program that refuses to pay for people who fail a height and weight requirement(measure waist, biceps and neck)...we could make the standards for the general populace slightly more relaxed than the ones employed by the U.S. Army...and if you fail but still wish to retain your benefits then you would have to go attend remedial PT(state mandated physical trainning regiment). We won't call it socialized medicine but prussianized medicine, and we will exempt/taper off for old people but make it applicable on an optional basis to all who are eligible for selective service. My guess is that optional prussianized medicine would end up covering very few people. (The remedial PT program could be run/administered by the National Guard and Army reserve components.

I would support "Prussianised medicine" on the middle grounds that it answers the liberal charge that opposition to socialized healthcare is heartless, and the conservative charge that liberalism is gutless. The United States goverment will cover the healthcare cost of all citizens who make an effort to remain healthy and are just unluky...in this sense it is a true safety net. It will also allow people to maintain complete lifelong craddle to grave emergency health care, so long as they submit to physicals and PT tests on a yearly basis.

Because it is america we will make enrollment in the program obligatory up until high school graduation at which point enrollment becomes optional. In order to be covered for a given year you would have to submit to a physical and pass a physical fitness test(or else keep good attendence at remedial trainning)...you are free to blow off the requirements and pay for your own way on the open market...and you are free to opt into the prussianized program at any age.

Basically, this is the only way I am in favor of socialized medicine. You can call it prussianized or Japanese management philosophy...but the idea is to at least counter ballance the lazy sloth effect of welfare with a sort of gut effort or a sense that one brings dishonor on oneself and the country by asking it to pay for something that you are not willing to work towards.

It is the argument for it, and I mock that argument. See the other thread for a response.

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