I contemplated this question seriously as I waited in line at the local fast food chain for my lunch this week. Then I saw the news about some of the upcoming changes as related to health care, and I thought I might need to rethink that grand idea. When the health care debate reached critical mass in early 2010, Americans were left feeling the effects of one the largest political rifts in quite some time. The chasm created over the passage of the health care overhaul is far reaching and still the source of much debate around the proverbial dinner table. I would argue a majority of Americans are still trying to decide how health care changes will affect their own households. Rest assured, change is coming, as promised. However, it is most likely not the change Americans envisioned when they elected the Chosen One in 2008, at least in regard to health care.
In the midst of other large crises looming in our country, health care seems all but forgotten. One small article here and there in mainstream media, perhaps, or you might think about the healthcare changes as you sit waiting in your current doctor's office for what seems an eternity. There are only so many magazines that can help pass that time, right? But, be aware, the health care overhaul is coming soon to your home. The media is slowly filtering to the American public some of the changes yet to come. Perhaps one of the most intriguing is the use of the Body Mass Index, or BMI, for each individual to be placed on a national exchange for medical records. The BMI calculates a ratio between an individual's height and weight, which is then used to determine if a person is obese…or not. Even the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) consider, the BMI an ideal measurement of your overweight status. A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. In the interest of full disclosure, at 5'8" and 215 pounds, I scored a BMI of 32.8. Whoa. I didn't know I was so unhealthy, although I eat generally healthy and exercise. My recommended weight hovers somewhere in the 130-140, which, after three children and being 33, is absolutely not going to happen unless a weight fairy shows up at my front door.
Thus, the BMI, a debatable measure of obesity, is being used to determine the obesity status of individual Americans. Can we not see where this is going?
I can. Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity the theme of her term as First Lady. No more chubby kids addicted to television and video games allowed. Oh, and they can't have toys from fast food chains either. Those evil toys, luring innocent children to steal the keys to the family van and fly to the nearest hamburger joint in search of a piece of plastic heaven and fatty French fries. I am not saying school lunchrooms will not benefit from these proposed changes to childhood eating habits, but to take on private corporation(s) and tell them how to market to their customers is a stretch. I mean, come on, we have already lost Joe Camel.
It is also not a stretch to see where the BMI fits in for the adults in our country. As ObamaCare heads down the rails, the illusion of equality must be recognized. It is only an illusion. The BMI is a perfect example. A faulty measure to determine obesity in adults…will this determine the type of coverage you are actually eligible for? Why else would information be needed by the federal government? "Dr. Highly Trained and Specialized is only allowed to accept patients with low BMI. Dr. Quack Last in Class is available for you." And this information will be right there at the touch of a button. According to the health care bill, providers seeking federal subsidies of any kind must use the electronic records system. So any doctor anywhere, without ever having seen you, met you, diagnosed you, can know how supposedly fat you might be. And don't think for a minute your information will not be accessed without your permission. The fine print says there are exceptions to the sale of your information, such as "research." My, what a nice broad term for a large umbrella.
This is only the beginning of the changes, and these seem small. In an article dated July 17, 2010, The Wall Street Journal outlined the new duties of the IRS as it relates to ObamaCare. Do you realize how many new employees the IRS will require to enforce this new social program? Since one of the new jobs of the IRS will be to determine who has the required government insurance and who doesn't, and specifically collecting penalties from those who do not, the IRS cannot even speculate a number on the increase in human power to carry these jobs through. I wonder if in the 2300 some odd page bill there is fine print on obese folks being charged more in penalties. Would this surprise you? I wouldn't be. The government is getting ready to levy PENALTIES on people who don't follow the rules about insurance. Funny how the federal rules in place about immigration are ignored by the powers that be, but that is a topic for another post. It is also ironic for a President to complain so much about the GOP halting jobs and the economy….oh wait, the President keeps creating new six-figure federal jobs. Again, this begins a topic for another post.
I urge you to not forget about the health care changes on the horizon. I am not. These are a very, very small part of that mountain. I am, however, still thinking about how to convince those fast food chains to carry a chocolate selection at the drive through window. If grocery stores can tempt me at the checkout, then why not fast food too? Oh well. I would not want to encourage the attention of the government food police.