Careless About Litter, Careless About Health
Regardless of the future of Obamacare, the most important health decisions wont be made by Congress, or bureaucrats, or insurance companies, or doctors, or hospitals, but by individual Americans with their personal choices and habits.
This realization hit me with special force as part of the normal neighborhood litter patrol that I’ve described many times on my radio show. For several years, I’ve made it a point to stop the car to pick up garbage that’s been thoughtlessly deposited by the side of the road in the suburban area surrounding our home. This weekend, I especially noticed the prevalence of two particularly obnoxious sorts of trash: cigarette packs and butts, along with fast food wrapping and bags. As I collected the litter in the plastic bag I carry, it occurred to me that the people who were hurting our neighborhood were also hurting themselves. Though no one seriously wants government to crack down further on tobacco or McDonald’s, everyone knows that cigarettes and junk food contribute to bad health outcomes for millions of Americans. Regarding the propensity to litter, it makes sense that those who are careless and sloppy concerning their own bodies will be comparably careless and sloppy when it comes to a public thoroughfare.
On a similar note, those 30 million citizens who neglect their own welfare by failing to purchase health insurance are far more likely to undermine their own health with self-destructive habits smoking, heavy drinking, over-eating, and so forth. Those who are truly too poor to get any sort of private or workplace insurance are already eligible for generous government assistance through Medicaid; in fact, official federal figures suggest that as many as 14 million of the currently uninsured could sign up for Medicaid immediately if they chose to do so. But the same recklessness and irresponsibility that leads people to tobacco-related illnesses and morbid obesity leads people to ignore their own insurance needs, regardless of potentially disastrous consequences.
A Thousand Dead Today Because of Lack of Insurance?