Saturday, April 07, 2007

Obesity Stamps -- Part II

After typing my original posting about the "war on obesity" being launched by the Minneapolis Department of Parks via its plans to build health clubs in parks for poor families to use -

http://spacebeaglenotes.blogspot.com/2007/04/obesity-stamps.html

I reflected on the issue a bit more after talking with some friends this past week. Here are some new related topics worth exploring on this subject:

  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Insurance Premiums

Now I only toured one public housing building in Chicago years ago so this might be an ignorant question but in all of their planning did HUD think to include health club facilities in public housing complexes and if they did were these facilities used by residents to combat obesity? If HUD did not include such resources might they be blamed for the rise in obesity in the USA's poor communities (a "crisis" noted by the Minneapolis Parks System, "MPS" )? Or if HUD did include health clubs in public housing did these facilities provide any noticeable health benefits? Either way, the Minneapolis Parks System should be required (with their current resources, not with more tax money from us tax slaves) to evaluate any work HUD did in this area before they work with people like Representative Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) to take $900,000 from the state budget to build one health club in a park for our poor citizens to use free of charge. For starts the MPS can use this research which focused on Boys and Girls Clubs in public housing buildings:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb4257/is_199511/ai_n13060026

From an insurance industry perspective we should be able to utilize free market forces to combat the rise in obesity rates -- only if government got out of the health care insurance market to allow for the needed adjustments. As most people probably know if you smoke cigarettes this will affect the insurance premiums you pay but did you know that "dangerous activities" like sky diving and scuba diving also affect insurance premiums? I know because I am an active scuba who must disclose the type and frequency of my diving on certain insurance paperwork. Perhaps this is happening already but why not allow the insurance and health care industries to better utilize data mining techniques to drive higher premium costs on obese people if it can be proven they drive higher health care costs.

Yes I love to oversimplify things with a dangerous gift called -- common sense -- so I advocate things like toll roads whereby drivers pay for how much of the toll road they use. This is what is known as a "user fee" so why not exact tolls on obese people to help control health care costs? I spend my time and money going to my gym, canoeing, and participating in running events to help maintain my weight so I will likely use the health care system (think "toll highway") less than an obese person who chooses to lay on their couch collecting government benefits such as free health clubs so let them pay higher health care insurance premiums since obesity is a "dangerous activity" like my scuba diving :-)

Government agencies should talk with each other more and tax us less.

Todd

1 comment:

kissmysass said...

Or how about this CAA-RAAZY idea?? YMCA! They will let you get a family discount PLUS you can pay what you can afford, most of the time. YMCA is a publicly funded system and there are Y's all over Minneapolis. It's utter BS that that DFL chick ordered $900k for stupid health clubs that po' folks in Mpls AIN'T gonna use anyway. They are too busy not working, cranking out babies, drinking 40's, or being Somolian or whatever.