Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Ounce of Prevention

Paul Krugman pointed out that we don't have a socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid problem. His point is that social security and medicare/medicaid are very different programs with different funding and different problems. Very true. Ezra Klein followed up saying we don't even have a medicare/medicaid problem--we have a health care problem. Also very true. Medicare and Medicaid must keep pace with the skyrocketing costs in the private market or doctors will drop out, so the problem is not just government healthcare. I would extend this a little further by saying we don't have a health care problem--we have a health problem.

I hear a lot about projected obesity and diabetes rates, but always as foregone conclusions, not as things that could be avoided. I feel like I've been following the health care debate closely, yet I don't hear much about diet and exercise. Michelle Obama seems to be making an effort, only to be rebutted by fitness fanatic and Runner's World covergirl, Sarah Palin. Is there anyone out else out there, politician or pundit, that is proposing a public education campaign on the importance of diet and exercise?

How about Arnold Schwarzenegger? He shouldn't be busy. How about prominent blogger Matthew Yglesias? He quietly dropped 70 pounds this past year. I read his blog almost daily, and I don't think he even mentioned trying to lose weight until it was a done deal. I think he had previously given up smoking too. That's great. Maybe in addition to arguing for taller buildings, deregulation of hair care, and elimination of public parking lots--all worthwhile projects--he could promote policies that encourage more people to adopt healthy lifestyles--a much more worthwhile project.

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