Big Food vs. Big Insurance
By MICHAEL POLLAN
TO listen to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, or to just about anyone else in the health care debate, you would think that the biggest problem with health care in America is the system itself — perverse incentives, inefficiencies, unnecessary tests and procedures, lack of competition, and greed.
No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter.
Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.
That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.
. . . AGRIBUSINESS dominates the agriculture committees of Congress, and has swatted away most efforts at reform. But what happens when the health insurance industry realizes that our system of farm subsidies makes junk food cheap, and fresh produce dear, and thus contributes to obesity and Type 2 diabetes? It will promptly get involved in the fight over the farm bill — which is to say, the industry will begin buying seats on those agriculture committees and demanding that the next bill be written with the interests of the public health more firmly in mind.
Interesting point from an interesting guy–but then I am a Michael Pollan fan. He knows the food industry better than Michael Moore knows GM.
The point that’s being made and I sincerely hope you read the entire article (and forward it to friends) is that two government interests are at odds with one another. Agricultural subsidies support corn syrup, which is largely responsible for our national obesity and spiraling Type 2 diabetes rates. Meanwhile, government is trying (without much success or encouragement) to find ways to control healthcare costs.
One in three children born after 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes. The average lifetime care for that disease tops $400,000.00.
Anyone for a Big Mac and a Coke?