As our nation stands poised to usher in some sort of health care reform thingy, I can’t help but be reminded of some simple facts:
- Better health care makes people live longer.
- People living longer makes the Earth more crowded.
- The Earth more crowded means even longer lines at the DMV.
So it could be argued that providing health care to people who don’t have it is detrimental to people who do have it. Having grown up on a healthy diet of dystopian sci-fi movies, I was quite looking forward to this problem solving itself, but I guess the unwashed, unhealthy masses have spoken. Fine, poor people, have your fancy doctors and your prescription medications. See if I care.
Okay, so I did care until I found an article from last year that made me change my way of thinking. Apparently those who have lifestyle-inflicted health problems are less taxing on our health care system. Specifically, the article talks about how smokers and those with high-end weight issues (that’s what we’re supposed to call the fatties now, right?) end up costing less money to provide medical care for over the course of their lives versus healthy Joe Lives-to-90. The reason: smokers and the obese die younger and quicker of things like heart attacks and choking on a Big Mac, while the healthy people who stick around longer usually go out slowly due to more costly diseases.
So when your workplace tells you that your health care costs are going up because of people who can’t lay off the cancer sticks and Krispy Kremes, you can let them know that those who choose to indulge in more reckless dietary and, uh, smoketary habits are actually saving you and your company big bucks. And then they roll up those big bucks and try to smoke them or eat them because they’re fatty fat smokeheads.