I like to be a trusting individual. I like to think that people who run for public office generally have the best interest of the country in mind. I know that there is corruption out there. I know that big business is way more involved in politics than I would like. I know that special interest groups are not necessarily interested in me. While I know all that, I am still a trusting individual who likes to think that the world is not out to get me.
So I was watching the Daily Show with John Stewart today (actually it was from last week, but whatever) and there was a story that devastated me. I really wish there hadn’t been as much profanity as there was, but it is what it is.
Anyway, there was a report on a bill that was brought before the house that would reduce the health insurance premiums of people with less risk for disease or those who made progress in reducing risk of disease. Specifically, individuals with a low BMI, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, Hemoglobin A1C, and fasting glucose levels would be rewarded for practicing good health habits by having up to a 20% reduction in premiums. Likewise, people who saw reductions in those categories would see reductions in their health insurance premiums.
According to the Daily Show, this bill had some bipartisan support because the Republicans liked that it would decrease medicaid and medicare bills without increasing taxes and the Democrats liked it because it was a social health issue. Unfortunately, it did not ever become a law because of objections of lobbying groups. This is where this story got all crazy. I was sure that the health insurance companies would fight it or maybe even large food companies that made foods that contributed to adverse health.
In fact, there were no reports of lobbying from those groups. The lobbying groups that brought the bill down were from the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and the American Cancer Society.
I like to trust people, and the reason that these organizations gave for lobbying against this bill that would promote health was because they were afraid it would become a means of discrimination. Some people are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity and it is not fair that they would be unable to have the reduction in rates, and it provided a means of discrimination toward these people. Evidently these groups are less concerned about discriminating against the healthy folks and making them pay for the poor health of those making poor choices. In any case, I don’t feel that the argument that these organizations gave makes much sense.
I hope to be corrected, but it seems to me that the Heart, Diabetes and Cancer organizations don’t want to prevent people from being sick because it would put them out of business. I have heard this argument before, but I attributed it to conspiracy theorists who were not really connected with all of the facts. The research I have done online has only confirmed what was reported. As someone who works really hard to promote health, I feel violated by these big organizations that proclaim to want health. We need to do something to get money out of politics.