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POLICY: Millenson, not too impressed by Hucakbee’s diet mania

He may be out of the White House race by next Tuesday night, but Michael Millenson is interested but not convinced about the values of Gov Mike Huckabee as he promotes self-relicance in health care. Michael is writing at the Health Affairs blog

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Steve Beller, PhDStephanieRCClaudiaPeter Recent comment authors
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Steve Beller, PhD
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I doubt anyone would argue against personal responsibility and self-maintained wellness, but motivating consumers to live healthy lifestyles is a complex matter involving many psychological and cultural factors, which explain why more “skin in the game” is no solution. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has decided to curtail the ability of employers to motivate workers to kick unhealthy habits by making health insurance more expensive for unhealthy workers than for their colleagues, as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article–Wellness Programs May Face Legal Tests: Plans That Penalize Unhealthy Workers Could Get Tighter Rules. At this link,… Read more »

RC
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RC

Claudia – I think there is agreement on the fact that the “system” is incredibly broken. What I know I react to is the idea that people don’t play a role in their own health and therefore the expenses they will incur in the health system. No it’s not 1:1, but the fact that in a government funded health program you are asking me to fund the care of those around me, I would like to see some recognition that some health expenses are driven by personal behavior. Yes joggers have heart attacks, but I am sure that the number… Read more »

Claudia
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Claudia

Of course broccoli and jogging are good, all else equal. But in American health care, all else is not equal. The financial structure of the system is broken, and no amount of broccoli will fix it. Insisting on it is wishful thinking and would force one to make the argument that the rest of the developed world, whose health systems work much better than ours, as virtually every single indicator shows, eats an awful amount of broccoli. When the UK, or Canada, or even Otto Von Bismark in Germany in the late 1800s, decided that social insurance was the best… Read more »

Stephanie
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Why is “eat your broccoli and jog” nonsense? If you choose to eat junk and cause yourself chronic health problems, don’t expect others to pay for your meds.

RC
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RC

Right. People can’t help it if they eat too much unhealthy food, exercise too little, smoke, drink to excess. It’s just too much to expect for people to take responsibility for their own actions, and addiction itself is a disease that is out of an individuals control. And of course those things aren’t really related to health anyway. Next thing you know you’ll be saying second hand smoke is dangerous! I’m not saying we don’t need compassion and I’m not suggesting we don’t need to pursue some kind of strategies that get more people the healthcare they need, but we… Read more »

Claudia
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Claudia

Congrat! This is the best reply to the Huckabee “eat-your-broccoli-and-jog” nonsense as the key strategy to resolve the American health care mess I have read in the last few years! Every single presidential candidate should read it! I’m afraid virtually all of them (exception, Kucinich) share the same mindless assumptions…

Peter
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Peter

“Woolf then goes on to highlight the harmful health consequences of increasing poverty rates, decreasing household incomes and widening income inequality. This uncomfortable topic goes unmentioned not only by Huckabee, but by all the Republican candidates, who are too busy heralding the power of the “consumer” to notice what happens when the consumer has no power at all. The evidence suggests strongly that economic disparities explain why Arkansas ranked forty-eighth of fifty states in the number of premature deaths (before age 75) that could have been avoided, avoidable hospital use and similar quality measures. And what about the health impact… Read more »