A fortnight ago, I wrote about Mississippi Legislature House Bill 282 that would have imposed fines or revoked licenses of food establishments that served obese people. Fortunately, the measure died in committee. State Rep. Ted Mayhall, one of the bill’s sponsors, justified it by saying that he wanted to bring attention to the fact that “Obesity makes people more susceptible to diabetes, which puts a further strain on the state’s financially-challenged Medicaid program.”
What other issues can put additional financial strain on state budgets? I can name quit a few, and Williams provides us with good food for thought.
The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another. There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another.
There are many other behaviors that lead to a greater health care burden, but my question is how much control over your life you are willing to give government in the name of reducing these costs? Would you want government to regulate how much salt you use? What about government deciding how much fat and alcohol you consume? There are immense beneficial health effects of a daily 30-minute aerobic exercise. Would you support government-mandated exercise?
Where should it stop?