the cost of free healthcare
If you were mayor, with a declining tax base, a deteriorating economic environment, and a really large healthcare bill that — with a small reduction in sugar consumption — could be easily reduced, how would you do it?
Maybe I can put this in simpler terms. You have a house and you pay the electric and energy bills. And you have young kids and teenagers. Your kids leave the light on when they leave the house. Your kids put two plates in the dishwasher and then press start. Your kids leave the door open while the air conditioner runs on high.
You’re making less money than you used to. How do you get those bills lowered?
I bet, like most people, you start out by trying to modify your kids behavior. And you start by reminding them. Depending upon your parenting style, reminders may take many forms… signs on doors and light switches, lots of verbal reminders, family meetings. Etc.
Then you begin enacting consequences. Restrictions on watching TV or playing video games. Less time on the computer or phone. And there is usually some compliance, and, kids being kids, usually not nearly enough. So you graduate to the next level of consequences: maybe light physical punishment, docks in allowances (assuming you can give allowances), or invitations to go live with other family members.
You keep increasing the consequences until you get the desired modification in behavior.
New York began with reminders and incentives. They made restaurants post calorie counts. They created disgusting ad campaigns. They also encouraged New Yorkers to adopt healthy, active lifestyles. Now, they’re instituting a ban on large sugary drinks.
New York has a few health insurance programs. And I bet that when New York crunched the numbers and realized how much they were laying out to pay for healthcare issues directly related to sugar consumption, they said to themselves, how do we lower this bill?
I know people who love the idea of government providing free healthcare. And a lot of them are the same ones who are unhappy with New York’s war on sugar. I keep thinking that if people aren’t crazy with the war so far, they’re really going to be really upset with what comes next. (Remember cigarettes?) What comes next? Well, what do you do in your house when you need a lower electricity bill and the kids aren’t cooperating? Is there a point where you give up and allow your kids to run up your bills? Or do you keep escalating consequences until that bill goes down? And if this is New York’s response to its healthcare bill, what is the response of the federal government going to be when Obama gets that ObamaCare bill in the mail?
Part of me thinks that people just don’t see the connection, so they freely complain about Bloomberg’s policies. But I suspect that people do completely get it and have already connected the dots, but are so scared of the idea of being responsible that they’d rather pay ungodly sums for their healthcare in hidden costs.