Last summer, at a Fourth of July picnic, a 75 year old great-grandmother, told by her doctor not to eat a hot dog because of its high sodium content, said, “I’m going to have a hot dog. If I’m dead in the morning, I’ll never know.”
Other random health care notes…
1. A recent study concluded that Medicare costs are skyrocketing because of outpatient treatment of obesity related diseases.
2. A typical person in NY state drinks 46 gallons of sugary drinks annually which contain a total of forty pounds of sugar. Sixty percent of adults and twenty-five percent of children in NY state are obese or overweight.
3. Starting next September, NY State might levy a tax on sugary drinks.
4. Pondering national health legislation and perhaps universal coverage, six Congressmen were pictured eating chippers, aka “North Dakota Diet Food” (chocolate-covered potato chips).
All of this takes me to a dilemma. If government pays for our health care, should it have the right to tell us what to eat?
The Economic Life
Whenever a nation answers the three basic economic questions–what to produce, how to produce, and who gets income–it is deciding the role for government. We could imagine a continuum with the free market at one end and a command economy on the other side. Adding government programs pushes that country closer to the command/government end. Many economies have a mixture of a free market and government.