September 4, 2007

How do you earn points on the government's Health Miles card and what can you buy with those points?

Yesterday, we were talking about John Edwards' proposal to require Americans to go to the doctor for preventive physical and mental health care. Today, I see this proposal for restructuring national health care in Britain:
In a bid to ease spiralling levels of obesity and other health concerns, a Tory panel said certain treatments should be denied to patients who refuse to co-operate with health professionals and live healthier lifestyles.

And those who do manage to improve their general health by losing weight and quitting smoking, for example, would receive "Health Miles" cards.

Points earned could then be used to pay for health-related products such as gym membership and fresh vegetables.
Oh, Lord. And these are the conservatives. Someone tell Edwards.

Health Miles, eh?

I'm picturing a whole weird future where we trade in government-granted points. Just tell me what you want me to do to get them and what I can buy with them. The parties could compete. One candidate says we should get points for having sex and writing blog posts and lets us spend them at ecologically correct resorts and restaurants that serve organic food. The other candidate is offering points for abstaining from sex and reading didactic books and lets us spend them on vitamins and memory foam beds. It will be endlessly engrossing, and after a while, you won't even be able to remember what you actually like or want anymore.


cRift said...

Carrot Conservatism?

rhhardin said...

I assume you could upgrade your life to first class, with enough health miles. That would work in Britain.

jane said...

Why stop at denying treatment to stubborn fatties when euthanasia would be more merciful? Their suffering of disease and social ill at ease would end, and the rest of us wouldn't have to be subject to such harsh aesthetics that hurt our eyes and mental well-being.

Eric said...

This sort of thing has been kicking around before in the UK. I've heard of proposals to charge fatties for treatment and so on.

I imagine that Edward's madatory doctor appointments would logically lead to something similar, like required participation in a government weightloss program of some sort.

Maybe ship people off to some sort of de-fatification camp.

Remember, it's for your own good!

AJ Lynch said...

Eat your egg salad Ann or no points for you.

SteveR said...
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SteveR said...

Remember how you felt when you graduated from high school? How would you feel if you had to go back to the seventh grade?

What do you think they are going to take away from us, "for our own good"?

jane said...

Evidently, it’s all enshrined in the Magna Carta:

"FIRST, We have granted to Secular Deity-Government, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, for Us and our Heirs for ever, that the Church of England shall be leftist or otherwise not concern us, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable, if they be multi-culti-secular in support of the UN, NGOs and Palestinian types. We have granted also, and given to all the Government-owned, high Tax and Beeb-fee paying “Freemen” of our Realm, for Us and our Heirs for ever, these Liberties underwritten of Government pre and proscribed Racial, Religious & Sexual Orientation Utterances and those also of extensive Health Mandates, to have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs for ever. Also, forthwith, We have decreed there be no guns or effective weaponry in the hands of their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs forevermore, as they may do Harm unto the State’s Criminal wards and misunderstood Peoples (and to Us, the overstepping, officious Officials of the people’s Government.)"

EnigmatiCore said...

Oh come now. Think of all the new markets that can be created. Hell, Al Gore can become a messiah in a whole new arena, and be touted as a paragon of fitness despite his girth because he has purchased a huge number of Twinkie Offsets.

Peter Palladas said...

I'm picturing a whole weird future...

Too late, too late! Saint Thomas More was ahead of you.

In his mocking 'Utopia' to be sick was to be a criminal; a culpable and punishable failing on the part of the individual to sacrifice himself for the common good.

You can picture the tariff:

Cold or 'flu - six months

Migraines - five to ten years

Cancer - you die.

Well actually mostly you still do, so maybe he had a point.

birdie bob said...

I wonder why I suddenly want to reread Walden Two?

SteveR said...
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Meade said...

SteveR said...
How would you feel if you had to go back to the seventh grade? What do you think they are going to take away from us, "for our own good"?

Movies with Annette Funicello in two-piece swimsuits and tight sweaters?
Governmental bastards!

Anyway, wouldn't a feebate system be more efficient: You - a stubbornly content sexaholic fatty who smokes - pay a feebate directly to me - a compliant carrot stick-munching nervously chaste anorexic.

Skip the John Edwards middleman. We'll keep it just between us.

Albeit a short life of long fee payments, yours will be teeming with liberty while you pursue whatever it is that makes you happy, you big incorrigible lug.

Meanwhile, I'll be free to live my tediously long pleasureless existence craving onion rings and cigars I can't have while owning a huge ass bank account. Too bad I'll be too weak to spend any of it.

Or... we could just cut the "officious Officials" out of We the People's health business altogether.

But how much mileage would there be in that?

jane said...

(You actually read it! :))

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You could earn points by taking your soma and participating in the 2 minute hate.

You could spend your points on bread and circuses

jane said...

The fun will be when a good citizen gets awarded points by the Health & Welfare Engineering Dept for eating organic iron-rich red meat once a week, and then has them taken away again by the Dept. of Enviro-Unctuosity.

reader_iam said...

Points earned could then be used to pay for health-related products such as gym membership and fresh vegetables.

Wouldn't you already be using those products if you'd meaningfully lost weight? How's that a reward? Sounds like that might work better for those who are too skinny--who, of course, should be forced to gain weight or deemed uncooperative.

Also, if certain beliefs and attitudes were to be proved to be linked to better health, would those who don't hold them be deemed uncooperative?

Finally, what about those genetic factors? If there are certain not-so-great elements in someone's family history and yet that person insists on reproducing anyway, what then? Do those with fab genes have a responsibility to raise the overall health potential of the overall gene pool by reproducing?

AJ Lynch said...

This trend is good in a way. The public will get fed up with all these government programs and just demand everyone get a check each month with which they can buy healthcare, or drugs or beer or lots and lots of fattening food. To each his own.

SteveR said...

Meade: Good point but I was thinking about some authority figure (assigned, not earned) telling me what to wear, when to go to the bathroom, what to eat/drink and what not to, what to say and not say, etc. Who needs more parents?

In my case it was Raquel Welch and yeah that part of 7th grade was fun.

Meade said...

(Of course I actually read it, Jane... along with "Dept. of Enviro-Unctuosity," you're cracking me up all over the place today - as much as the Althouse herself with her stream-of-consciousness post on the Bush book. Ace entertainment here at the blogspot, as usual.)

Tim said...

No surprise.

Just as socialized medicine in the entry point for nationalizing 16% (or more) of the nation's economy, so to will socialized medicine be the entry point for complete government control of our lives.

And just as it was "for the children," it will be "for you."

Except, of course, it will be "to you," as in "done to..."

People stupid enough to vote for this transparent crap deserve to lose the liberties they most surely will - all for "health security."

It almost makes me want to smoke and get fat, just to piss the bastards off.

jane said...

Oh, thanks so much, Meade, but I wasn't the one who came up with forbidden Funicello movies and Feebate :)

For a life teeming with liberty, steak, cake, drink and wanton activity, how much in offset personal pollution bribes are you asking, and have Als Gore, Sharpton and Qaeda already contacted you to arrange payment?

Erebus said...

As a fifty-two year old who smokes and drinks excessively, I have neither expectation nor desire to ever see a return on the hundred thousand plus dollars the government has stolen from me over the years toward Social Security and its other mandatory risk-pooling schemes. Therefore I would be happy to forego all government health services if in turn the government will return everything it has forced me to contribute. Seems like a fair exchange, which would no doubt make it objectionable to both the government and the socialists who increasingly shape its nature.

From Inwood said...


Magna Carta. How funny & clever.

But you forgot the part about "Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness." How do I know that that phrase is there? The NYT told me so!

And your modest proposal of euthanasia for fatties is Swiftian!

Mark Regan said...

"It will be endlessly engrossing, and after a while, you won't even be able to remember what you actually like or want anymore."

Isn't that exactly what Borges imagined in "The Lottery in Babylon"?

Zach said...

Gives a new meaning to the term "loyalty card," doesn't it?