As the United States debates the Affordable Care Act, more and more talk is bandied about medical costs. You can’t follow a news site without being hit in the face with stories of headless fat people and how much they cost.
Oh, the stories never come right out and say “your fatty grossness is costing me money and i hate you and think you are gross” but the commenters will. So you know that thought is out there, even though the articles themselves are politely worded.
There’s a lot I don’t understand about this type of story-telling. Why aren’t there pictures of headless men and stories about how being a man is so much more medically costly because men die earlier and tend to have more stress-related health problems. Half the population is male. Think of how much we could save on health care costs if they would stop with their bad manness.
Even more than that, what I don’t understand is why all these stories act like the money spent on healthcare costs is being taken out to a big field in the middle of Kansas and set on fire.
The articles will say something like “Jumping frog fungus costs $117 million annually in health care costs.” Their point is that if we killed all the jumping frogs and showered in Selsun we wouldn’t spend that $117 million and it would still be there. But the thing is…that money doesn’t get burned in a field. It gets put in paychecks for doctors, nurses, receptionists, bookkeepers, customer service reps at insurance companies, custodians, construction workers who build medical buildings, electricians who wire them, people who work in the factories that manufacture the film used for x-rays, etc.
The money is spent on giving people jobs. Those people use that money to buy things. That gives other people jobs. Etc.
As a person who is sickly, I’m very sensitive to the idea that I am a waste or a drain on the economy. I’m not. I’m just an alternate revenue stream with sore joints.