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Big Food vs. Big Insurance – Exposing the Elephant in the room

Posted Sep 11 2009 12:00am

Great Op-ed piece by Michael Pollan in the New York Times. Thanks to Cristin Couzens for sharing this with me.  I agree so much with Michael and hope that we can make very positive change in this direction. Here are a couple highlights, but don’t forget to read the entire article .

TO listen to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, or to just about anyone else in the health care debate, you would think that the biggest problem with health care in America is the system itself perverse incentives, inefficiencies, unnecessary tests and procedures, lack of competition, and greed.

No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

fast foodhealthy food

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.”

The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care.

A patient with Type 2 diabetes incurs additional health care costs of more than $6,600 a year; over a lifetime, that can come to more than $400,000. Insurers will quickly figure out that every case of Type 2 diabetes they can prevent adds $400,000 to their bottom line. Suddenly, every can of soda or Happy Meal or chicken nugget on a school lunch menu will look like a threat to future profits. (of healthcare companies)

Watch the New York City ads against soft drinks here:

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