Obese Southern States Drive Drug Costs

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

In the politically correct egalitarian world of “health care for everyone” very little attention is paid to the concept of personal responsibility, much less how any such plan would actually be paid for. 

If you take care of yourself should you be obligated to pay for those who intentionally do not?  This is concerning to many who do take care of themselves, and are also more likely to earn more money, and thus would end up paying a disproportionate share of taxes for any national healthcare that is devised.

I certainly believe a wealthy society can afford a safety net for serious health issues beyond anyone’s personal control (of which there are many), and such a safety net should cover all members in the society. 

However, we have a situation where Big Pharma has gone wild promoting expensive drugs for prevention that do not improve quality of life or longevity – the drugs mostly improve numbers on paper.  To make matters worse, a new report shows very clearly that the populations of various states are big users of these drugs compared to other states. 

It should not come as a surprise that the states who are the biggest users of Big Pharma pills1 have the poorest diets and poorest health habits – and have been leading the nation in poor health for decades.  There is a large difference between compassionate care for those in need and dragging an entire society down to its lowest common denominator.  The ten biggest drug-using states on a per capita basis are:  West Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Iowa.

The lion’s share of such drug costs now center around the subject of obesity and its long-term consequences (diabetes and heart disease) – problems that are self-inflicted to a large extent.  Individuals choose not to be active and to eat poorly. 

It is my opinion that a national health care system, or even our existing Medicare or Medicaid programs, should not pay for these kinds of drugs for longer than a period of one year if the person has a waistline that is more than ½ their height.  Doctors must be held accountable that their treatments actually resolve a problem so the treatment isn’t needed anymore.  Endless drug use as the “treatment” is a joke.

Only exercise, eating well, and getting adequate sleep will enable most people to stay in this positive measurement range as they grow older.  Those who have not taken good care of themselves should be given a chance through public service programs that facilitate a healthy lifestyle.  Taxpayers should not be burdened with drug-related costs based on years of low personal responsibility that sets the stage for poor health – especially when those drugs cannot actually improve quality of health or longevity – and a healthy lifestyle does.


Referenced Studies:

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