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Big Food vs. Big Insurance
Once again, Michael Pollan leads the way in this incisive and illuminating short essay that clearly demonstrates how America's current health care crisis is really an outgrowth of our long-standing food and eating crisis.
"The American way of eating has become the elephant in the room in the debate over health care," he writes.
Pollan predicts that with the passage of even a modest health care reform bill, the insurance industry will have to align itself against the gigantic food industry that produces food that promotes obesity, diabetes, coronary disease and many cancers. This may change the food industry and agribusiness more than anything you and I could do.
An excerpt from the 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.
That's why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat "preventable chronic diseases." Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there's smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.