Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Has it Really Come to This?

I guess it's high time we realized we are all just wards of the government and we better think twice before we become a financial burden to it. It turns out that there's no reason to fight obesity, because dying young is a real money saver. I am not making this up.

"Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars. "It was a small surprise," said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, who led the study. "But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more."In a paper published online Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, Dutch researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers....Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on. The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000. The results counter the common perception that preventing obesity will save health systems worldwide millions of dollars."

Five observations:

(1) I swear this is not from the Onion.

(2) Wouldn't it be best to have fat smokers? Would that not stand a good chance of getting our cost to the government down below $300,000?

(3) Are there really no important benefits from living longer and healthier lives? Really?

(4) Isn't the logical end of this road an extremely repugnant one?? Once your health care costs the government over $250,000, you're done. You're soylent green.

(5) Crap like this makes me more convinced than ever that I do not want any sort of single payer government monopoly health care system.

So grab some Krispy Kreme and fire up a Camel, people. We don't want to be a burden on the gubmint when our tax-paying days are through!


Tim Worstall said...

You mean you didn't know this? Kip Viscusi's been saying it about smokers for years.

BTW, yes, of course there are benevfits to longer lives. This is solely a look at the effect on Govt finances. Those lost years of life tend to come after retirement.

Anonymous said...

It only lists the costs to the heath system.
Sure the cost of old ages benifits/pensions should also have been takeninto acoount.
Probably the best way to live is work hard and die at 65 (from a smoking or oesity related disease).
Maximum tax benifits en minimum cost to the health system

Thatcher's Child said...

Something here makes no sense. Are they saying that thin non smokers use the health service more than fat smokers?

That would seem to imply that fat smokers are healthier - or is it that whiney, thin non smokers are just more noticeable and can survive having 3 expensive heart attacks while pretending they are still 18?