The news that the administration will extend Medicare coverage for certain ‘anti-obesity’ treatments is bad news for the budget (well, we are talking about the Bush administration), bad news for those of us who believe in personal responsibility, bad news for the food industry, and bad news for freedom. Why the last two? Well, by apportioning some of the costs of the so-called obesity crisis onto the taxpayer, the White House is paving the way for food mullahs to argue for ever more regulation of ‘junk food’, portion size and so on. The rationale for such intervention? Well, you heard it in the tobacco wars. If we all pay for obesity (just as we all supposedly paid for the costs of cigarette addiction), the government has some sort of right to tell people what to eat.
Trial lawyers will be thrilled. Perhaps some of them should take Health and Human Services secretary Thompson for a celebratory meal. Low fat, of course.