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February 05, 2008

Obesity And Smoking: Saving Healthcare Dollars

Mississippi lawmakers waste The People's time by introducing a bill merely to raise awareness of how fat Mississippians are.

Republican Rep. John Read of Gautier filed a bill asking that it be illegal for restaurants with more than five seats to serve people who are obese, the criteria for obesity being set by the state Department of Health. Restaurants that failed to abide by the new law would have their permits revoked.

The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports on its website that the bill has no chance to become law, as House Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Steve Holland declared the bill “dead on arrival at my desk.”

The underlying cause for this legislation is concern over the financial impact of unhealthy fat folk on Mississippi's 'free' healthcare system. Another cause is that some Republicans are actually douches that don't deserve to have an (R) after their name.
Let's move on.

It's a happy coincidence that this morning a Dutch study confirms what others have insisted for years. Smokers and obese people save healthcare dollars.

The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.

On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 years, and obese people lived about 80 years. Smokers and obese people tended to have more heart disease than the healthy people.

Cancer incidence, except for lung cancer, was the same in all three groups. Obese people had the most diabetes, and healthy people had the most strokes. Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on.

Recently some douche was on the local radio, insisting that the Extortion Big Tobacco money awarded to the State was not a windfall, but a reimbursement for healthcare costs already incurred (this distinction was intended to buttress his argument that more of the money should be used in the general fund instead of smoking-cessation programs, for which very little has been done).

Seem to remember that during the Extortion Big Tobacco lawsuit, the argument that smokers use fewer healthcare dollars because they die earlier was widely scoffed at.
Do I remember that correctly?


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posted by LauraW. at 11:59 AM

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