The bureaucrats are worried about your health. They don't think you're making good decisions about what to eat. So, to stop you from eating things that are bad for you, the Los Angeles city council has proposed legislation to forbid the opening of any new fast food restaurants in parts of the city that have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The ban would last for the next two years.
Incredible, right? The city government will dictate the kind of restaurants that may open? It sounds more like communist Russia than southern California, but this is what happens when the government pays the bill for our health care. They think that gives them the right to order us around -- in the name of taking charge of our health.
The neighborhoods where the Los Angeles bureaucrats propose to ban new restaurants are all in the "inner-city" of south Los Angeles. A higher percentage of the people in those neighborhoods live in poverty and that means more of them use government money (Medicaid) to pay for their health care. Government pays the medical bill.
And as the old adage goes: He who pays the piper calls the tune. I keep learning more about that as I prepare for my Friday "20/20" TV special on health care "Whose Body Is It Anyway? Sick in America."
If government pays for our health care, then government officials have a bigger stake in monitoring our health. It's another reason I'm wary of all the politicians today who demand more government fixes to our health care system.
Almost every one of the presidential contenders has a plan. The devil is in the details. The proposals are full of platitudes like "affordable and accessible health care" and "health care for all." Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says we need to get "serious about preventive health care" and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, says we need "Medicare for all." The Web site of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards says, "Edwards will offer individuals in Health Care Markets a choice of insurance plans including a public plan based on Medicare…" whatever that means. Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Ill., Web site laments the fact that "less than 4 cents of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and public health."
Nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates want the government to guarantee some form of "universal health care." Republican presidential candidates have been less aggressive, but Republican governors have already started experimenting. Mitt Romney instituted a universal health care plan when he was governor of Massachusetts and calls the idea of getting everyone in the country insured "an important priority." Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a universal health care plan for California.
That increasing government involvement in health care will invariably lead to government wanting to tell you how to be healthy. Already, the nanny state has banned trans fats in New York City. Now Los Angeles may ban new fast food restaurants?
Come on. Adults should be able to decide for themselves what we want to eat and where we want to eat it.
Give me a break.