David Stipp thinks that my fat ass is what is driving the increase in healthcare costs. But he’s wrong – it’s my old ass that’s doing it.
It is clear that Mr. Stipp doesn’t like fat people – to the point where he doesn’t even see the irony in his own article. In one paragraph he tells us that more than a third of the US population is “obese”. In the very next paragraph he tells us that the CDC attributes $147 billion in US medical costs to obesity – and he tells us, that’s 9% of all medical healthcare costs.
So wait. We comprise 30%+ of the population, but only 9% of all medical healthcare costs are attributable to our “condition”. Fuck, yeah. We must be a pretty healthy bunch. So much for the ideas that if you’re fat you must be unhealthy and that fat is a disease that must be treated.
Mr. Stipp is all in favor of “healthy” (i.e., thin) people living long lives, but he seems to feel keeping the old fatty alive is just a waste of money and resources. After all, what kind of quality of life could we have? Never mind that his ideas for living longer include long term dieting and use of diabetes drugs by non-diabetics.
Well first of all, if you aren’t meant to be thin, we pretty much know how dieting ends up. And second of all, I consider the pleasure of eating as part of my quality of life. I also would not be happy with a life that entails a disordered relationship with food, where I count every calorie and weight each morsel, etc. No thank you. Not my idea of a good time – especially not if it’s a life sentence.
Again, we all die, sooner or later. Longevity (much like fatness) appears to be tied more to genetics, environment, and socio-economic status.
Mr. Stipp says the proof of what he is saying can be found in a 2003 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
What Mr.Stippfails to say is that a 2010 CDC study (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr024.pdf) refutes what he is saying. The CDC report shows that older men and women have, on average, the same number of hospital admissions and doctor visits regardless of size.
In trying to find the study to which Mr. Stipp refers, I went to the NEJM website, and searched through the 2003 issues for the term, “medicare”. I got dozens and dozens of results – articles, book reviews, editorials, and correspondence. So then I searched for “medicare”, “obesity”, and “age” and I think I found the study to which Mr. Stipp refers – Health, Life Expectancy, and Health Care Spending Among the Elderly.
Only the Abstract is available for free – but this is the conclusion for the study:
“The expected cumulative health expenditures for healthier elderly persons, despite their greater longevity, were similar to those for less healthy persons. Health-promotion efforts aimed at persons under 65 years of age may improve the health and longevity of the elderly without increasing health expenditures.”
Looks to me, live long and healthy or live short and unhealthy – the healthcare costs balance each other out. Am I missing something here?
No wonderMr.Stipp did not include the cite for the study, since its conclusion does not prove what he is saying at all.
And once again, this is why we need to be informed fatties, and not take for granted what we are told by the fat-haters.