Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fat In Japan? You're Breaking The Law

In the November 10, 2009 Global Post, David Nakamura describes the Japanese anti-obesity laws in his article, "Fat In Japan? You're Breaking The Law".

Here's an excerpt:
...Under Japan's health care coverage, companies administer check-ups to employees once a year. Those who fail to meet the waistline requirement must undergo counseling. If companies do not reduce the number of overweight employees by 10 percent by 2012 and 25 percent by 2015, they could be required to pay more money into a health care program for the elderly. An estimated 56 million Japanese will have their waists measured this year.

...Health care costs here are projected to double by 2020 and represent 11.5 percent of gross domestic product. That’s why some health experts support the metabo law.
(Read the full text of "Fat In Japan? You're Breaking The Law".)

Such nanny-state regulations are already present to a lesser degree in the United States. If we adopt some form of "universal health care", we can expect to see them explode in scope and number.

As I described in my January 7, 2009 Christian Science Monitor piece, "Universal Healthcare and the Waistline Police":
...Government attempts to regulate individual lifestyles are based on the claim that they must limit medical costs that would otherwise be a burden on "society." But this issue can arise only in "universal healthcare" systems where taxpayers must pay for everyone's medical expenses.

[Specific US nanny-state health regulation examples omitted...]

Just as universal healthcare will further fuel the nanny state, the nanny state mind-set helps fuel the drive toward universal healthcare. Individuals aren't regarded as competent to decide how to manage their lives and their health. So the government provides "cradle to grave" coverage of their healthcare.

Nanny state regulations and universal healthcare thus feed a vicious cycle of increasing government control over individuals. Both undermine individual responsibility and habituate citizens to ever-worsening erosions of their individual rights. Both promote dependence on government. Both undermine the virtues of independence and rationality. Both jeopardize the very foundations of a free society.
The US will soon have to decide whether we will base our health care policy on the principle of individual rights or a collectivist model, as in Japan.

For our sakes, I hope we won't be "turning Japanese".