Michelle on Obamacare
by Reid Fitzsimons
Issue 219– January 16, 2013
Nobody of at least average intelligence, and absent self-delusion, can conclude that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is actually about health care or affordability, but rather it is a means to an end. That end, of course, is a radical redefinition of the relationship between the state and the people, specifically a one-sided intrusive relationship in which the government decrees and the people comply. As this cynical, pernicious, and morose piece of legislation unfolds in the coming years we will without a doubt be treated to absurdities, euphemisms, slogans, cajoling, endless acronyms, and subtle (to be followed by overt) coercion.
What follows is an imagined (at this point) health and nutrition Q&A column by Michelle Obama, which appears periodically in a Health and Human Services on-line and e-mailed magazine.
I am a male in my mid 50s and in good health. I am within my desired weight range, I exercise regularly, my blood sugar is normal as is my lipid/cholesterol profile, and my blood pressure is also normal. I have been a vegetarian for many years. The reason I am writing is to ask about salt intake- I know the government recommendations are that people use little or no added salt, but I have to admit I probably exceed the guidelines a little simply because many foods without some added salt are bland and salt makes eating much more enjoyable. I’ve heard of reviews of prior studies that concluded moderate amounts of added salt have no causal relationship to hypertension in people who are normotensive. What do you think about this?
Bill from Ohio
First, I want to congratulate you on what seems like a generally healthy lifestyle. Beyond that, however, you need to keep in mind that the official recommendations are made by highly educated government approved experts who are very concerned about your health. I am not familiar with any studies that call into question our guidelines, and one reason we make clear and easy to understand recommendations is to avoid confusion among average citizens, who generally don’t have the proper education or perspective to make their own determinations. We are working on proposals that will require any person or group that wants to perform independent studies first get approval from a government review panel so that the results of such studies can be properly interpreted by approved experts before being made available to the general public. When it comes to health the American people deserve to have consistent guidelines and not be presented with any confusion or conflicts. So overall I suggest you keep up with what you are doing but cut back on the salt! Thank you so much for writing.
I am an artist and my husband is a health and nutrition monitor at an elementary school. We are both in our late 20s and in exceptional health. We are fully versed in all of the guidelines established by the Citizens Healthy and Happy (CHaH) program and our compliance is in the top 5% as determined by our wellness assessment counselor at our mandatory annual wellness reviews. Personally we find guideline compliance not just an obligation, but an enjoyable lifestyle alternative. We are happy to earn the compliance motivation tax vouchers, but our commitment to nutrition and health compliance goes well beyond that- it is simply fun!
The reason I am writing is to make a suggestion that I have never seen in the guidelines. We have a friend who is a little overweight. In order to discourage herself from after dinner or late-night snacking, she began to floss her teeth as soon as she finished dinner, which kind of said to her “I am done with eating for the day!” Since she started this strategy she has lost several pounds and has less bleeding from her gums. I just thought I would share this idea with you to see if you think it might be worth sharing with others.
You are our hero!
Katrina from Oregon
I was so pleased to receive your letter that I shared it with Barak. We are both so happy to hear from people who not only take CHaH program compliance seriously but also have learned to appreciate that good health and nutrition should be both a daily and a lifelong pursuit. We are strong believers in the various motivational rewards programs but wish more people were like yourselves and sought compliance because it is simply the right (and patriotic!) thing to do. Essentially all recognized and accredited experts believe our programs, including the CHaH, will eventually make an unprecedented difference in the well-being of our citizens, so we are going to keep working hard to encourage participation and compliance.
In regards to your suggestion, I LOVE it!!! It not only might help with weight loss issues but our citizen’s oral health is something we haven’t yet taken seriously enough. I will definitely recommend it be included in the “Tips for Compliance” section of the website, the e-newsletter for happy and healthy citizens, and the 911 callback program. Thank you sooo much for sharing this idea with us, and also for the meaningful contribution you and your spouse are making to society!
I am a female in my mid-30s and no matter how I try to say it I am simply fat and have been fat my whole life. I have tried many, many times to loose weight but I am either unable to do so or I gain it right back. I was hopeful that all the new regulations, such as prohibiting buffet-style restaurants and limiting sugar contents, would have helped but they did not. I have undergone the allotted number of sanctioned weight reduction attempts but was not successful and now I have been placed in the palliative care group. I am depressed, frustrated, angry, and scared and don’t really understand what it means to be in the palliative care group. Please offer any advice you can to help me.
Susan from Oklahoma
I hear what you are feeling and can assure you that I care about you and that you are not alone. Although the palliative care group (PCG) offers reduced benefit levels it is neither a criticism nor a negative judgment of you. Those placed in the PCG should know they are doing their part to allow us to best allocate the available resources so that society as a whole can benefit.
First let me say that treatment of many illnesses are still available to you, and that many services continue to be completely free. These include contraception, sterilization, pregnancy option counseling, and pregnancy termination. I realize there has been some confusion but I want to make you understand that recent policy clarifications allow a person in an acceptable age range to return to a regular benefit level if they can overcome the condition that placed them in the PCG. Even though you did not succeed in the sanctioned weight loss efforts you can still return to a regular benefit level if you can somehow obtain your compliance weight on your own. Don’t forget there are many official support groups at the palliative care level and these can provide you with continuing motivation. If you show signs of success you can notify a return to compliance advisor and you might be placed on a conditional regular benefit level depending on what the local compliance committee recommends.
You didn’t mention your personal sexuality status but remember that by law LGBTG citizens can be placed in the PCG only if they age out, so you might consider discussing your orientation and gender identity status with a certified orientation exploration counselor.
I hope this helps keep you from being discouraged. You are important to us and we sincerely hope you continue your efforts to become a healthier person. It takes a lifetime commitment but you can harness the person you want to be and succeed! I know it- You Go Girl!
The Editors at the HHS Wellness For All e-magazine wish to thank our sophisticated and courageous First Lady for her wisdom, compassion, and tireless commitment to our well-being as she provides us with continuing health and nutrition advice.
Reid Fitzsimons blogs from Thompson, PA