It’s bad enough that I am considered “too fat” to get insurance, that no matter what healthy habits I choose the only way for me to currently qualify is to do something that research shows is very likely impossible. But lately there have been a series of decisions that seem to be attempting to take our healthcare out of our hands.
I wrote about the controversy around religion and contraception for iVillage last week. Now Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. has offered a “rights of conscience” amendment that would let any employer deny any part of your heath care coverage due to ‘ religious beliefs or moral convictions’. The language from the full amendment reads:
“Nothing in this title (or any amendment made by this title) shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services under this title (or any amendment made by this title) or to fulfill any other requirement under this title because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider.”
So I imagine it would be open season on STD screenings and treatment, treatment for HIV contracted by gay men, contraception for all women, and us fatties. Fat has become a moral issue in society – despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary we are blamed for everything from any disease we happen to get, to healthcare costs in general, to global warming. So what happens when the CEO decides that all fat people are sinful gluttons and that we don’t deserve any healthcare except stomach amputations?
I received a response to the story on Fox News Atlanta about the Billboard Project from a person who said that he is a pediatric RN. He asked: “Why should responsible citizens have to pay for the healthcare of those that refuse to take care of themselves????”
The thing is that “Personal Responsibility” does not mean that we are personally responsible for doing what other people think we should and it’s quite a slippery slope when we start to decide whose healthcare we should pay for. Should vegans only have to pay for the healthcare of other vegans? I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs – should I not have to pay for the healthcare costs of those who do? As a professional competitive dancer I train strength, stamina, flexibility, and dance 15 hours per week, should I not have to pay the healthcare costs of thin people who are sedentary? What about people who choose stressful jobs and don’t get enough sleep? What about people who choose to mountain climb, BASE jump, bungee jump, luge, or not look both ways before they cross the street? What about people who speed, or chose cars that have less safety features? Who deserves healthcare? The answer is that we do our best to give people access to the foods that they want to eat, safe movement options that they enjoy, and appropriate evidence-based healthcare, and then back off and respect people’s choices as we want our choices to be respected.
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