No Healthcare for Fatties?

I am angrier than I have been in a very long time.  I have had enough. We have officially crossed a line. Several readers sent me this article [trigger warning:  I'm still depressed more than 24 hours after reading it.  It's horrible].  In it 54% of doctors in the UK who took part in a survey said that “the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking.”

My life is not worth less than a thin person’s life. My health is not less important than a thin person’s health.  I do not need to do anything to “deserve” the same healthcare that people with a lower BMI receive.

First the good news:  54% represents 593 of the 1,096 doctors who self-selected to take the survey.  To be clear – that’s in no way a representative sample – according to some reports it represents .2% of doctors.  The Royal College of Physicians, which represents hospital doctors, said “Lifestyle rationing is creeping into the NHS. There are reported examples where treatments have been restricted by PCTs and we wouldn’t agree with that.”  They are calling it “lifestyle rationing.”  So that’s the good news, here comes the rant.

I think that smoking and obesity are not comparable, but I don’t believe in denying healthcare to smokers, still I’ll keep this discussion to obesity since that’s where my expertise lies.  Before I even get into a civil rights discussion, let’s talk about the practical considerations:

First, what is included in the “non-emergency” procedures?  Were I a fat woman in the UK, what should I expect to be denied treatment for?  Strep throat?  Sprained ankle?  Chronic back pain?  Acute back pain? Do I get a pap smear, mammogram or basic blood work? Or do they do the test but refuse to treat any non-emergency issues that the blood work uncovers?

Second – knowing that weight loss fails 95% of the time I am stuck with some really bad choices?  Do I try to crash diet to get treatment and hope that the treatment works before I gain all my weight back?  Studies show that exercise makes me healthier but rarely leads to weight loss.  However, it also leads to injuries – should I stop dancing, doing pilates, lifting weights etc. to avoid getting an injury for which I will be denied treatment?

Finally, we already know that non-emergencies left untreated can become emergencies.  Painful, expensive, unnecessary, deadly emergencies.  How many fat people won’t bother going in to the doctor at all until it’s too late? Why are people comfortable with me dying because of the way that I look? Using BMI as a measurement also means that very tall and very muscular people will be denied care.

Not for nothing, but in the UK the obese people and the smokers pay the same amount into the system as thin people and non-smokers.  So these 54% of doctors are asking people to pay into a system that will then deny them care.

Let’s look at the claims for why this is a “good idea”:

Operating on a very fat person is more dangerous. Anaesthetically it’s harder, the surgery is harder and the rehabilitation takes longer.

Operating on babies is harder.  Operating on the elderly is harder.  Operating on people with certain pre-existing conditions is harder.  If they find out that a specific ethnic group has worse surgery outcomes will they start denying them surgeries?  Does it mean that if enough doctors have a prejudice that the medical establishment will indulge it?  The job of surgeons is not to cherry pick the easy surgeries. It sounds like there is a need to do more work to develop protocols for performing surgery on fat people.  I also happen to know that they don’t use fat corpses in medical schools because it’s too difficult to deal with the weight.  I say deal with it, figure it out – doctors deserve an education that prepares them for the real world, not an education that makes them prejudiced against their future patients.

It’s their own fault that they are fat so they don’t deserve healthcare.

Leaving aside the fact that weight has been suggested to be as heritable as height, and that there are many reasons that people become fat (including some of the non-emergency health problems that we’re planning NOT to treat fat people for), since when do we decide if people deserve healthcare based on whether their issue is their own fault?  I have a friend who has one leg. His other was amputated after he got on his motorcycle drunk and got into an accident.  He receives both excellent medical care and disability payments, even though he injuries are, by his own admission, entirely his fault and the result of his “stupidity”. If we didn’t treat people whose medical problems were their own fault that would really change the face of medicine and not in a good way.  What about thin people who get so-called “fat people” diseases like heart disease or diabetes?  Do we assume that these diseases are the patients fault if the patient is fat but something else’s fault if the patient is thin?

And these doctors, who want to deny me medical care because of statistics – they don’t have a single piece of research to suggest that the weight loss they are demanding of me is possible in the long term.  So they are asking me to engage in the medically dangerous practices of crash dieting and weight cycling.  They are asking me to put my health in danger in order to “deserve” medical care and if my dangerous crash dieting and weight cycling doesn’t work and leads to medical problems THEY WON’T TREAT ME FOR THEM!!!!  What the actual fuck people?

I will say it again: My life is not worth less than a thin person’s life. My health is not less important than a thin person’s health.  I do not need to do anything to “deserve” the same healthcare that people with a lower BMI receive.  Rather than trying to figure out how to get us the hell out of their offices and operating rooms, I think that doctors should be LIVID that they don’t have the proper tools and education to care for their patients of size. I do not believe that healthcare is just for the rich and the thin.  I think that we need the smartest minds in the world working to figure out how to provide good healthcare to everyone, I believe it’s possible if we will apply ourselves as people against a problem rather than doctors against fat people.

I believe that change will happen in my lifetime when it comes to civil rights for people of size.  I am also aware that it may get worse before it gets better.  There will be bad days, after reading this article, yesterday was a bad day for me.  I was on the way home thinking about this article and a song came on the radio that made me feel better so, being an unrepentant Inspiration Junkie, I’ll leave it here in case it helps someone else:

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I do HAES and SA activism, speaking and writing full time, and I don’t believe in putting corporate ads on my blog and making my readers a commodity. So if you find value in my work, want to support it, and you can afford it, please consider a paid subscription (it works like a fan club where you get extras, discounts on stuff, free subscriber meet-ups etc.) or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free. If you’re curious about this policy, you might want to check out this post.  Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on April 30, 2012 at 6:44 am  Comments (34)  

34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Welcome to my world (I live in the UK.) It already DOES happen. Non emergency treatments/operations include things such as knee and hip replacements, gallstones (I knew someone who was told she had to lose something like 50 lbs before she could have her very painful, diagnosed gallstones removed) and *of course* ANY kind of fertility treatmet. The worse thing about it is that even though not all doctors feel that way, it is very difficult/impossible to shop around for one that is not fat-phobic. The reason for this is that here, GPs (general practitioners) are your first port of call for *anything* and they operate in practises. So ok, if you don’t like yours, you can register at a different practise. But once they diagnose a specialised problem (or suspect it) all GPs can do in most cases is refer you to the relevant specialist consultant -and you don’t really get to pick those. You don’t even necessarily get to see your named one. (I am going through a high risk pregnancy at the moment and have had 6 different appointments with 5 different consultans. I have seen my named consultant only once.) You could ask for a second opinion, but after that I don’t know what else there is to do. Plus even the consultants have to operate within national guidelines so they can only veer off so much, no mater how well you argue your case to them.

    Oh but you can get gastric band surgery on the NHS (if you don’t mind the waiting lists.)

    • Wait, doesn’t crash dieting tend to be RELATED to gallstones. Aren’t people with gallstones cautioned about this? Holy circular reasoning Batman!

  2. At least the UK boards this morning are full of people demanding their taxpayer money back if they won’t get treated. The response has generally been outrage rather than agreement.

    I’ve thought this for a while, but now I’m certain that what’s happening isn’t about fat or healthcare or any of those things. It seems to me that fat people are being vilified as a result of social distress. Fat people are a completely illogical target. If you wanted to target a group of Britons who really suck up health care with their self inflicted wounds, you’d pick on drunks – Britain’s binge drinking culture is the worst in Europe, if not the Western world. In previous times, hard times led to attacks on migrants, or unmarried mothers etc – pick your ‘undeserving’ poor – but now the target is fat people.

    The UK has just gone into a double dip recession and the economy is the worst it’s been since the Great Depression. For some reason, the target du jour is fat people.The real question is why the stressed public isn’t directing their anger at the real culprits – the thin and rich people who created this economic nightmare in the first place.

    • You posted while I was typing my comment up… but in answer to why people don’t blame the real culprits.
      If I answer completely you will get the impression I sit here wearing my aluminium cap. However a very large percentage of global mass media is owned by a very small group of rich people. The majority of what most people read and digest as news is filtered through their interests.
      Of course the advent of the internet is making a difference. It is a largely unfiltered medium. Self publishing is possible. Dissenting voices can make themselves heard.
      I’m going to stop typing now though… not only will I bore, but they will come and get me if I say too much ;-)

      • i atteneded one of the top 2 journalism schools in the country. the first day of Journalism 101, the very first lecture they told us “get it out of your head you are here to tell the truth. You are here to sell papers. period. You cover what your editors tell you to cover, in they way they tell you to cover them. Truth doesn’t sell, sensationalism mixed with just enough professionalism to be believable does.” Coming from the dean of the journalism school at the MU school of journalism.

  3. In terms of treatment for non-emergency conditions, I am in the process of being seen about (maybe, possibly arthritic) pain in my ankle, knee, hand and wrist joints. Of course the first time I saw a doc about it I was brushed off, told it was because of my weight. When I pointed out that as yet, I haven’t taken up walking on my hands… still nothing.
    The second time, after moving house, and changing doctor, I didn’t tell them about the pain in my knees and ankles, just my hands. That time I got bloods taken, and a referral to the specialist at the hospital.

  4. It really bothers me that people who are supposed to be medical professionals (!) cannot understand that refusing care to someone – no matter how “non-emergency” it is – is reprehensible. Not to mention dangerous considering how quickly a non emergency can become an emergency if left untreated. Example: A UTI is generally not an emergency. An untreated UTI can very quickly lead to a potentially life threatening kidney infection. Why should a fat person have to wait until their internal organs are about to give up on them before they will be treated?

    Also, just because something isn’t an emergency doesn’t mean that it isn’t physically uncomfortable or that it couldn’t impact quality of life if left untreated. Back pain or the flu might not be emergencies – but why should a fat person be expected to just live with the pain, or struggle with the flu for days or weeks longer than necessary, when a thin person would be treated without question for both of those things?

    Why should a fat person have to “shop around” for a good GP when a thin person can usually walk in to any clinic anywhere and get a decent level of care?

    This makes me so angry.

  5. As someone who’s living in the UK, I am really, really hoping that isn’t a representative sample.

  6. Firstly, I don’t believe in restricting treatment for any group. Let’s be clear on that point.

    But in the UK we have a “free” health service. There is no medical insurance in the UK. Get knocked over by a car and the ambulance whips you off to hospital and you get immediate treatment. Everyone gets treatment for nothing other than the taxes they pay. And those who don’t pay taxes get the same treatment too.

    The problem is that there is no longer enough money to pay for all the treatment. Less people work, so less tax, the country is in recession so less government money, the population are living longer and so need more treatment. It’s actually an impossible conundrum. There isn’t enough money to pay for the services they feel we will all need in the future.

    Where they apply the chop is more or less irrelevant. The fact that they have picked on fatties doesn’t surprise me because they really fear the health implications of the fat and unfit based on what they have already seen in the USA. We are following hard on your heals size-wise, but your system can charge for the services it gives and that makes a big difference to what you can offer. Here we have to choose whether someone with cancer gets the drugs and operations they need or whether an obese person gets a new knee.

    As I said, I don’t agree with it, but I see it as a really difficult issue. They won’t be denying treatment for strep throat. What they mean is joint replacements, back issues and other weight generated issues that are not life threatening. As someone who has been nagged to death about my weight over the years (I’m 5’10″ so my BMI is skewed anyway) I know how horrible that is. I also think that if they stopped stuffing statins down everyone’s throat (which cost a huge amount of money to the NHS) they would have a lot more money to play with. But I can see why this has to happen. The choice of group is disappointing, but that’s all.

    • I see this more as a kick-the-cat syndrome than a rational discussion about the allocation of medical resources. There are two reasons for spiralling health costs, and they’re affecting all Western medical systems, the US included: an ageing population and the increased use of high technology interventions. Deciding on a whim to refuse treatment to any group is guaranteed to raise health costs, because it doesn’t attack the central problem (see above) and it lets small medical problems turn into expensive emergencies.

    • Hi Sue,

      Thanks for the comment. I understand how healthcare in the UK works, but the idea that there isn’t enough (or won’t be enough) money to go around justifies singling out a specific group to receive less healthcare is erroneous. There should be no choice in group – if there isn’t enough money then the government is obligated to come up with a solution that applies equally, not to simply exploit a prejudice against a group in order to have them pay in the same amount as everyone else but get less care.

      The idea that fat people caused a huge increase in medical costs in the US is a myth that is purported by the media but not backed by evidence. I broke it down in this post (with a striking graph)

      http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/obesity-and-health-care-costs/

      The problem in the US is that our healthcare is competitive and so even though each city might only need one REALLY BIG MACHINE, every hospital and some specialty practices in the city buys one because they don’t want to send someone to another hospital and lose the business. Then, in order to pay for the REALLY BIG MACHINE, they put as many people on it as possible to pay for the machine through insurance billing. Additionally many people come to the doctor more sick than they have to be because they aren’t able to afford preventative care and so instead they wait until they are quite sick – sometimes waiting until it is an emergency since our emergency rooms cannot deny treatment.

      I don’t know what the real situation is for the healthcare system in the UK because all I have is what is being reported in the news which I no longer trust, but I do know that refusing treatment to a group based on how they look is not the answer to any healthcare or money problem. It’s not just disappointing, it’s bigotry.

      ~Ragen

  7. Thanks for writing this. Recently 200,000 GPs signed up to a “war on obesity” program with the sole aim of stigmatising, bullying and eradicating the UK’s fat population (which I am a part of). So sadly while the answers of that survey are small, their attitudes are very widespread. And as Anna said above, fat people have been denied treatment for years, especially fertility treatment (you’re also not allowed to adopt a child if your BMI is “overweight” or above because you’re apparently not going to live long). My mother has carpal tunnel syndrome – something minor and operated on without fuss on someone thin, but apparently not possible for her because of her size.

    The fact that we have an NHS and socialised medicine is absolutely wonderful, and we need to savour it since our current government are hell bent on dismantling it. But it’s made the anti-fat rhetoric harder to fight when so many feel that us fatties are a drain on it. It’s a nightmare.

  8. I couldn’t even face reading the article, stuff like this pisses me off so much.

    In case anyone needs another perspective – here is my post about how doctors should actually treat fat people. It’s a summary of my thesis that I am writing as an MD/MPH student. (which is so close to done I can taste it!)

    http://doctorzetcetera.blogspot.com/2012/04/thesis-executive-summary.html

    Thank you, Ragen for being my intro to Size Acceptance and HAES and for all your help finding various articles along the way!

  9. And soon another study will come out saying, “Fatties are the unhealthiest group of folks ever!” And it will be true because they can’t get treatment.

  10. 54% is a big percentage. It probably includes a lot of overweight and obese doctors. The definition of “too fat” always seems to be “fatter than me”.

  11. This is bigotry in the name of cost-cutting. The major reason the NHS is spending more than it ever used to, is the fact that we have an older demographic; people are living longer with chronic conditions than they did in the past. Fat people are being used as a convenient scapegoat.

    Bec’s point about untreated conditions getting worse is an important one for me. I was back at the surgery last week getting back on antidepressants. After a few bouts of depression over the years, I’ve finally got to the stage where I can recognize that I’m starting to go downhill and get help before I get so low I don’t feel like getting out of bed. If this rule were applied to medications, how low would I have to go before I could no longer be denied them on ‘non-emergency’ grounds? Goddess help us.

    • Bec’s point about untreated conditions getting worse is an important one for me.

      This would be my big practical concern as well. (I mean, ideologically, it’s shit all over, but this is the way I fear the shit would smear on me.) I have a bleeding condition that at times leaves me mildly, moderately, severely, or — rarely — life-threateningly anemic. (Technically, non-anemic is an option too, but it’s not one I’ve known in a few years.) But even untreated — or unsuccessfully treated — moderate anemia can produce complications like high blood pressure, secondary organ dysfunction, and/or heart attack.

      I have had my bleeding issues blamed on my weight for years. I would likely have any resulting high blood pressure or — Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid — heart attack blamed on my fat as well. You know what would also suck? Having my bleeding and anemia untreated until I had a heart attack. People should not have to risk that.

  12. Ragen, You have every right to be upset. I am too. There are so many issues you brought up with your blog. National Health care, prejudices, blaming people, on and on. Here is why I wrote my book. By the way, should be out this week. I wanted to know why I am fat. The reason is to bring it to the public eye. I love your work and Linda Bacons work as well. We all cover an area of this so called “obesity problem”. We need the activists, like Marilyn Wann and you, and we need everyone to bring it to light that being fat is not a reason to hold back medical care. In my book I touched on National health care here in the US and I state this will be a problem. I do not personally believe a national health care system will give us better health care, it will be worse. But that is my opinion. It is my opinion that we need to get the truth about being fat to the public and the medical industry. That is my goal and where my passion lies. I will continue to work this part of the equasion. We all can do our part to make this change. Im sorry you were upset about this but sometimes that is what it takes. Know what I mean. Thanks you are great.

  13. This is heinous. Judging someone and deciding if they deserve help is one of the most cruel forms of bullying. Should we let skiers suffer broken legs? Who asked you to go skiing? Swimmers should drown, you get caught in a riptide, it’s your problem.

    Treatable conditions are a lot cheaper to manage early. If you want to save money, start by preventing further illnesses.

  14. I’ve seen every doctor in my practice (I think) the current one is the first to give me a treatment for my low level ickiness (turns out it’s a minor sinus infection) but she mentioned that my general poor sleep might also be sleep apnea, but to try the sinus meds first, she also mentioned that my back problems might be alleviated by strengthening my core muscles, but if I needed it a bust reduction might be the best solution – she may at a later time try to persuade me to lose weight, but she listen when I said I was coming from a HAES point of view and has actually given me something that works in the short term as well as offered long term advice that wasn’t just ‘lose weight’.

    I’m not sure how different the NHS is here in Scotland compared to England, but as a bonus we get free prescriptions in Scotland too.

    I do know that most of the other doctors seem to think that if I lose weight I’ll be cured of all my ills, so I’m very lucky to find one that will listen (esp. as these doctors are close enough to visit even when I feel really crappy)

  15. As a future health care practitioner, this makes me sick. I did not read the article because I need to save my sanity points to get to graduation!

    “…doctors should be LIVID that they don’t have the proper tools and education to care for their patients of size.”

    This has been something that bothers me a lot. I know they are finally starting to talk about proper BP cuff fit in the lab classes, but it was not really addressed in mine just a few years ago. Our teaching clinic only has one size of cuff and students are expected to bring any other sizes with them, which is frustrating. We also get told over and over that obesity is a “risk factor” for this and part of the etiology for that. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have completed a course that involved any pathology since my second year that was at all fat friendly, or even neutral. I even had an instructor say that fat people could not hold their breath for more than 10 seconds!

    Knowing that there is more to the story for fat people, I find that I do not trust what I know and do not trust what I have been told about every other generalized group. That is disturbing to me. I plan to focus my practice on HAES and I’m not even sure how to talk to someone effectively about their desire to go on a diet. Or how best to discuss food sensitivities without triggering further disordered eating. Or…or…or… I suspect I will learn by trial and error.

    I continually get to see my classmates and collegues trying to figure out how best to help people lose weight. Just recently I replied to a request for suggestions to help a patient lose 150+lbs with information about HAES. I’m curious to know how it will be used. I am seeing spring cleanse specials going out now. “lose weight! Feel better!” I’m not against detoxing per se, but what happens if the losing weight part is not included?

    I have no doubt that many of my collegues think that I am as crazy as the MDs often think us NDs are, but the MDs are changing their minds and I believe that everyone will come around to HAES too.

    Sorry for the ramble.

    • I’m being treated for high blood pressure. At first, it seemed the treatment wasn’t working. Then on one visit, the nurse switched out the standard BP cuff for a larger one, and voila, my blood pressure was normal! They are often reluctant to switch when I ask, but what’s the point of even doing the test if the smaller size doesn’t measure correctly on me? Oy.

      • I always have to tell them to get the “big people cuff.” And why? Shouldn’t they have the sizes of cuff that they might potentially need right there handy?

  16. This is one of my pet peeves too. It is standard of care in many practices to deny an organ transplant to anyone with a BMI over 35. You had to lose weight in order to get a life-saving transplant. It was automatically assumed that that would make you “healthier” for the transplant, but I think it often just made people sicker because it often involved crash dieting and quick weight losses, both of which are very hard on the body.

    It’s often seen with joint replacements too. My knee was damaged in a car accident a few years ago; the orthopedist I went to see a year later refused to give me an MRI because he “knew” it HAD to be arthritis from my weight. Yes, arthritis had clearly set in by then, but funny how I didn’t have the arthritis before the accident even though I was the same size. I’m probably going to need a joint replacement at some point, but they won’t give it to me, due to my weight. So instead I should just limp around and be in too much constant pain to really exercise? How is that healthier?

    He implied that I just hadn’t tried hard enough to lose weight, or hadn’t had the right program/instruction, or hadn’t exercised enough. He offered to refer me to a nutritionist. Given all I’ve done over the years to try to lose weight, that was incredibly frustrating…but he absolutely did NOT want to hear any of that. It was a “no excuses accepted” approach, with the underlying assumption that ANYONE could be “normal weight” if they just tried hard enough.

    This idea of denying care unless you are “compliant” about weight loss is way too Big Brother for me. Patient autonomy and good healthcare is a BASIC RIGHT, regardless of compliance with a suggested mode of care.

  17. So, let’s see.

    They stop giving fat people health care despite making them pay for it because ZOMG OBESITY R EXPENSIVE!

    Then they get to thinking….what ELSE is expensive?

    “HMMMM…..” says giant insurance company guy, “I know! Let’s get rid of cancer treatments! YEAH! That will bring the cost of healthcare down by A LOT! I mean, come on, we can just assume that they used their cell phones too much and didn’t put on enough sunscreen and brought it on themselves!”

    “Oh, I know what will cut costs even MORE!” giant insurance company lady exec retorts, “YEAH YEAH! How about DENYING PEOPLE HIV TREATMENT?! After all, people with HIV had dirty dirty sex and probably are drug users anyway, so let’s just kick them out too.”

    “Ah,” second giant insurance company guy adds, “But we’re forgetting our largest and most expensive demographic! THE OLD PEOPLE! Let’s just stop covering any extended care options as well as any medical treatments for ADVANCED AGE BASED DISEASES. After all, they’re just going to DIE anyway!”

    There are hand shakes all around and they congratulate themselves for “cost cutting measures” and give themselves all a giant raise.

    Eventually, they hatch upon a magnificently amazing idea- ONLY COVER HEALTHY PEOPLE. The second a person has to USE their health insurance, they IMMEDIATELY BECOME INELIGIBLE.

    OH YES, THE MONEY HAS BEEN SAVED- all the healthy people can pay into it and all the sick people get kicked out on the street and the execs of the insurance company are rolling in money.

    Did I mention that I think that looking at health care systems based on monetary “savings” alone is barbaric and leads to human rights violations?

    OH BUT THAT IS OK, GOD FORBID THAT A DOLLAR NOT BE MADE ON THE BACK OF THE SICK AND DYING.

    • Dont miss the point here. It isnt the insurance companies who are refusing treatment, we are talking about government health care.
      My dad is a vet and he needed a hip replacement 15 years ago but was denied by the government because he was too old. He is still living and in he late 80′s and has had to deal with a bad hip his last few years of his life. He may live into his 90 with a bad hip. You may think it is tough with insurance, but that will be a cake walk compared having to deal with a National Health care system. And we fat people will be the first to be denied. You got it!!!!!!

      • Hi Marla,

        I’m sorry about your dad, that sucks. I hesitate to assume that because there are problems with one form of National Health Care that our insurance system is better. It’s not that I think it’s tough with insurance – I’m not able to qualify for standard insurance because of my BMI despite being in perfect health by every measure. The “high risk” insurance that I can get is completely unaffordable to me and wouldn’t cover most of what I actually need (basic preventative healthcare) – they instead wait to treat me until I have something “catastrophic”.

        We have always been a nation of innovators and I think that we need to innovate and figure out how we can provide cradle to grave healthcare for all of our citizens, and abandon a system that, by it’s very nature, puts shareholders before stakeholders and profits before patients. Insurance for profit will never work because when insurance companies do cost savings work – like finding a way to deny care to sick people (like finding a way to kick a cancer patient off insurance at diagnosis), or keeping your dad from getting a new hip, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do since their fiduciary responsibility is to their shareholders and not those who they insure. Imagine the money that could be saved, for example, if insurance companies were run as not-for-profits with no million dollar bonuses for executives, no massive competitive marketing budgets, just good wages for those working in the industry with all the rest of the money going toward actual healthcare.

        I think that we can do better.

        ~Ragen

        • Ragen, I understand what you mean and agree with a lot of what you said. I certainly (sp) dont have the answer. I am just not one to trust that the “government” can run anything when it comes to money. So much waste etc. and this is not ment to be political. Just my experience. I dont have health insurance either. I have to pay as I go. I hope in my lifetime that will change. Thanks for your comments

  18. Besides being wrong on all the levels you and commenters have pointed out, it’s just plain stupid from a public health point of view.

    “Non-emergency care” includes screening for and treatment of a lot of communicable diseases. Let’s say I come down with pertussis (whooping cough) which I could, since the immunization I got as a child may have worn off. Surely they don’t really want me running around with it, thinking that no doc will see me because I’m not actually on the point of death, all the while spewing pertussis bacteria all over the population? Surely they don’t want me or some other fat person spreading around a nice little case of gonorrhea or tuberculosis?

    From a money point of view it is stupid, too. Why refuse to treat my elevated blood pressure, and then be stuck with me in the ER with a stroke? The BP meds (esp if generic) would have been a LOT cheaper.

    I am amazed at the idea that a bunch of alleged scientists can’t make those connections. If they do see us as being at a higher risk for certain illnesses, it makes even MORE sense to provide early interventions on stuff like BP.

    Fat people are human beings, with human rights. It’s that simple.

  19. There is a debate on TV right now about this subject in the UK. The show “Loose Women” I’m at work so cannot see I’d like to be able to because I’d be itching to call in and represent the same views you have here. On the Loose Women FB page there are some really ignorant comments by some very stupid people. It really makes the blood boil!

  20. “Bedfordshire PCT, for example, decided to withhold hip and knee surgery from obese patients until they had slimmed down by 10% or had a body mass index of under 35. Similarly, North Essex PCT obliged obese people to lose 5% of their bodyweight and keep the pounds shed for at least six months before receiving treatment.”

    Let me get this straight: If a 300 pound person lost 5%, they’d weigh 285lbs, and if a 500lb person lost 5%, they’d weigh 475lbs. So the issue isn’t the actual weight of the patient, it’s making them jump through an arbitrary hoop to prove that they’re “deserving” of treatment?

    • You are “spot on”. I wondered things like that when it comes to losing weight to lower your BP etc. What a joke.

  21. To add insult to injury there are a lot of people who come the the UK on various visas and get free non emergency treatment on the NHS. They are meant to pay for their treatment, but it’s hard to chase up a tourist and they are generally only spotted when they renew visas and the like.

    I rarely see the doctor, although I may go back more with the one I’m currently seeing as she seems to be more able to look at the symptoms rather than the size of my ass. If I can get the various issues I have under control I can improve my overall fitness and health and feel several hundred percent more awesome and able to do things. But as a result of mediocre treatment in the past I’ve possibly had a minor sinus infection for 2 years which has impacted on my sleep and general health over that time and I’ve seen the doctor twice before about it and given up, so I’m hardly costing them a fortune.

  22. Soooo, because health care costs are subsidized by taxpayers, that gives you the right to dictate how I live? You’ll only feel okay about my receipt of treatment for illness and injury if I live in a way that’s acceptable to you? And if I can’t or won’t conform to those standards than I don’t deserve medical care?

    Authority figures appealing to cost-consciousness for permission from the people to dictate matters of life and death. Interesting. A government notorious for its abuse of human rights used that exact same arguement. Seriously. Look up Action T-4 on Wikipedia.
    -BJ

    (PS: I hate having to make this arguement, because it smacks of a certain type of emotional manipulation. Unfortunately . . .)


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