BG2: Dob in a lardo, win $30k

Just as well we’re all working towards being healthier and living longer, not to mention that we will be less of a burden on our fellow tax payers.   Look what the obesity epidemic is causing in the UK right now:

Family doctors could be offered bonuses for weighing thousands of patients under NHS proposals to tackle obesity.

They would be given financial incentives for recording the weight of anyone with an underlying health problem triggered by being overweight.

Based on existing incentives, the payments could range from £1,500 to £15,000 a year per GP surgery depending on how effective they are deemed at helping the NHS.

The plans have been drawn up by health watchdog NICE in the hope of ultimately saving the NHS billions of pounds by treating complications caused by obesity. The news of the proposals comes amid increasing controversy over the cost of obesity to the state.

This month Channel 5 documentary, Benefits: Too Fat To Work featured couple Michelle and Stephen Beer, who say their weight prevents them from working. Between them they weigh 54 stone and receive around £1,700 a month in benefits.

The idea is that it will be cheaper to pay for  proactively getting these people healthier than to have to pay for their health problems from now until they die.  

A spokesman for British Medical Association said: ‘We would need to see the details of the proposals and ensure that they have real clinical value, rather than being a box ticking exercise that place yet another pointless administrative burden on overstretched GP services.’

But GP David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said the plans didn’t go far enough, as GPs should be focusing on weighing patients who don’t yet have a health problem – so it could be prevented.

He said: ‘It’s all in the wrong direction. It’s people without a diagnosis for one of these conditions who need to be screened.’

The QOF consists of targets covering a range of conditions including heart disease, dementia and cancer.

A maximum of 1,000 points is available for every practice per year, and each point is worth £157.

But experts have warned it has offered limited benefit to patients as it encourages doctors to focus on conditions which merit payments.

Perhaps there is another way:  court ordered dieting and exercise.   After all, if we walked into a bank and took other people’s money, nobody would think that acceptable.  Yet we have obese people constantly walking into tax payer funded health care without doing a single thing to mitigate ongoing costs on the rest of us.

For one, there should be a limit to the amount of money paid out to support someone who is obese.  Health care will no longer be covered by the taxpayer unless the patient is working towards improved health and making acceptable progress.

A bit like government funded “quit smoking” campaigns, I see benefit in government funded “lose weight and get healthy” campaigns.  Of course, it only works if these people make real progress.

Right now, apart from their bad decision making probably making their life shorter and more miserable, there are no repercussions on obese people that think nothing of being a huge burden of fellow tax payers.  Especially if they are so obese that their health problems have them unable to work as well.

All that seems eminently more sensible than taxing sugar and fat.

What do you think?  What would you suggest?


– Daily Mail

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