Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

Op-Ed Contributor - Big Food vs. Big Insurance - "the government is putting itself in the uncomfortable position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup." -Michael Pollan

"One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry." Doctors promote this by believing that drugs are better than vegetables.

"There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise." I would say A LOT more...

"Terms like “pre-existing conditions” and “underwriting” would vanish from the health insurance rulebook — and, when they do, the relationship between the health insurance industry and the food industry will undergo a sea change."

On his major thesis- that the health industry will force the food industry to change- I'm not so sure I agree. The private health sector is too fragmented. They don't know whether a person on their plan will still be their in a year when the employer or employee changes jobs. I don't think they have enough steak in the game to force big changes in the food industry. They may start offering more exercise and nutrition counseling, but I don't see them going further.

To reform the food system, we would need to take on the food system. This is a good job for the HHS secretary, the Surgeon General, and the rest of us.
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