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Doctor warns universal healthcare could lead to “waistline police”

January 12, 2009 by  

Could the government fine people for obesity?By adopting universal healthcare, America risks turning into a "nanny state" that controls how its citizens behave and what they consume, a doctor cautions.

Paul Hsieh, cofounder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine, writes in the Christian Science Monitor about the dangers of government involvement in paying for people’s healthcare.

He offers up an example of the so-called "waistline police" in Japan, who are charged with monitoring obesity levels among those over 40. Because government funds pay for healthcare, the country reserves the right to fine and punish people who do not meet certain standards.

Hsieh also describes a British ban on certain egg commercials due to health concerns, as well as New Zealand immigration practices which may keep obese people from entering the country, on the grounds that they cost the system too much money.

"Of course healthy diet and exercise are good. But these are issues of personal – not government – responsibility," he writes.

According to Hsieh, the U.S. is also headed toward a nanny state society. Many cities have already enacted bans on trans fat use, limited the opening of fast food restaurants and imposed taxes on unhealthy foods.

With the introduction of universal healthcare, it could only be a matter of time before the government steps in further, he argues.
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