And now for something a little less serious . . . or maybe it is serious. You choose:
Many observers of national politics worry about the establishment of new entitlement programs and the lack of fiscal discipline that can accompany them. That may account for a lot of the current discourse about the President's proposed public insurance plan.
A colleague has come up with a scenario that would help ensure that the number of people subscribing to a public plan would be kept to a minimum -- and would be consistent with other societal health and well-being goals.
The idea would be to create the American Adipose Plan ("AAP"), the public insurance plan. Only citizens with a body mass index above a certain number would be eligible for insurance from AAP. Because overweight people tend to have more difficult and expensive health care needs, and would therefore draw more public subsidies, Congress would have an incentive to try to minimize the number of people in this plan. Thus, goes the theory, they would be less likely to fund certain programs that undermine public health by promoting obesity. For example, subsidies for corn and sugar, two of the major federal programs that have contributed to excessive calories in fast food and school lunches, would be seen as less desirable by Congress. A positive feedback loop could result, saving money in both arenas, while contributing to the entire nation's health.
Perhaps, too, the government's Food Pyramid would be revised to reflect the actual nutritional value of food groups, as opposed to the financial clout of various sectors of the food industry.
In the best of Washington traditions, lobbyists who wish to advocate for this plan are free to do so.