Bill Maher isn’t wrong about everything in this segment from his HBO show last week. There’s no question obesity is a major health issue in this country, and it’s hard not to applaud him pushing back on this Orwellian woke-tard nonsense that demands we all declare fat beautiful. This is something I have frequently pushed back against myself.
My disagreement with Maher is not only his breathtaking hypocrisy, but his refusal to admit his own role in incentivizing obesity. Oh, but now the man formerly-known-as-a-libertarian wants the government to do something about the obese, including shaming.
Watch for yourself:
Here are the parts I take issue with:
At next Thursday’s [Democrat presidential] debate, one of the candidates has to say , “The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit… and too much of it.” All the candidates will talk about their health plans, but no one will mention the key factor the citizens don’t lift a key finger to help [obesity]. … We scream at Congress to find a way to pay for our medical bills, but it wouldn’t be nearly the issue it is if people just didn’t eat like assholes. … What’s Elizabeth Warren’s plan for that?
Fat-shaming has to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good. We shamed people out of smoking and into wearing seatbelts. We shamed them out of littering and most of them out of racism. Shame is the first step in reform.
First, let me be clear about something… I’m not taking any of this personally. I’m actually a bit of a fitness freak — a 53-year-old who diets and exercises, which is why I’m six feet tall and weigh only 170 pounds. What’s more, I find diet and exercise to be healthy narcotics. I feel better, sleep better, have more energy, enjoy life more… Another driver is personal vanity. But there is also a big economic incentive for me, and this is what makes Maher sound so foolish.
You see, I don’t have insurance, so I pay for my own health care. Anything that goes wrong with me comes out of my own pocket. I do belong to a Christian co-op that covers something catastrophic like cancer, heart attack, or a car accident. But if my overall health declines due to any number of bad habits, including overeating, that comes straight out of my pocket. Diabetic maintenance? My own pocket. Cholesterol medicine? My own pocket. High blood pressure treatment? You get the idea.
And I’m saving a fortune this way. For as long as I remain healthy, I net a savings of at least $300 a month by not buying overpriced health insurance. But if my health goes sideways, I not only lose that savings; I could go into the hole.
In other words, I have skin in the game, and if more people had skin in the game, if more people felt the financial brunt of their bad habits, you would see fewer people with bad habits.
The kicker, though, is that it is leftists like Maher who have ensured almost no one has skin in the obesity game.
Maher backed the disaster that is Obamacare, a big government boondoggle that, among a litany of other terrible ideas, made it illegal to charge higher rates or deny coverage due to “health status.”
What that means is that Maher’s precious Obamacare removed any and all financial incentive to remain healthy. Whether you’re a fitness freak or Michael Moore, everyone pays the same premium rate. Before Obamacare, especially in the individual market, your rates were based in part on your personal health, including, yes, your weight.
This also means that, again thanks to Maher’s Obamacare, those who care about their health are being forced by the government to subsidize the obese. We are all in the same rate pool now.
What’s more, Obamacare also outlawed catastrophic health insurance plans, those plans that save you from bankruptcy in the event of a health catastrophe, but where you paid out of pocket for your usual-usual health care — which, again, worked as a huge incentive to watch your health.
If that’s not bad enough, Maher is a big backer of socialized medicine, where no one will pay anything for their health care (except through massive taxes and deficits), and when you’re not paying anything, this will only make the obesity problem even worse. Talk about removing an incentive to take care of yourself…
Maher argues that “shame” stopped people from littering, smoking, and not wearing seatbelts. Maybe in part, but there were also massive financial penalties put in place to control those vices — massive fines for littering and seatbelts, massive price increases on cigarettes. It’s just a fact that when you increase the cost of doing something, people do less of that something. But if you decrease the cost of doing something, people do more of it.
And who aggressively used the massive power of his HBO platform to decrease the cost of obesity, to kill every single financial penalty for obesity…? Bill Maher.
You see, health insurance is one of the worst ideas this country has ever come up with. I’m all for catastrophic plans. But having insurance cover everything is nuts. There’s no incentive to shop for the best price, no incentive to keep yourself healthy (which increases health costs), and the paperwork costs for your provider to file all these claims also exploded health costs.
Believe me, there’s a reason why medical services not covered by insurance — plastic surgery, Lasik, etc. — are coming down in price while services covered by insurance continue to explode in cost.
Now bear with me while I make a larger point…
Isn’t this the left’s plan, though — you know, to give themselves license to gain more control over our personal lives?
Let’s walk through this…
- The left makes health insurance a necessity.
- The left demands everyone have health insurance.
- The left demands insurance providers don’t charge the obese more.
- Now the left can say, Because I’m paying the freight for your lifestyle, I get to tell you how to live your life.
- This all ends with the government telling us what we can and cannot eat — and like all socialist countries, there are mandatory morning calisthenics.
We see this again and again and again… This fascist line of thought that argues, I can tell you how to live your life because I’m paying for it.
That was the argument that launched us down this slippery slope with seatbelts, that brought sex education into grammar schools, that bans smoking on someone’s private property…
Let me tell you the world I want to live in…
I don’t want to shame anyone… As long as no one is interfering with my rights (for instance, littering should be illegal), people should be allowed to live their lives however they want. But you got to pay your own freight, pal. If you’re going to eat too much, you need to feel the financial burden of your bad decision.
But it is people like Maher who lobbied to remove that burden (socialized medicine!) and who force the rest of us to share it (equality!), and now, he is using his own equality argument as license for the government to tell free men and women how to live their lives.
And that’s the trap.
Final thought on Maher’s hypocrisy…
Bill Maher is a sexual libertine. He makes no secret of it, and I have no problem with it. He’s a grown man cavorting with consenting adults. Hey, knock yourself out.
But where’s Maher’s call for sex-shaming?
Every argument he uses to justify fat-shaming can be used to justify sex-shaming.
FACT: Loveless sex is a health catastrophe in this country, from AIDS to STDs to unwanted pregnancies to a trillion-dollar welfare state set up almost exclusively to subsidize single mothers to an increase in crime and incarceration rates.
So as you can see, Maher doesn’t care about health costs or people who engage in unhealthy habits. He’s just another elite, leftist hypocrite who wants the government to bully and control the everyday Americans he despises.