Thursday, September 24, 2009

Want Real Health Care? Eat Healthy

Health Insurance Companies May Become New Ally

Thursday, 10 September 2009
Michael Pollan has an excellent opinion piece in today’s New York Times (Thursday, Sept. 10) entitled "Big Food vs. Big Insurance" about how health care reform could turn health insurance companies into noisy advocates for healthy eating. He said even under the weaker versions of health care reform now on offer, health insurers would be required to take everyone at the same rates, provide a standard level of coverage and keep people on the rolls regardless of their health. This means every health insurance customer who doesn’t get Type 2 diabetes adds about $400,000 to the insurance company’s bottom line. Currently, the USA spends $147 billion to treat obesity and $116 billion to treat diabetes. Pollan said health care reform will add a powerful and wealthy ally to the alternative foods movement that can help checkmate the powerful agribusiness firms who have been able to swat down previous attempts at nutritional reform. He said the health insurance industry will begin buying seats on the agriculture committees and demanding that the next Farm Bill be written with the interests of the public health firmly in mind. Pollan said that all that will be required to acquire this new ally will be a health care bill that requires insurers to cover everyone on the same basis.

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