Japan has a single-payer health care system. While the Japanese people may be a healthy lot, they also must put up with some pretty absurd government rules and regulations. According to recent reports the Japanese government will now demand that people of that nation have their waists measured (the new state-prescribed limit for male waistlines is a strict 33 1/2 inches). If they are considered to be “too fat,” the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments (and presumably people) that fail to meet specific targets.
As health care expert Paul Hsieh points out, such freedom-destroying regulations are the result of government payment for health care. After all:
Once a government starts violating individual rights by creating a “universal” health care system, this inevitably leads to further infringements of individual rights. This is not unique to Japan.
For instance, universal health care in Great Britain has led to infringements on the right to free speech. In 2007, the British government banned television stations from playing classic 1950’s-era humorous advertisements encouraging people to have an egg for breakfast, on the grounds that “the ads do not encourage healthy eating”.
When a government has to pay for everyone’s health care, it will naturally demand a say in whether people are leading a “sufficiently healthy” lifestyle, as defined by the government.
If we allow the state of New Mexico or the federal government to control our health care, we will inevitably face similar intrusions on individual liberty. Bill Richardson of all people should be sensitive to this issue.