No, it’s not April 1…and yes, the title of this post spells out what will be the case for Mississippi restaurant-goers if a house bill (no. 282) introduced by state Representatives W. T. Mayhall, Jr. (R), John Read (R), and Bobby Shows (D) passes. According to the first page of the bill:
“Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Prevention and Management…”
This applies to any state-licensed food establishment, which is probably nearly every restaurant in the state. And since Mississippi has an obesity rate of around 30%, that means that about a third of the population would not be able to dine out. A restaurant that fails to comply may have it’s permit revoked.
Nanny state, anyone? Who has the right to tell you what you can or cannot eat? The government apparently thinks it has that responsibility…at least in Mississippi. I really hope this bill doesn’t pass, and I doubt it will because it’s such an outrageous affront to the rights of people in that state. But it does serve as a reminder of the responsibilities the government will assume if we let them into our lives. For instance, if we put the government in charge of health care, such as through a single-payer system, then perhaps it would be up to our legislators to keep us in line by punishing or prohibiting unhealthy behavior. Consider the UK, where about 1 in 10 people are denied surgeries because they smoke or are obese. I don’t want to pay for someone else’s poor choices, but I also don’t want the government punishing me for mine. To me, this is what insurance is for – protecting yourself against future risks, not (contrary to what many people seem to think) subsidizing someone else’s risks. Greater risks equal greater premiums, pure and simple.
To me, the obesity thing is discrimination…but in a state-run society such discrimination might be ethically justified if it kept costs down and allows more people access to services. Is this really the path we want for our country? First we go against the obese, but who would be next? We’ve already attacked smokers, maybe we should go after people who drink too much, or who aren’t necessarily obese but still live incredibly sedentary lives. If you don’t eat 3-6 servings of fruits and veggies a day then you’ll be denied health care. I know these seem like extreme examples, but are they really that far-fetched? According to the UK article I linked above, physicians across the pond think lifestyle should play a greater role in determining who receives health services. If they continue down that path, they’ll end up with either a country of boring clones who conform to their ideals, or a country where only a minority of it’s citizens have full access to the services their tax-dollars support.
Fortunately I don’t condone discrimination, so I don’t condone a society run entirely by government bureaucrats.
Source – The Smoking Gun