Friday, September 11, 2009

Michael Pollan: "Big Food vs. Big Insurance"

Ever wonder why health insurance is so expensive in the United States? One reason may be our food supply, which many believe has made us terribly sick, leading to skyrocketing medical bills.

Michael Pollan, the great writer on food policy, wrote an opinion piece—“Big Food vs. Big Insurance”—in yesterday’s New York Times describing the relationship between the modern food and health care industries.


Pollan writes that “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat ‘preventable chronic diseases.’ Not all of these diseases are linked to diet—there’s smoking, for instance—but many, if not most, of them are.”


This is scary, especially for those who eat well and are forced to fund the treatment of these “preventable chronic diseases.”

Pollan takes a couple shots at both Big Food (“One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry”) and Big Health Care (“There’s more money in amputating the limbs of diabetics than in counseling them on diet and exercise”).


Pollan, though, believes that even the weaker versions of the proposed health care legislation—which would make more people eligible for coverage—could drastically alter how the insurance companies view the food industry.


“When health insurers can no longer evade much of the cost of treating the collateral damage of the American diet, the movement to reform the food system—everything from farm policy to food marketing and school lunches—will acquire a powerful and wealthy ally, something it hasn’t really ever had before.”


Pollan presents an interesting argument, but I think equally as important is understanding how many big industries are intrinsically linked, often times not in the public’s best interests.

Click here to read “Big Food vs. Big Insurance.”

1 comment:

jowdjbrown said...

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