Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Strong Preventative Medicine

As the NY Sun is reporting today, Mayor Bloomberg made a strong health care speech yesterday in Washington (with a rousing introduction as New York City's "greatest mayor" ever by the ever ready Dr. Frieden), that called for a much more strenuous approach to the prevention of disease. The mayor also called attention to his anti-smoking policies and trans fat ban as examples of prevention policies.

A word of caution here. There is a level of zeal that underlies this mayoral rhetoric that is far from being benign in its implications. In order to elevate prevention of disease over treatment there is a need to insinuate the government directly into the lives of Americans; a be healthy or else policy. This is necessary,because as one public health expert, Doug Badger of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told the NY Sun, "The problem with prevention is that so much of it is about individual behavior and individual choices...I just don't know what sort of government programs would encourage people to take better care of themselves."

We do have the feeling, however, that Dr. Frieden has a few ideas on the subject; but we'd venture to speculate that, in this area, the cure is worse than the disease. Our liberties are more important than the healthier lifestyles that certain health advocates are getting ready to force on us.