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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/2/09

SCHIP: Two other ideas on how to fund it...One the politicos will not like, "I'm lovin it!"

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Message Mary MacElveen
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In my column yesterday berating President Obama for imposing a punitive tax on smokers in order to fund SCHIP, I made suggested that a ‘fat tax’ be imposed since the consumption of fatty foods are equally unhealthy.  One source amongst many are food-like products coming from fast food giants such as McDonalds.  I say food-like because many of the items sold by McDonalds are not healthy for us to even consume.  Food sustains us where the over-indulgence in these products can kill.


According to, Fast Food.com, your socks will be blown off at the caloric count of most of these popular food-like items.  What is equally mind blowing are the sodium counts, cholesterol counts and fat counts.  Go to that site to see for yourself, but you may not wish to have another McDonald’s product again.  In the meantime, I will high-light a few which stood out.


Take your ‘Big Mac’ for instance: It contains 590 calories, but what is simply shocking is the sodium level which is, 1090.  Heart patients are relentlessly told to keep their sodium levels low.  So, even if you do not smoke, but do partake in the over-consumption of this food-like product, that ‘Big Mac’ is a killer.  Even the cholesterol count; again something any heart patient or a healthy person should take into account stands at 85 mgs.


The most alarming of them all is called the McDonald's ‘Spanish Omelet Bagel’.  Its total caloric count is, 690. Its sodium level stands at 1570 and its cholesterol count is a whopping, 255 mgs.


While two McDonald’s scramble eggs are low calorie wise which is 160, the cholesterol count topped all the rest of these food-like products where it is an astounding, 425 mgs.


According to this article on cholesterol intake it states, “The AHA recommends you eat no more than 300 mg of cholesterol each day” By eating the McDonalds scrambled egg meal, you have already gone over the total milligrams suggested per day by the American Heart Association.  Even the ‘Spanish Omelet bagel’ leaves you only 5 mgs left.


I have been told in responses to my previous column that it is my choice whether or not to smoke and the same applies here.  One has a choice to eat at McDonalds or other fast food restaurants whose products are as equally unhealthy for you.  I would like to offer the president and congress a proposal: how about adding a hefty tax to these products as they have done with cigarettes?


Given the fact I have highlighted in my previous column where “The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.” I wonder how people would react if imposed upon any of these meals is a $1 dollar tax to recoup these funds and add another $1.00 to fund SCHIP?


The extreme of these cases are the morbidly obese in this nation where many do die from it and I want you to watch this one feed where Billy struggles with his morbid obesity.  In a past TLC (The Learning Channel) documentary series, they attributed the increased morbid obesity rates to the over-consumption of fast foods like McDonalds.


When it comes to those not covered by any form of insurance; normally they will receive Medicaid through the states.  However in the case of obesity and yes, morbid obesity these conditions are not covered.  In reading this article, It clearly states, “Medicaid does not cover obesity, and under Medicare, hospital and physician services for obesity are clearly excluded. Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance to qualified individuals whose income level is below a certain point. Recipients of Medicaid are primarily women and children who are poor and members of minority groups.”


So, it leaves me again to ask, why not impose a hefty tax on fast food products if we are truly looking to save people who are currently not insured and especially if Medicaid will not pay for their treatment?  Why impose a tax on one group of people instead of imposing a tax to those who would over-consume products coming from McDonalds?  That ‘Happy Meal’ will become oh so sad if one is forced to pay $1 dollar more for it.  Would I feel bad about a person forced to pay $1 dollar more for their ‘Happy Meal’ and any other McDonalds or Burger King (cannot leave BK out) product? No, I would not.  It is their choice to purchase those food-like items just as much as it is my choice to smoke.


One thing that congress and the president did not think about is this: If many begin to quit smoking due to this hefty tax, it will also decrease the moneys raised to fund this program.  Then where will they get the money to keep this program going?  This is where the cost of it should and must be born by all segments of this society and if we are going to tax one bad habit, then why not another?  See where I am going with this?  They will seek to tax everything in sight.


Lastly, I do have a suggestion and it is, how about congress and the president pay for their own health insurance?  This also extends to state and local officials as well.  After all, our tax dollars are paying for their top-notch health care.  With the total amount we pay to fund their health care, that is where we can recoup the funds in order to pay for the SCHIP program.  To borrow a McDonald’s ad phrase, “I’m lovin it!”


Many ideas have been raised by these politicos how to address health care for all and one is to allow Americans to go shopping for the best policy that meets their needs: I say they must also do the same and stop relying on the American tax payer to fund their health care.


Author’s email address is, xmjmac@optonline.net


Copyrighted material: Should you wish to use any portion of this column, please email the author for permission.

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Mary MacElveen Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog http://www.mary-macelveen.blogspot.com I have been published by Buzzflash.com, TheLiberalPatriot.org and MikeHersh.com. I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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