Brave new world for health care
Regardless of your position on mandating free contraception for all women, you have to admire the fortitude of the Obama administration for taking on the most difficult "free preventive" item first. It should make it easy to define the other services the country needs to provide free to all Americans to elevate their health status and contain costs.
Contraception was a tough sell because many Americans objected to the mandate because of religious, e.g., opposes doctrine, moral, e.g., promotes promiscuity, and health, e.g., increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, concerns. It should be much less controversial mandating all Americans be provided free other items to promote health and control cost, such as:
* Bicycle helmets and other protective occupational and recreational items, e.g., goggles, pads, gloves.
* Gym membership and conditioning sessions.
* Personal trainers and wellness activities.
* Home humidifiers, dehumidifiers, HEPA filter systems, house cleaning services, etc. to reduce allergic and respiratory irritants.
* Organically grown and free-range fruits, vegetables and other food substances deemed "healthy" by the appropriate federal agencies.
* Meals consumed at federally deemed "healthy" restaurants.
* Rural relocation and housing for asthmatic families living in urban polluted areas, thought to contribute to 50 percent of new cases.
* Condoms and deemed safe recreational drugs to promote "healthy" sexual socialization.
* Three, state provided, "healthy" meals a day for school aged children (no outside food or vending).
Reducing financial barriers that contribute to high health cost and less than optimal health status is the easy part. The hard part is assuring all citizens maximally utilize these state provided goods and services, as intended by the state.
This will require the expenditure of additional resources to entice, cajole or coerce citizens. Federal and state tax credits, direct incentive payments, public recognition, achievement awards are a few positive sanctions that might be tried. Federal and state tax penalties, fines, civil or criminal prosecution, public embarrassment techniques, are a few of the negative ones.