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The states right to compel individuals to take medications

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  1. Introduction
  2. Bodenheimer and Grumbach's book Understanding Health Policy
  3. Defining crucial terms
    1. Crisis
    2. Epidemic
    3. Obesity
  4. The insurance rates and reimbursement system
    1. An incentive based insurance program
    2. Creating, funding or reimbursing programs of smoking cessation and physical fitness
  5. The health care budget
  6. Analysis of the topic of obesity
    1. Deaths caused by obesity
    2. Numbers of overweight Americans
    3. The governments promotion of healthier eating habits
    4. Controversy over the vaccinations of American youth
  7. Public health issue affecting children
  8. The final issue in which more government involvement is required
  9. Conclusion

A basic standard of health care for all American citizens is an idea that arose less than 100 years ago, but which today is a tenet that most people in the United States believe. Basic healthcare belongs, in my opinion, to the whole world simply due to them being ?world citizens?, though this notion is beyond the scope of this simple essay. We have come to believe in the US that people that need health care and pay taxes receive said care and medical services. However, exposés like Mama Might Be Better off Dead: the Failure of Health Care in Urban America (University Press Books) show that for millions of Americans living at or near the poverty line, slipping through the cracks in government-funded health care is an everyday reality. These people represent the subset of America that stands the most to gain from more government involvement in health care and stands the most to lose if the government deregulates the health-care industry and personal health practices. For the majority of US citizens, state-mandated vaccinations, food additive restrictions, mental health evaluation and rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS testing and treatment supervision represent no significant infringement upon rights.

[...] Though systems that focus more on rewarding health-positive behaviors (HPB) should be encouraged, the state does have a right to disperse the financial burden it faces as a result of bad personal health towards the health consumers themselves. If an annual check-up reveals that someone is morbidly obese or a two-pack-per-day smoker, then their insurance company should charge them more. People respond well to financial incentives. According to the Opposing Viewpoints article by James Moore, personal responsibility should be included into premium structures, making people shareholders in their health care plan. [...]


[...] They will cite a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association that states a low-fat diet had no effect on incidence of breast cancer.[20] However, the changes we will see from this change in our eating habits will take longer to cause the fruition of health gains than the mere 8-year scope of that study. If we are to make real progress America's personal health decisions, it will not happen within a single decade, but rather grow slowly within a generation, and then be passed to subsequent generations of Americans. [...]


[...] Knowledge and inaction makes one part of the causal chain leading to harm.[36] By mandating contact tracing, the government can take a step towards preventing harm inflicted by subsequent HIV infections that are resultant of one or both partners not knowing their HIV-status. According to an article in the New York Times, 2004 there were 1,038 patients who first learned they had HIV when they were already sick with AIDS.?[37] Many of that number may have unknowingly infected dozens; the amount of time necessary for AIDS to develop means they likely engaged in years of sexual activity between infection and diagnosis. [...]

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