The unhealthy accelerate the spread of disease and are unable to fully contribute to society. Healthy workers are more productive. Healthy children learn better in school. Healthy parents better raise healthy children. Nutrition and preventive care are the foundation of low-cost health.
The public can benefit from healthy people. Healthier people are, on average, much more productive; so increasing health would increase the GDP and improve the economy. Healthy children are more likely to grow into healthy adults who are, on average, able to better contribute to society. Preventive care and proper nutrition and exercise are easy and cheap ways to promote public health. I believe we are currently under-investing in public healthcare. One critically important item to remember, however, is that public healthcare is paid by public sacrifice. We cannot allow the sacrifice to be forgotten. Those receiving public healthcare assistance should expect limitations, restrictions, incentives, and penalties to promote healthy living and properly respect the sacrifices made to fund the healthcare.
Welfare is supposed to be a temporary situation. People receiving welfare benefits should be doing everything they can to become self-sufficient. We need to focus more on providing resources leading to self-sufficiency. We also need to repair some deep market failures that make it more difficult for those receiving welfare benefits to become self-sufficient. Correcting market failures is a top priority for me.
Proper nutrition and exercise is one of the cheapest and most impactful ways to promote better health. Unfortunately, human nature doesn't always make it easy. In addition, liberty dictates that a person can choose to eat whatever they desire. On the flip side, justice dictates that a person who doesn't care for their own health should be the one responsible for the costs associated with that choice. Justice also dictates that a person receiving government assistance for food and nutrition may not experience the same liberties as a person paying for themselves. It is not fair for others in society to sacrifice to provide food for someone and then pay for the costs of healthcare if that person does not consume a healthy diet. Those receiving government-funded food assistance should receive face restrictions limiting them to healthy diets.
Better addressing mental health needs could be one of the most impactful methods for reducing social ills (e.g., crime, substance abuse, mass shootings). We need to experiment with good ideas (realizing some of them won't work) and keep what works best.
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