Friday, September 11, 2009

Agribusiness and the Obama health plan

Michael Pollan wrote in the NYT about the "elephant in the room" of the health care debate:  American obesity, which is the prime driver of higher health care costs.  He sees the uncontested provision in the Obama health care plan that insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude sick people from coverage as the beginning of the end of agribusiness as we know it.

AGRIBUSINESS dominates the agriculture committees of Congress, and has swatted away most efforts at reform. But what happens when the health insurance industry realizes that our system of farm subsidies makes junk food cheap, and fresh produce dear, and thus contributes to obesity and Type 2 diabetes? It will promptly get involved in the fight over the farm bill — which is to say, the industry will begin buying seats on those agriculture committees and demanding that the next bill be written with the interests of the public health more firmly in mind.

I like not only his unimpeachable insight into the food industry but also his political savvy.  He understands how corporate money runs this country--and how laws might be manipulated to get the money on the good side.
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