Picture the scene.
It’s Friday evening, I just got home from a long week at work and I’m sitting on my couch with my feet up, reading the daily paper. I had already glanced through the headlines earlier and read the ‘big’ news items. Reality Catches Up With Spitzer, Sacrifice to Afghanistan Extended til 2011 and Tragic Explosion at Local Car Dealership, when I come across 4 column inches on page A5.
It seems that another province has decided to try and sue Big Tobacco, this time in the name of “people whose health has been harmed by tobacco products, families who have lost loved ones to tobacco-related illness and taxpayers who have borne the added costs to the health-care system.”(bold mine)
This last part is what frightens me. It sets a precedent that the government can go back to the producers of goods and hold them responsible for the health care costs of willing, non-coerced consumers who used their products. Who is next? Keith’s & Captain Morgan? Coke & Pepsi? Mr. Christie and my Mom?
There is another level to this government meddling. It sets the framework to follow in Britain’s footsteps down the road of heath care rationing. If individual citizens are defying the government decrees that certain acts and products could be harmful to their health, then they get no ‘free’ treatment of their health issues.
That is bad enough, but lets take this a step further.
The government has proof that you have made poor health choices. Say during some routine blood-work your blood was tested, without your knowledge, for nicotine and trans-fats, and the results were positive. The next week you get a registered letter from the ‘Ministry of Health’ with an itemized bill for health care procedures they say you needed due to your poor choices. At the bottom of the bill it says if you don’t pay in 30 days the government will sue you for the costs, in the name of your neighbors who paid for the procedures.
I know it sounds far fetched right now, but with the rising costs of health care in this province, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nova Scotia jumping on this bandwagon shortly. And then it is a slippery slope down to a socialist democracy, where individual rights are only upheld if they have no real or perceived negative impact on society.