Fat people are not the cause of our broken healthcare system

Notes from a Big Beautiful Woman” — thrilled a sold-out crowd of 1,200 at Town Hall here in her hometown on Wednesday night. Her sharp wit and kind soul both shone as she talked about her path from feeling broken and wrong in her body to becoming a vociferous (and hilarious) defender of women’s bodies,plus size bodies and every body’s right to be respected and accepted.

After Lindy and I talked recently, the column I wrote about her and her crusade got a number of responses like this one, from a post on The 155461_LW_LINDYWEST_05-1020x709Seattle Times’ Facebook: “This is why universal health care mandates suck, because a lot people  choose to be unhealthy and its no one else responsibility to pay for it.

Healthcare is brought up over and over again in this context. Lindy already addressed this canard, though not directly, in last week’s column — instead of shaming and devaluing people, she would suggest: “Why don’t you just campaign for healthier school lunches? Why don’t you campaign for longer recess? Why don’t we raise the minimum wage so that moms — or dads — don’t have to work three jobs, and they can be home and cook food for their families? Instead … we stigmatize them and call them stupid and obesity for feeding McDonald’s to their kids. The whole system is broken, and the only solution people can come up with is to punish the people victimized by that system.”

I emailed Lindy for more specifics on the fat-people-and-healthcare “issue.” She sent a characteristically eloquent mini-essay:

Why don’t we complain about old people, who are the biggest drain? If big beautiful singles have shorter lifespans, we’re doing our bit for the economy, dammit.

I reject the premise on the grounds that I’m in favor of universal healthcare, because I believe that should be considered a right and not a privilege. I believe we should all be pitching in so that people who need medical attention can get it, end of story. Picking and choosing who ‘deserves’ it, as opposed to who should literally have to pay for their perceived sins, is inhumane bullshit, as far as I’m concerned. Fat people are not the cause of our broken healthcare system — they are victims of it, just like everyone else.”

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