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As a practising physician I am able to recognize and sympathize with Mr van der Pol’s comments about improving Medicare.1 One of his observations stood out, however, as a reason why physicians should not create public policy. Mr van der Pol promoted making certain habits less socially acceptable in order to reduce their prevalence. My observation is that those suffering from unhealthy habits need more care and less castigation, certainly from their doctors.
The government can restrict advertising, create tax penalties or incentives, and otherwise mold people’s choices. Physicians should be exploring areas in which applied care can be brought to those suffering. I encourage your readers to be proactive in applying care models rather than reactive in creating punitive social measures. Let’s hear from those ready to be part of the physician solution. Anyone can make a law against an activity or group they find distasteful. Physicians can uniquely identify what is effective to assist those individuals who have inappropriately self-medicated with food, alcohol, or cigarettes. May Tommy Douglas be proud!