It's basic economics, man. Providing something for nothing causes the recipient to value it less than if he had worked for and earned it.
Originally Posted by Mystic Lemur
People don't have any incentive to live a healthy lifestyle, because they aren't the ones who will pay the costs of their inevitable health problems.
In a country that used to worry about Smallpox and Polio, our biggest health concerns now are Obesity-related. We are literally killing ourselves with our lifestyle, and people think that it has nothing to do with the current healthcare system.
This is like arguing that allowing federal funding for abortions means that people are going to use "free abortions" as some sort of birth control. Such an attitude is based in a fundamental disrespect for humanity.
Poor people are obese because many of them don't have proper grocery stores in their area, but they do have plenty of convenience stores that sell predominantly snack foods with little nutritional value and high amounts of fat and calories. A poor person trying to feed themself or a family can get enough food at McDonald's for less money than they can at the grocery store, but you can't live exclusively on McDonald's food without becoming unhealthy. Further, after most of a lifetime of eating this way, it takes substantial education and training on how to eat in a nutritional manner.
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution show has segments where he goes into the household of an overworked parent to show the family how to shop for nutritional food and how to prepare it. There are many working class famliies where the parent kinda knows that pizza, McDonald's, and all of the quick frozen foods in the supermarket aren't the best thing for their kids, but they're too exhausted and overwhelmed to make a drastic change in their lives without the impetus of an intervention of some kind. That might be Jamie Oliver showing up, or it might be your second child being diagnosed with diabetes. These exhausted parents not only have to figure out how to find time and money to shop and cook, but they also have to deal with kids who are used to eating pizza and twinkies and aren't onboard with making a healthy change. Oftentimes, the acting-out behavior of the annoyed kids is a direct behavioral effect of a crappy diet for many years, so it's not as easy as just reasoning with the kid.
I was a guest instructor at a college in northwestern Pennsylvania where I was amazed at the relative poverty in the non-college community. The town had two concentric rings of fast-food restaurants; I'd never seen that much fast-food per capita in my life before. All of the ads on the radio for the supermarkets were for steep discounts on 'family-sized' bags of chips, frozen food, Pepsi, and other junk food. The non-nutritional food was discounted, while the produce and nutritional food wasn't. The message was that you should feed your family on potato chips, Tator Tots, and Diet Coke.
I was on an Indian Reservation last year and visited the grocery store for the reservation. It was a large store filled with sugar and junk food, and their produce section was a converted ice cream cooler. Most of the produce there was iceberg lettuce, baby carrots, and unappealingly old cucumbers and peppers, and it was surrounded by much better-looking non-nutritious food. Not only was the selection relatively tiny, it was wholly unappealing in its quality. It's no surprise that rates of diabetes on the reservation are staggering.
This isn't simply a willful lack of health, this is a lack of access to quality goods at an affordable price, and access has been so scarce for generations for the poor that there simply isn't a culture of healthy food preparation any longer. Many poor people don't know how to cook more than a plate of spaghetti or frozen dinner, and their store-bought ragu may very well be non-nutritious itself. When students are broke, the go-to thing used to be Top Ramen noodles, which have next to no nutritional content. It very rarely is rice and beans, homemade tortillas, and vegetables from the garden.
Going back to healthcare, a parent trying to deal with a kid with kidney failure isn't going to disrespect healthcare more because s/he doesn't have to pay for it. That parent will be grateful for having some means to protecting the child's life. You're making assertions from the point-of-view of a single male. I don't know if that's what you are, but poor people with families are just as concerned about the health and welfare of their children as any other families. They simply lack access to the means of ensuring that health and welfare.