Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eat More Broccoli

One of the more amusing, hyperventilated, and ridiculous, aspects of the Supreme Court arguments on the Republican health care mandate adopted by President Obama for his Affordable Health Care Act are the arguments about broccoli and slippery slopes. The argument is if the government can fine you if you don't purchase health insurance, they can require you to buy broccoli. The image of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange droog's mouth being clamped open and force-fed broccoli comes to mind.

Eating broccoli is a good thing and should be encouraged, not demonized. If more people ate broccoli, we'd all be better off. Broccoli farmers would be better off, consumers of broccoli would be better off and healthier. And the cheese sauce industry would also benefit. Broccoli should be served in public schools: not the dull green mushy over cooked broccoli we may remember, but the bright green crisp delicious broccoli that we should all love. Broccoli should be exalted, not slippery-sloped to a dull green mushy death.

According to my favorite online excyclopedia, "Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium.[7] A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C.[8] The 3,3'-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.[9][10] Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled.[11] Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells." The best way to cook is to steam it for 3-4 minutes.

So, anyway, broccoli is taking a beating in the Supreme Court.

And another thing. Many among us demand the freedom to incur severe brain damage from helmetless insuranceless motorcycle accidents. The freedom to incur $1 million vegetative state comatose patient care so that the health insurance premiums I pay will cover your freedom to die gradually in a hospital ward is an expensive one for me. The irony is that many of these constitutionalist freedom folks are the ones fighting the various "right to die" legislations that are introduced in the states from time to time. So people appear to demand the freedom to not purchase health insurance and to die from brain trauma, yet oppose the right to die in consult with a physician. They want the right to ride helmetless without health insurance, the right to smoke, the right to drink to excess, and the right to have me pay for it all. The apparent contradictions are many. It's all very nuanced, as my lawyer friends may point out, I'm sure.

So, broccoli and the health care mandate are taking a beating these days. Insurance companies want the right to deny persons with pre-existing conditions coverage and the right to kick people off their insurance plans if they incur expensive illnesses. And Republicans are opposing their own health care mandate concept in the Supreme Court.

In conclusion, I say: Medicare for All! Wear a helmet! Quit Smoking! and above all, Eat Broccoli.


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