The Tea Party Guide to Health & Fitness

Pretty much everyone affiliated with the Tea Party movement hates “Obamacare”

To them, publicly funded health care means:

  • increased taxes
  • inferior health care services
  • a decreased level of American health & fitness
  • and an increase in big government gravedigger jobs

And they’re not happy about it.

But, thanks to their libertarian / Ayn Randian roots, a growing minority of Tea Partiers have decided to fight back by taking control of their own health & fitness.

Instead of waiting for an Obamacare Death Panel to come and put them out of their misery, top level Tea Partiers have already taken the first step by contacting yours truly and asking me to create a…

Tea Party Guide to Health & Fitness

For the past 3 months, we have been beta testing the program on a small number of Tea Party elite.

So far, things are going great.

A certain high ranking female member of the movement has whipped herself into a Wonder Woman-esque level of health & fitness, while another famous Tea Partier no longer gets winded during his radio show.

Blood pressures are down and bench press weights are up.

In short, it’s been a great success.


  1. It is going to be amazing if some how the tea party becomes a catalyst for kicking off a healthy wave in the US won’t it? I am high on personal responsibility myself, that is why I dislike socialized medicine. Everyone will be paying for everyone else, if a person smokes, drinks, does drugs, or is just flat out lazy and eats terrible its the same rate as if your a super athlete that eats only organic foods.

  2. […] The Tea Party Guide to Health and Fitness – One of the reasons why Health Habits has been a popular success over the past few years is Doug’s unique and entertaining yet always sardonic social commentary on issues related to health, fitness, and obesity.  Health issues always seem less complex when we as individuals take more initiative and responsibility… […]

  3. wow. that’s not a little biased. it’s great to encourage people to exercise but really?! not everyone that gets sick did something to deserve it. i’m sure each of you know someone with cancer. do you want them to get the care they need? can you afford a $10,000 dollar procedure? god forbid, your medical costs exceed $100,000. it ads up faster than you’d think. what if it was you that was sick? really. shame on you.

  4. That sounds nice and all, but how do we afford to do everything everyone wants? It is not possible. I am not an uncaring person, I know there are things that happen that are out of our control and we have things already in place to catch the worst issues already. In a broader scale, how are you going to honestly and rationally make this work for everyone? There are actually procedures out there that even the wealthiest can barely afford; does everyone get entitled to these? What about people who are illegally in the US? Should they be en-titled to everything citizens get? Where do you draw the line?

    Not to mention that every $1 that is spent by the US government, 50 cents of that is wasted right off the top with bureaucracy and corruption. Private companies do not have such a huge loss right from the start like the government; therefore the money is better spent. Also in the US we are the most upwardly mobile nation in the world, if you don’t have insurance if you bust your butt and work hard you can get a new job with insurance. Even McDonalds has some insurance, UPS has insurance, and many other lower paying jobs.

    So I ask you, who’s system works? What socialized system appears to be deficit neutral for the next 20 years? There are none, and while health is not all about money, can you honestly say with debt like this: that it is time to start paying for everyone’s healthcare?

    Frankly I don’t know what the world knows about the tea party as your probably spoon fed lies (I can’t even get Fox news on the TV here in Vancouver), but its not right wing Nazi’s leading this movement. I know some of the media in the US tried to say the tea party was racist and have downplayed every rally as if it were a few people getting together, but this is a very firm movement with good, average, ordinary people leading it. There is a huge part of the movement that is made up of independent/libertarians that are just fed up with insane spending that will make us a third world country in the coming decades unless its reigned in. We also want less government, instead of taking our $ and spending it how you think is best, let us make our OWN decisions with OUR money. If the founders of the US were still alive, we would be in revolt right now! The whole reason the US has worked in the past is because we are not a welfare state, we encourage people to work hard and make their own destinies.

  5. Seriously? How about the other 50% of this country that doesn’t agree with the Tea Party? That are turned off by people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (last time I checked, we didn’t vote her ticket into office.)

    This is all pretty funny given that one of the frequent complaints about the healthcare plan was that it would give us a Canadian-style healthcare plan. I’m also not sure how to contrast this with articles on the site that discuss how European countries are generally healthier than Americans.

    I dunno…do you really want to wade into the middle of really politically charged argument?

    Here’s an idea: People decide to get in shape for reasons other than political, and suddenly merging the two is really lame.

  6. These same arguments were used when medicare was being debated but I don’t know any senior Americans who would give it up now.

  7. Deb, once you give something away, it is very hard to change it. Check out France right now, cars are being turned over in the streets because they want to raise retirement age by 2yrs. It is now their endeared right, they will fight to keep it even if it bankrupts the country.

    Also the new healthcare will cut Medicare anyways, if you read all the fine print. And it’s bankrupt by 2017 already anyways, again not well enough thought out and/or corruption has taken it’s toll.

  8. Sadly we in australia seem to be going the way of American health care and if you are wealthy you can go to private hospitals and get good care quickly. The public hospitals are overcrowded and you have to wait ages unless it is an absolute emergency. When I nursed in the UK I saw the NHS system work well and it meant that rich and poor were offered excellent medical care. Surely that is a fair system. there will always be those who could abuse the system but that is no reason to not offer the poor good health care too.
    Patricia Perth Australia

  9. We have many things to help out people in the US already; in fact I am not wealthy myself and I know a lot of people that are using them. Based on my experience, only about 20% of the people on these programs REALLY and TRULY need it. For instance, one of my uncles is on disability for his back…yet one of his favorite hobbies is working on his truck. That includes crawling around underneath it, arching his back over the hood, and other things that should really painful for his “hurt” back. He has been judged that he cannot work because of his back, but he sure can tinker! Another guy tried to claim he lived in California because the disability checks were 50% more than where he actually lives; again he could also do something at a job somewhere in my opinion. Many others that are struggling will often say “but we are trying to get on disability” like it’s some sort of lotto game. One guy claimed he just could not find a job anywhere and was asking for help because he was in “dire straits”, my Dad told him to go to this store where they were going to pay him $8/hr to hold a sign in front of it. All he had to do is hold a sign, he could have even brought a chair and sat in it the entire time, he acted interested but never showed up for the job. These people are not handicapped to the point of needing assistance; they are just too used to being giving hand outs that it is all they know! Again, in my experience about 80% of these people could do SOMETHING but choose instead to NOTHING and use the system. It is these people that drag the system down and waste our money, there is a point when you just keep giving someone things for free that you are just ENABLING them to continue their destructive lifestyle. Which IMHO is heartless, we should try to actually HELP people not oppress them by dictating the standards they will accept. Sometimes you have to hit bottom before you wake up and realize what needs to be done.

    The US has the best doctors and medical services around, I know there are some surveys or whatever that claim we don’t, but look where the heads of state and other foreign dignitaries go for their treatment of critical diseases. It’s not Canada, Cuba, or France. The overall health of US citizens, if it is even truly lower then some European companies, is because we have too much excess which makes it possible to never eat a vegetable, walk more than 100ft, and there are burgers and fries on every corner. It is not the healthcare but the lack of needs that is causing us to be obese, and the fact that we have decent lifespan scores is a tribute to that healthcare.

    The reason US doctors are so good is because they can achieve whatever they desire to achieve, they can make millions if they apply themselves. Once you start giving out healthcare for free, there will be limits on what the doctors can make because you have to control the cost in some shape or you will be bankrupt tomorrow, let me ask you a question…if your boss came to you and said, I know you make $50k a year but the government says I can only pay you $35k a year due to regulations, are you more likely or less likely to continue to work hard at your job? Is there any point in doing your best other then self gratification? I have doctor friends; most of their colleagues are older and have their retirement in place. They are telling my friends that if they start getting capped or otherwise hamstringed they will just retire. They don’t have to work. A doctor retiring early is a bad thing, when you are already expecting shortages: and now we are adding another 30-50 million into the system. Now let us go back to what I was saying about capping what a doctor can charge, do you think that students are more or less likely to choose to go through the grueling education to become a doctor, taking on most likely 100k+ in debt, if they are going to be capped on what they can earn?

    The problem with socialism is that it zaps the need to achieve anything. You can get by with the bare minimum and why would you even try harder if there is no chance of reward? Even with socialism there are the haves and have nots, it is just a little different spread and the lucky ones are people in the government.

    IMHO with these changes we have a perfect storm to water down and lower the quality of care to European style healthcare. Sure everyone gets covered but nobody will be happy.

    About the supposed “50% do not agree with the tea party” I don’t think that is an accurate number at all. 4 in 10 tea party members are registered Democrats, and a majority of independents and libertarians are in favor of the tea party. Again this is a wholly organic movement full of the normal average citizens who are fed up with the way things are going. It is not scary, if you want scary try reading about Eugenics and the progressive movement, that direction is where Hitler was going. It is funny how conservatives are always labeled as the crazy ones that want to oppress people, but if you look at the real history and real ideas of the left they are far less caring and far more likely to oppress those who do not agree with them.

  10. Again, I’m just going to point out that I came here because this is a fitness blog, not a political one, and it’s really, really, REALLY sad if that’s what this is going to turn into.

  11. Ken,

    Not every article in my little blog appeals to every reader.

    Technically, Health Habits is a health & fitness blog.

    And the changes happening to the American healthcare system is one of the most impactful events to happen to America (and Americans) in a long time.

    If it wasn’t for the recession, soaring unemployment and the War on Terror, the shift in American health care would be the #1 news story each and every night.

    And yes, it is a political story. But it is also a health story and one that I am interested in.

    As a Canadian, public health care is one of our national obsessions (along with beer, hockey & beaver)

    Up here, the healthcare debate is the opposite of the American version. We have one group of people who want to see our system include a private / for profit option. Opposing that pov, is a large group of “patriotic” Canadians who believe that public healthcare has to remain 100% public.

    And both sides believe that the other side is populated by a bunch of idiots.

    Kind of like the U.S. debate.

    Okay, enough of my rambling and back to your complaint.

    Let me set your mind at ease – HH isn’t going to become a political blog.

    But, seeing as this is my own little personal space to yammer on incessantly about whatever health/fitness topic that crosses my brain, I will probably write the occasional article about the stupid and/or brilliant decisions politicians have when it comes to the health of their constituents.

  12. For the record, this is MY position on public v.s private healthcare.

    I don’t care if the service is delivered by government paid doctors or insurance company paid doctors.

    Governments are known to be inefficent
    Insurance companies are known to be heartless.

    All I want is the best healthcare at the best possible price.

    At the end of the day, it’s people (doctors) trying to keep other people (patients) alive.

    The profit incentive built into the American system encourages innovation. That’s good. American medical inventions eventually find their way into public healthcare systems around the world – so thank you USA.

    However, the profit incentive also leads to insurance companies doing some pretty evil shit (pardon my french). That’s bad.

    What you end up with is a system where your level of treatment is determined by your level of income.

    And on a personal level, that seems pretty fair. If you can’t afford a heart transplant, why should I pay for it.

    However, like the poet said – No man is an island.

    Our towns, countries, planet is one big entangled mess of people working hard to make products or deliver service to other people in order to eke out a living for ourselves.

    What you do affects everyone else in some teeny, tiny way. (for example, all those people who hate the American healthcare system don’t mind reaping the benefits of the resultant medical technology)

    So, if money was no object (it is – I know), but if money was no object, it would be obvious that it is in everyone’s best interest to help other people stay healthy and productive.

    That guy on your street who lost his home because he got sick and his insurance company refused to cover the cost of treatment may have one day invented a perpetual motion engine.

    No more debates over peak oil.

    But, because he’s now homeless, instead of building a perpetual motion engine, he sleeps in a van down by the river.

    In the end – big net loss to the planet, America, his hometown and you.

    So, what’s my point?

    Neither system is perfect.
    Neither system is imperfect.

    And when douchebag political hacks choose politics over common sense, I get pissed off.

    In my opinion, the people (via their government) should set standards for the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry (doctors, nurses, technicians, inventors, researchers) should talk with the people about what is realistic for what cost.

    Screw the bureaucrats – gov’t, hospital, insurance, pharma, etc…

    They’re the ones screwing up both the public & private healthcare systems.

    Anyway, that’s my OPINION.

  13. Just to shed more light on how I see things, I don’t think the government has anything to do with whether a person will succeed in life or fail. I think that is 100% owned by the individual. If you look at champions of any sport, it is typically not just their genetic attributes that allow them success, it is usually more what is in their heart and soul and how they handle adversity. It doesn’t matter if they face someone who is stronger, faster, or more skilled they will find a way to victory or if they fail will find victory later on by learning from their mistakes. Again, it is 100% wholly determined by the person and what is in their heart and soul.

    This is why I do not see the government needing to provide anything other than basic services and protection, diamonds are not created in the open air they are created under pressure. I know people who have had to work 3 jobs to make ends meet, yet I know people who avoid working even 1 job and just let things go into default. What is the difference between these two people? It is not that one is getting government assistance and the other is not, it is what is in the heart and soul of the individuals that makes the difference. BOTH control their OWN destinies equally.

    There are people in the US who have received government mortgage assistance because of the housing collapse because everyone thought with a hand out it will allow them to get back onto their feet. Guess what, some of these mortgages are now 480+ days in default, the people never could have made the payments in the best of circumstances. We are paying for these people to live in houses they could have never afforded. I don’t know the specifics of every case but there were at one point people that make $30k a year buying $500k houses without a down payment, even if you take their entire salaries you would not be able to make the payments. This is abusive to the rest of the population who work and pay their mortgages and taxes.

    Also while there are injustices with health insurance companies, and I agree reform was needed in many areas, these companies typically only make 5% profit. 5% profit is nothing, your cell phone company typically makes twice that, the beverages you buy are usually five times that, and entertainment make exponentially more. And when you considering the inefficiencies of the act of doing business in the government, it is frightening to me to think what healthcare will really cost once the government actually runs every aspect of it. If private is doing it at 5% profit and it costs this much now, it is not out of the realm of possibilities that healthcare as a whole could cost 50% more in the next 5-10 years.

    The other problem is the whole thing is really a giant pyramid/ponzai scheme. Unless your population is growing by a stead amount year to year, you are going to have times when you do not have enough young entering the workforce to take care of the old. This means the young will pay more, no way around it. Japan has real issues with this; the US will soon have this problem with the baby boomers retiring. Again, put control back in our own control; let us form our own destinies.

    I said it before but I will say it again, I am not heartless and uncaring and I firmly believe that we need some stop gaps to help those who truly need the help. I just think right now there is a lot of abuse occurring and there needs to be better standards and enforcement of the rules. Also don’t forget that there are numerous charities as well, and that these thrive and help many people when people have the $ to share. Charities usually are very efficient also, because a lot of the labor is volunteer based.

  14. Doug, I whole heartedly agree with your comment. What we need is a system that is a middle ground for those that want 100% Public Healthcare and those that want private. Something that allows affordable healthcare to all while not clogging the system or stifling innovation. Will it actually be possible to create such a system maybe… will people ever agree enough to even think of implementing such a system… unfortunately, no.

  15. Socialized health care is failing around the world. Countries with socialized medicine are going bankrupt. There is a reason that nurses and doctors from around the world come here to practice. We have the best medicine because. If the government runs it, they not you will have the power to decide what you get done. Already,you will have to have an EHR (electronic health record) by 2014. It has already been mandated that this record will include you BMI. Why? So you can get hit with higher taxes or fines for being overweight? Maybe to determine if you “qualify” for certain procedures? Who knows, but it will be there. We all have to take responsibility for our own life and health. I know that not everyone that gets sick did something to cause it, but most did. As for cancer, there is no sign that that ancient peoples ever had cancer. Could we be causing that with our high fat diets and sedentary lifestyles? Maybe.
    End of story, the Government messes up everything else they do. I certainly do not want them in my health care.

  16. Ummmmm where do I begin?

    1. Are you implying that the global financial crisis was caused by socialized medicine and not the US housing crisis?
    2. The #1 destination for doctors & nurses is Canada –
    3. In Canada, I don’t HAVE to get a BMI if i don’t want one. It’s not communism…yet
    4. I agree 100% that ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health…except for those genetic causes, or accidents, or assaults, or those lifestyle diseases caused by poor nutrition….for those illnesses/injuries, there is a shared responsibility

    And yet, I agree that the government does a piss poor job at times.

    However, I would also argue that a health care system run by insurance companies does a pretty crappy job as well. If the pre-Obama healthcare system was so great, how come the average American dies 3 years earlier than the average Canadian? Very similar lifestyles, very different outcome.

    Designing an effective healthcare system is not a simplistic undertaking. That’s why it’s so frustrating when people rely on political ideology instead of objectively debating the merits of potential approaches.

  17. So I was thinking about this some more, one of the main things I am afraid of is that once the government runs it there will be cookie cutter methods that everyone must follow. For example right now you can put so much $ away and use it as tax free money for alternative medicines such as acupuncture, massage, supplements, chiropractors, and the like. Whether or not you agree with these methods you can bet when times get tougher these types of things will disappear and you will follow exact guidelines for whatever ailment you have, or will simply not be given any treatments. How long do you think the supplement industry can survive when the government is going to start having such a close relationship with big Pharm? They will be tied at the hip because the government will be pressuring big Pharm for lower prices, and in return big Pharm will pressure the government to “regulate” natural supplements thus increasing demand for their products and decreasing competition.

    This concerns me because look at the things the government has wrong about health already…low fat/low protein/high carb diets, RDA based on the bare minimums to keep you from getting a disease related to malnutrition rather than basing it on optimal levels, and height/weight charts which do not take into account muscular people. Take a look at the US government height/weight charts here: according to those I should weight 122(!) to 164lbs. Granted I am striving to get down to the 160-170lb range, but I will be very ripped at that weight and not really “normal” or average. At 122lbs I would be dead.

    And don’t doubt for one minute that if they know your BMI or other health numbers that they may use that against you in the future for higher taxes. It may sound sinister, but in a way I actually agree to this in theory, but I know in execution it will fail horribly. For example I would not mind if they detect nicotine in your system, or alcohol, other drugs, crispy crème or other foods in your blood tests that your rate will be different than those that do not have these in their systems. However this all falls apart when they start looking at height and weight, at a normal and healthy weight I would be overweight and thus most likely I would get surcharged for that when I might not be any worse off then any other person. Also what about us FIT but FAT people?

    If you are sitting there thinking it is none of their damn business about your eating habits, if you drink a beer here or there or eat a donut daily that is between you and your waist, but you would be wrong. They own, or will own in the coming years, healthcare now so everything relating to your health is their business. Congratulations. If you’re a privacy advocate, good luck because at some point nothing iwill be private anymore. Hopefully that does not evolve into a “1984” approach, where they try to make every person equivalent in every aspect.

  18. I’m going to keep this simple. You are WRONG on many fronts, but I’ll just point out one, so that my message doesn’t get lost in verbosity.

    You – “The profit incentive built into the American system encourages innovation.”

    Here’s an article that is trying to argue your point of view (common ‘wisdom’) about the incentives of profit being the driver of innovation.

    But in the middle of their argument they sneak in.

    “The NIH spends more than $30 billion annually on research in basic medical sciences, while its counterparts in Europe spend $3 billion to $4 billion annually.”

    The NIH is the government!! The government (you and me) is funding this research just like it funded the Internet. – notice the .gov at the end of the website.

    Other countries are passing us by, because we keep believing the talking points that are spoon fed to us by corporate media. Corporations have their place, but there are areas of life, where we as common men and women need to create our own destinies.

  19. Ryan,

    Are you saying that the profit incentive DOESN’T encourage innovation or that BOTH the private & public sectors can encourage innovation?

  20. 30 billion is not the extent of medical research funding in the US, it’s more around 140 billion, actually probably more but more on that later. The NIH/federal funding is just a portion of the total $ funding medical research, although it did grow under the American recovery and re-investment act considerably:

    However I am not sure how you determine what medical research funding is, for example Ford Motor Company at one point was spending 8-9 billion dollars per year on pure R&D. A large portion of this money was going to nanotechnology, which if you pay attention to the medical communality is becoming more important, each day. I am sure Ford is not the only ones, so how you properly determine where/how much funding for medical research is coming from/occurring I don’t know. Oh yeah btw, Ford is a private company also not a government backed entity.

    If there is no incentive to succeed, if the playing field is artificially level, why strive to make things better? Seriously? It is the same with the “there are no losers, only winners” mentality, no matter how hard you try there are always going to be people better at some things than others. That is part of life. Not everyone can be NBA basketball players, not everyone can be scientists or mathematicians, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It is up to each person to find them; it is not the government’s job to hold others back artificially because we feel inadequate if we are not able to do exactly what another person can do, it is their job to make the marketplace open enough for us to find a position in it that we are adequate and can have success. Why am I saying all of this? Because it boils down to profits are not bad, it is incentive to do better, incentive to dig down and find something new, innovate, discover, take risks, to quite literally get off our butts and do something rather than just meandering into existence. Also look at this another way, yes profits help a person short term, but the innovations and advancements that come from the drive behind these profits help everyone long term. If you ever want to get to a point where everyone has at least the bare minimums, it will only occur when our world advances far enough to make this cheap and easy enough to happen. Our world will not advance if everyone is given everything for free; there is no incentive and thus no drive to achieve.

  21. I just want to point out one point that seems to have been missed in this discourse…
    there is a HUGE sector of the American public that is caught in the crossfire! These are the people I call the “Walking Wounded” (WW for brevity purposes!)

    The WW work hard, often two jobs, to pay for their mortgage, car payments, and healthcare premiums. But on top of all of this, they pay the co-pays and deductibles for the internal medicines doctor, the cardiologist, the endocrinologist, the gastroenterologist, the neurologist, the ophthamologist, the nephrologist, the encologist…on and on…..And when they are done paying all of THOSE bills they go to the drug store and pay co-pays on their drugs which adds up to hundreds of dollars monthly. These people often pay huge amounts of taxes, do not clog the hospital waiting room, and jockey their work schedule to make it to their doctor’s appointments. They are compliant in taking their medications, except when the mortgage and car payments, car insurance, and electricity bills have to be paid first and they can’t afford the co-pay on their drugs on the same paycheck…

    So….one side says: “These folks deserve to have equal access to AFFORDABLE healthcare”, and the other side says “WORK! PAY TAXES!! BUT – we don’t want YOUR taxes to help pay for YOUR healthcare – you must pay MORE for your healthcare because you use the system!”

    I know this because I, myself, am a WW. I will have paid nearly $10,000 in federal taxes alone (without my husband’s contribution to the IRS) – these are not voluntary contributions, as you well know! I am forced to pay taxes to cover YOUR benefits of living in this country (clean water standards, clean air standards, laws protecting you from wrong-doers, fire, police, highway patrol, etc.) but you are not willing to also contribute to the same “pot” my tax dollars go into? What sort of narcissistic society are we producing here? We are ALL Americans. We need to stand TOGETHER for the good of ALL, not just the healthy or wealthy.

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