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NYC Gives Fast Food For TB Treatment

In the rush of events we almost missed this gem from the New York Post:

Hypocrisy on menu as nanny city doles out fast-food chits


October 13, 2009

Maybe fatty foods aren’t so bad after all.

While Mayor Bloomberg was banning trans fats and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts, his Health Department was dishing out free coupons to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Post has learned.

Since 1993, eight years before Bloomberg took office, the agency has been giving out $5 vouchers to the fast-food joints, along with round-trip MetroCards and coupons to variety stores, to encourage tuberculosis patients to return to clinics around the city for six-month treatment programs.

The agency says TB cases in the city have dropped 75 percent since patients started receiving the freebies, but a former department employee who managed TB control when the incentives began trashed the program.

"It’s a big hypocrisy when they’ve been campaigning against people eating that stuff," the ex-employee said.

"The hypocrisy is that the city launches a campaign, as you well know, of making restaurants list calories and all that, while at the same time they themselves are proliferating free McDonald’s incentive cards."

The ex-employee said he railed against it at the time because he felt "ridiculous being part of an operation handing out high-calorie gifts when my own bosses were campaigning against it."

The assistant commissioner in charge of the TB program, Chrispin Kambili, defended the vouchers’ success in reducing the highly contagious disease.

"One of the things that people found attractive for them to come to the clinics was that they got food coupons," Kambili said. "When you give people enablers or incentives, you have a better follow-up index."

Patients receive the MetroCards throughout the treatment program and get the coupons once they complete it, he said.

"Sometimes, we’re somewhat limited in terms of what we can give to individuals," Kambili added, when asked why the agency chooses fast-food restaurants.

"I, personally, would like to ensure that it doesn’t seem like we’re being hypocrites . . . We’re not encouraging unhealthy eating; what we’re encouraging is for people to take their TB medication."

He said the agency is currently evaluating the program and considering healthier eateries.

Over the past 10 fiscal years, the city has spent $3.3 million on the TB giveaways, which also include coupons for variety stores and bookstores, but less than $300,000 of that total came from tax dollars, said agency spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti.

The amount given to each patient differs depending on individual progress, but the average patient receives $130 worth of free food and $580 in MetroCards, Scaperotti said.

Of course the critics of the program are not complaining about having to bribe people to get their free treatment for their otherwise fatal diseases.

No, he would like the incentives to be for nicer restaurants, like the Cafe Des Artistes and Tavern On The Green. (Both of which could have used the business, since the first has had to close its doors and the latter has filed for bankruptcy.)

But, alas this is just another parable from the strength that comes from diversity. Another glittering gem in the gorgeous mosaic.

And surely a harbinger of more great things to come under Obama-care.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “NYC Gives Fast Food For TB Treatment”

  1. wardmama4 says:

    Forget the outright hypocrisy – let us (you know, We The People) demand that programs like this (which you know are on the taxpayers dime – and probably 75% of the ‘patients’ are illegal aliens) and the other night on FNC – about the tax subsidies to pay for virtually empty small planes to fly into small airports are eliminated now.

    This kind of crappola liberal waste of taxpayers dollars is what got me interested in politics in the first place – finding out We The Taxpayers were still paying a wool subsidy from WWI in the 1970s and also a helium subsidy (to one plant in TX I think) from WWII.

    Come on – cut these idiotic and pork laden (like the John Murtha one trip a week tribute airport) from the budget – and maybe then America can do both some vital social programs (I have no problem with assistance and medical care for the elderly and disabled) and defense of the Nation.

    Without our taxes rising to confiscatory levels.

    • proreason says:

      We will never know the true cost of hidden subsidies and disguised transfer payments, but somebody should begin adding it all up. As the article points out, it isn’t just the federal government. The states and cities are heavily involved.

      And there are other huge hidden transfer payments that don’t ever hit the government’s books. Examples are the estimated $8,000 each family of 4 pays in health care costs because the government underpays Medicare and because hospitals are required to give emergency care to anybody who walks in.

      The huge costs associated with the mortgage loan crisis are also subsidized by us far beyond what TARP is doing. All of those costs to process the bankruptcies are buried in the banks cost structures. WE pay for those costs in higher mortgage rates, higher bank fees, and lower interest rates.

      Lunatic lawsuits also add huge amounts of costs, not just to medical costs, but every other industry as well.

      I believe all of those hidden transfer costs are in the trillions of dollars annually, probably seeral trillion. And a very heavy percentage is pure graft and waste.

      Without all of this politically motivated crap, the cost of living would probably be 1/2 of what it is today.

    • wardmama4 says:

      Yes – in Liberty & Tyranny – Levin lays out how the Statist (i.e. liberal) passed legislation that lead to the housing problem, the energy problem and of course the entitlement problems – which have in turn lead to the economy plunging to the gutter. Step by step by step the DNC has systematically ruined every business system out there (through regulation and taxes) and plundered and squandered our National labor and creativity and value – until We The People will stand up and say NO MORE.

      These programs are aimed at people who are ignorant and the liberals have aimed for decades (thank you for another disaster President Carter) to dumb down as much of the population as they can – so the ignorant stand in line in Detroit for ‘Obama’s money’ – and the hard working tax payers can only shake their heads in disgust that a human would allow themselves to be so damn stupid on purpose. And to continue to elect into office people who willingly encourage them to remain so damn stupid and view not only them but anyone else not a politician (most especially a Dem politico) as so damn stupid.

      Are Term Limits so out of the question – since they lie, cheat and use ACORN & SEIU to steal elections (oh and of course the msm) – that we can at least move them out of office before it’s too late. They require the rest of us to retire at 65 – why the hell don’t they?

  2. Confucius says:

    Maybe this is why fast food is not good for you.

    It’s not the salt and the fat. It’s the person coughing TB all over you and your fries!

    Would you like that super-sized?

    • sandztorm says:

      LOL. WTH, you would think the CDC would want them in low populated areas.. Why not give them vouchers to the McDonalds in British Columbia?

  3. MinnesotaRush says:

    Spot on, Steve …

    “Of course the critics of the program are not complaining about having to bribe people to get their free treatment for their otherwise fatal diseases.”

    Look at the dunderheads on BOTH sides of this program ..

    “”One of the things that people found attractive for them to come to the clinics was that they got food coupons,”

    Savings one’s life just ain’t enuff these days .. gotta have the fast food.

    “When you give people enablers or incentives, you have a better follow-up index.”

    Ya s’pose ACORN has started passin’ out TB tabs?!?!?

  4. canary says:

    Bloomberg should be institutionalized.

  5. Georgfelis says:

    As Conservative as I am, I have to give super-size Kudos to the NYC Health Department for having an effective way of treating a nasty contagious disease, despite the fact the “effective” clashes with their nanny-state morals.

    And a value-sized kudo to Bloomberg’s minions for not killing the program when they ascended to their positions of power. Yet.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Though I see your point, I respectfully disagree. It smacks of the “sheeple” mentality and waving a carrot in front of the masses to get them to obey.

      Granted, the outcome of such actions is desirable.

      However, it’s “not what ya do…but how ya do it” that bothers me.

      I see both sides of the argument here and honestly, it just deeply disturbs me that no amount of getting the word out or educating the masses would ever work like “dem free french fries”. As evidenced by the recent applications for “free money” in Detroit.

      Very pathetic.

      Healthcare is an individual responsibility. Alas, when you live in a nation as free as this one, even stupid people have the right to make their own choices and now the rest of us reap the results of that. Our less-than-capable voters made their choices much the way they would decide on what outfit to wear: The cool one or the one that makes the most sense.

    • proreason says:

      Why not visits with prostitues? That would pull em in even better than fries. And it would stimulate the economy in a lot of ways as well.

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