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The Physicians Committee

Avoiding America’s Obesity Ceiling: Our Plan to Improve Health, Save Taxpayers Billions
August 4, 2011

After a long and difficult debate, Congress finally approved an agreement this week to raise the debt ceiling. The new plan hinges on making big cuts to the federal budget. But where can those savings be found? Let me offer a plan for budget reduction that Americans can get behind.

My team and I have suggested five painless cuts to federal food and agricultural programs that would save American taxpayers $383 billion over 10 years—and reduce obesity rates and health care costs for decades to come.

We propose eliminating a few out-of-date agricultural programs that end up encouraging Americans to eat even more meat, cheese, sugar, and other foods that we know contribute to killer chronic diseases.

Agricultural clean-up programs are just one example of ways that agribusiness pushes the costs of raising meat onto the federal government. Polluters should clean up after themselves—and there’s no reason for our government to make it easier for companies to produce cheap meat and cheese.

Here’s a quick look at our plan:

Policy Change Savings (Over 10 Years)
End Direct Agribusiness Payments $50 billion
Privatize Crop Insurance $70 billion
Make Factory Farms Clean Up Their Own Waste $9 billion
Reform SNAP (Food Stamps) $240 billion
Reform Commodity Food Purchases $14 billion
Total short-term savings:
$383 billion

Our clinical research team and many others have found that getting away from meat, cheese, and other high-fat animal products can help us fight disease—and can even help reverse some chronic diseases.

Federal policies should emphasize healthful vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This would help the two-thirds of Americans currently overweight, half of whom are obese.

Jillian Michaels, the no-nonsense health and wellness expert from television’s The Doctors, is joining me in challenging Congress to slim down the nation’s bulging budget. She just sent letters to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging them to cut subsidies to trim both the nation’s budget and Americans’ waistlines.

You can join us and write your own letter. Let Congress know that tax-funded food programs are making us sick >


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