Tariana Turia got her stomach stapled to tackle her diabetes and it seems to have worked. She wants more people to get the operation. If stomach stapling is a cost-effective way to treat diabetes and will prevent the need for other medical care I think that’s great.
What I don’t want to see happen is Turia’s latest dumb-ass suggestion: a cigarette tax specifically to fund more stomach-stapling operations. That would be a ludicrous intrusion by politicians into the decision-making of the medical experts regarding how the resources they have should be used to greatest effect.
This government already as a bad record in this area – leaning over the shoulders of PHARMAC’s experts to decide that funding should go to Herceptin for purely political reasons rather than on other drugs that would have led to better outcomes for the same spending. We’re seeing the same attitude in education as national standards are imposed against near total opposition from teachers, education experts, and, increasingly, parents. We don’t want more of this ‘politicians know best’ government interfering in decisions that ought to be left to the experts.
By all means discourage smoking more. By all means increase health funding. But don’t tell the medical experts what operations take precedence for the available resources.