This is what you get, reports the Journal Sentinel, when you turn over the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to a right-wing Visiting Fellow from the Heritage Foundation named Dennis Smith:
The state is blocking plans by the Milwaukee Health Department and University Health Services in Madison to apply for federal grants that would provide about $27.5 million for health programs designed to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes.You don't get life-saving, science-driven smoking cessation, diabetes prevention and anti-obesity efforts.
You get ideology.
Gov. Walker and Smith don't want to have anything to do with federal health policy and reforms emanating from Washington (read: credit to Obama), even though Wisconsin rates poorly on some lifestyle and survivability indices and preventative health-care extends life while saving money in the longer-run..
To Smith, who's been in Wisconsin for six months, it's all bothersome stuff.
"Why are we asking for taxpayers' money for stuff that we are already doing?" he asked. "How long have people been doing tobacco cessation, for heaven's sake? This is stuff that goes on all the time."Smith's departmental website suggests that the smoking cessation stuff in Wisconsin still has a ways to go:
Nearly 7,000 people die annually from illnesses directly related to smoking and approximately 751 die from illnesses and fires indirectly related to smoking, for a total of 7,717 annual deaths in Wisconsin. Tobacco use also costs Wisconsin approximately $4.5 billion annually in health care expenses and lost productivity. This website provides information and links to tobacco use prevention and tobacco addiction treatment resources in Wisconsin.So I guess we're doing a heckuva job addressing the other stuff, right Brownie...er, Dennis?
Again, Smith is contradicted by his own department's posting
More information, touting prevention, based on programs run by taken Smith's department:
Diabetes is a costly, complex, and devastating chronic illness that poses a major public health problem. It is the seventh leading cause of death in Wisconsin. Annually, diabetes costs Wisconsin adults an estimated $5.26 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.
Each year, more than 1,200 Wisconsin residents die from diabetes and many more suffer disabling complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. This burden is higher among minority populations. Much of the health and economic burden of diabetes can be averted through known prevention measures.
Roughly one in four Wisconsin residents are obese, according to a report last year from the Trust for America's Health - a nonprofit organization that focuses on disease prevention - and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The state also has the nation's highest rate of obesity - 44% - for adult African-Americans, according to the study. Mississippi had the second-highest rate.In January, I wrote that Walker's choice of Smith was "troubling."
Sorry for having understated it.
A paper of his that Heritage posted last year calls "Obamacare" a "power grab."
From the abstract:
The enormous expansion of federal power that will result from “Obamacare” will have far-reaching effects on the traditional roles and authority of states—and on the freedoms of American citizens. When governors and state legislators realize that they have been reduced to mere tax collectors for the federal government, bipartisan opposition from the states will be inevitable.As I said, turn over policy-making to these folks and you get ideology.
While we're chewing on that, feel free to have a cigarette.
Go ahead and supersize that soft drink and cheeseburger, 'cuz no one from the UW or the Milwaukee Health Department is gonna get all Nanny State in your stuff.