Discussion Response - kelvin777 - 80027

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For this response:  Imagine that your classmate is a state policy maker.  Your task is to explain to this policy maker why the identified U.S. state or city health policy example is, or is not, accurately described as a “nanny state.” Be as specific as you can in your explanation and avoid overly broad statements.  Based on your reading of the above Sorian& Baugh, Health Affairs article, conclude by indicating where you would direct this state policy maker for more information.

            Format of post:  Your post should be 1-2 full paragraphs in length with appropriate references as needed.


Classmate states:

A nanny state is an emotionally charged term used to describe governmental oversight into personal lives.  The term insinuates the government is trying to act as a nanny would to their juvenile charges and instruct the citizens on proper behavior.  I think using this term to describe the New York City trans fat regulations is an inaccurate characterization of the regulation.  There are two main reasons the term “nanny state” is an unfair description of the regulation.  As learned through regulatory process, it is hard to identify trans fats without the packaging of all the ingredients that make up a restaurant food.  Consumers often did not have the information necessary to even decipher if there was trans fat in the food they were purchasing.  In this way the regulation served as consumer protection because inadequate data was available.  Additionally, the role of the government is to protect the populace.  There is significant precedent of government introducing regulation against harmful ingredients in food, such as cocaine in soft drinks.  In the trans fat scenario, the officials took great care to investigate whether they were actually changing the taste of the food or simply how it was made proving they were just trying to act on medical information to protect the populace.

New York does have a history of being leading edge in food regulations. They passed the first law in the United States mandating apple cider sold in the state be pasteurized that became effective in 2007 (Halloran, 2011).  While the FDA and other states were considering the issue at the time, they had chosen to focus on education instead of mandatory pasteurization because of the cost of the equipment.  This example of a more clear example of government overreach resembling a nanny state because New York went straight to a mandatory requirement that caused significant cost to the business owners.  In contrast, in the trans fat example, New York City only moved to mandatory regulation after a year of consumer and business owner education was unsuccessful.


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