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Can’t Help But Wonder

I can’t help but wonder what happens to one of my favorite past times if we get a government run healthcare system in the U.S. In July 2007, I bought a four door Jeep Wrangler. I can’t even tell you how therapeutic I find it to drive with the top off and the windows open under the clear blue skies of the Land of Enchantment.

I’ve put nearly 60,000 miles in the first two years of ownership criss-crossing the state. Sometimes I did it for business, sometimes for fun. Actually, no matter what the purpose, I always had fun. Especially those trips that took me on dirt roads with nothing but the cows and deer for company.

The first month or two I had the vehicle the doors were off as well, but my always sensible wife ruled that the kids were forbidden to drive with me if there were no doors on the vehicle. So, that didn’t last too long. [Note to lawmakers enacting revenue generating schemes: No law had to be passed to protect our children.]

Okay, you’re wondering what does driving with a topless Jeep have to do with government run healthcare? That’s a fair enough question. Consider this new medical study released on the potential damage to hearing provided by convertibles [hat tip: NewMexiKen]:

Convertible lovers who take to the open road with the top down may be risking hearing damage, according to a new study out of the U.K.

“If you are exposed for long periods above 85 decibels [of sound], you have the potential for hearing loss,” says Philip Michael, MD, an ear-nose-throat surgeon at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcestershire, U.K., and the study’s lead author. In his study, he found that the noise level with the top down was higher than 85 decibels. “The maximum noise was at 70 miles per hour and that was 89 decibels. It has the potential for causing long-term hearing loss.”

To put those decibel levels in context, a normal conversation is about 60 decibels; a rock concert is about 115 decibels.

Well, once the government is running the healthcare system is it too far fetched to consider that they might outlaw the use of convertibles, or rock concerts for that matter, to cut costs related to hearing loss? I don’t think so. Remember our own Senator Bingaman has already made the point:

If the government is going to be involved in the far end… I don’t see why it’s inappropriate for the government to encourage healthy behavior up front.

Time and time again, we allow the government to extend its reach into our lives without giving much thought to the precedent that sets for further intrusions. If you enjoy cranking up the stereo while driving your convertible, and eating an occasional fast food burger, fries and a large chocolate shake, you may want to give a second thought to the implications of a government run healthcare system.