Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Study: Clean Vehicles Will Slash Health Care Costs

I've heard some in the media say that Congress can't take on solving the problem of our skyrocketing health care/insurance costs at the same time as it takes on the urgent need to transition America to clean energy and solve climate change.

It's lazy thinking, considering how climate change and clean energy solutions will also help to slash our nation's health care costs.

Take for example this new study that found that vehicle pollution can cause heart disease and strokes:

Los Angeles residents living near freeways experience a hardening of the arteries that leads to heart disease and strokes at twice the rate of those who live farther away, a study has found.

The paper is the first to link automobile and truck exhaust to the progression of atherosclerosis -- the thickening of artery walls -- in humans. The study was conducted by researchers from USC and UC Berkeley, along with colleagues in Spain and Switzerland, and published this week in the journal PloS ONE.

How is it that elected officials in Congress can't make these connections and see how climate change and clean energy solutions will actually help drive down health care costs, and thus health insurance costs?  After all, our own National Academy of Sciences found that dirty energy inflicts $120 billion per year in health costs on our economy.  Opponents of Health Insurance Reform in Congress are blinded by the need for money to fuel their re-election bids, I assume...

Again, this is why real campaign finance reform -- getting money out of politics and giving each candidate an equal public budget to run a campaign -- is crucial for making our system effective at devising policy solutions that improve lives and businesses.  Let merit and ideas decide who wins elections, not (what's essentially and sure looks like) bribery.

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