Is Everyone in Wisconsin Fat?

If we can reduce the number of people deferring medical care — or postponing it indefinitely — while at the same time managing to not go broke, this time next year we can look back at 2010 with pride.

This post is from on the road, in the heart of “The Heartland.”

In fact, it doesn’t get more “heartland” than Janesville, WI, about 30 minutes Southeast of Madison and two hours short of Chicago. Hence, its appeal (or more specifically, the roadside Hampton Inn about 9 p.m. last night).

Southeast — or Southeat?

This observation is not going to win me any local fans — but hey, I’m licensed to sell real estate in Minnesota, not Wisconsin.

As best I can tell, everyone in Wisconsin is fat.

Or at least everyone eating at the McDonalds’ where we stopped for dinner (parents, kids, grandparents — you name it), everyone working at the McDonald’s where we stopped for dinner, everyone getting gas and windshield wiper fluid at the gas station where we stopped, etc.

And no, no one’s looking in any mirrors.

In all seriousness, I’d say it’s progressed from something that’s become a minor national embarrassment to something that’s truly alarming.

When millions are obese, the solution isn’t for everyone to enroll at Weight Watchers; it’s for a change in the national culture, led from on-high (and dare I say by at least some of the corporations whose ox would be gored by a healthier America. I won’t name names, but they rhyme with Schmepsi and Schmairy Queen, to cite a few).

If you’re looking for a fundamental way to divide Americans these days, it’s not White or Black, Blue or Red, Main Street or Wall Street, or even fat and thin (although that’s my runner-up).

I submit, it’s between people who are deferring some needed medical treatment, and those who aren’t.

Put me in the latter category: on Monday, I’m upgrading glass prescriptions that I’ve now had 3 years.

Why the wait?

We maxed out our medical spending account in November, and it re-sets, full, on Jan. 1

Sacrifices, Minor (and Not)

As sacrifices and inconveniences go, that’s trivial.

My wife, a physical therapist, routinely has patients go long intervals without seeing her.

And it’s not because their cancer went away, or they miraculously recovered from that broken hip.

It’s because they can’t afford the co-pay. Or the babysitter. Or sometimes, even the parking in front of the hospital..

If we can prospectively manage to make the group deferring medical care — or postponing it indefinitely — a little smaller while at the same time managing to not go broke, this time next year we can look back at 2010 with pride.

Throw in punishing Wall Street (actually, I propose short-circuiting, or “routing around” it, in Internet parlance) and overhauling the U.S. financial system, and 2010 has the makings of a great year!

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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