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Mike Bloomberg on Health Care

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


Obesity kills more people than smoking; limit portion size

Q: On people who oppose your effort in the name of public health to limit portion size when it comes to sugary drinks: A judge has ruled against you, saying the law doesn't make sense, at the moment. How far will you take this push to limit how much soda you can drink in New York City?

BLOOMBERG: We're certainly appealing. We think the judge was just clearly wrong on this. Our department of health has the legal ability to do this. And we're not banning anything. All we're saying is, we want to show you just how big the cup is. If you want 32 ounces, take two cups to your seat. If you want 64, carry four. But our hope is, if you only take one, you won't go back.

Q: So haven't you even won in losing, though? Wasn't this really about public awareness?

BLOOMBERG: Obesity this year is going to kill more people in New York City than smoking.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 24, 2013

Large sugary drink rule is portion control, not a ban

Q: Your ban on these large sugary drinks goes into effect next week in New York. Some people are saying this is making it really hard on us, including Starbucks.

BLOOMBERG: That's ridiculous. Starbucks knows how to package things. They can change instantly when it's in their interest to do so. This is in the country's interest. This year, for the first time in the history of the world, more people will die from too much food than from too little food. More people will die from the effects of obesity than from starvation. And we've got to do something about this. This is going to bankrupt the country. Our medical system cannot handle it. Being overweight has gone from a rich person's disease to a poor person's disease. We've just got to do something. And all we're doing in NYC is reminding you that it's not in your interest to have too many empty calories. You can have some. If you want to have 32 ounces, just buy two 16-ounce cups. We're not banning anything. it's called portion control.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 10, 2013

2000: Two stents implanted in coronary artery

It wasn't until halfway through his 2nd term that New Yorkers learned their mayor had 2 stents implanted in a coronary artery the year before his 1st campaign. The heart blockage was revealed only because Newsweek's reporters dug into health records during Bloomberg's presidential flirtation. The stock market did not shudder at the news. But in a city that heard Rudy Giuliani reciting clinical descriptions of his prostate treatments and Ed Koch loudly proclaiming his fitness 72 hours after suffering a minor stroke, the "none of your business" Bloomberg manner came across as defiant and disdaining.

Bloomberg's obsessive search for privacy produces frequent disappearances when he is not campaigning for office. None of them ever announced--a privilege the president of the US does not enjoy.

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p. 69 , Sep 28, 2010

$500M to Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health

He gives to causes and institutions large and small, with a special focus on public health, education and medical research. In his favored field of health, he supports research into malaria, breast cancer, and ALS, and into less conspicuous diseases, including lupus, dystonia and Marfan syndrome.

By 2009, Bloomberg's cumulative contributions to Johns Hopkins had topped $500 million. His central focus at Hopkins is the celebrated School of Public Health that bears his name. He was drawn to public health because others were not. "Mike's a contrarian," says the university's president. "He gives to projects other people don't. He recognized the importance of public health before anyone else did. They don't realize they are living because they didn't get polio or smallpox or whatever. Mike understood that. He thinks in terms of how to move the needle, how to make a difference."

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J. Purnick, p.194-195 , Sep 28, 2010

Ban trans-fats and replace with fruit & vegetable vendors

Last year, we didn’t just ban trans-fats. We’ve increased the availability of healthy foods in neighborhoods where they are hardest to find and also raised the number of street vendors who sell fruit and vegetables.

This year, we will raise the quality of food served in every City agency--that’s nearly 1.5 million meals every single day of the year. We’ll also continue opening parks and playgrounds in every neighborhood, so that every New Yorker has no more than a 10-minute walk to enjoy them.

Source: 2008 State of the City Address , Jan 17, 2008

$2.5B trust fund for NYC future retirees’ health care

Consider this: the federal government requires cities and states to set aside funding for future retirees’ pensions--but not for future retirees’ health care, even though we have just as much of an obligation to pay their health care costs as we do their pensions. This makes no sense! So we’ve done something fairly unusual: we’ve set up a trust fund for future retiree health care costs, and we’ve dedicated $2.5 billion from our surplus to it. That’s just basic fiscal responsibility.
Source: Speech at “Ceasefire! Bridging The Political Divide” meeting , Jun 18, 2007

Pay-for-prevention towards goal of universal coverage

Everyone talks about universal health insurance coverage--and that’s an important goal. But it’s not going to change the underlying reality of a health care system that is both too expensive and too ineffective.

That’s why in NYC, not only have we dramatically increased health insurance coverage; we’re moving toward a ‘pay-for-prevention’ system of health-care that rewards primary care doctors who succeed in keeping people out of hospitals. A key step in doing this is providing prevention-oriented electronic health records to help doctors deliver better preventive care.

These records can also enable private insurers, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, to hold doctors accountable for their patients’ performance--and to pay more to the doctors who keep their patients healthy.

Source: Speech at “Ceasefire! Bridging The Political Divide” meeting , Jun 18, 2007

Prioritize city healthcare on HIV, diabetes & hypertension

Bloomberg is passionately interested in public health. He has donated millions of dollars to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Under Bloomberg, the city Health Department has made HIV, diabetes and hypertension priorities.

Bloomberg extended New York City’s smoking ban to all commercial establishments, including bars and nightclubs. In Dec. 2006, New York became the first city in the US to ban trans-fat from all restaurants. It will go into effect in July of 2008.

Source: Wikipedia.org entry, “Michael_Bloomberg” , May 2, 2007

Banned trans fats in NYC restaurants

You don’t normally turn to The N.Y. Times’ Dining Out section for serious political commentary, but there it was recently, under the subhead, “How the Mayor Became The City’s Most Powerful Foodie.” As part of his campaign to protect constituents against obesity and diabetes...Libertarians might quarrel that what we eat is none of the government’s business. But try this on for a Bloomberg political slogan: “Vote for me and I’ll make you thinner and better-looking.”
Source: Dale McFeatters on ScrippsNews, “The Food Candidate” , Apr 11, 2007

Smoking ban was a crusade of his mayoral administration

As mayor-elect, Bloomberg hired Dr. Thomas Frieden, whose highest priority was reducing cancer caused by cigarettes. Bloomberg didn’t just hire Frieden to be his health commissioner; he signed on for the first crusade of his first term. The Bloomberg administration [experienced an] uproar over the smoking ban.
Source: Chris Smith, New York Magazine , Oct 3, 2005

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Other big-city mayors on Health Care: Mike Bloomberg on other issues:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014