July 9th, 2009
12:55 PM ET

Should health care legislation contain billions for parks, walking paths and farmers markets?

Here’s my question to you:

It is perhaps the centerpiece of President Obama's agenda for his first term in office. Reform the nation's health care system before it bankrupts the country. It also comes with a hefty, as yet undetermined, price tag which has been estimated as high as $1 trillion.

With all of the negotiating over who should be taxed and what provisions will stay or go, the plan to provide better health care for all Americans is also adding up to billions of dollars in what's being called health infrastructure. This infrastructure includes things like walking paths, streetlights, jungle gyms and even farmers markets.

Some suggest a better name would be pork...

Advocates, including Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, say this is all needed to promote healthier lifestyles and cut medical spending down the road with lower obesity rates, less heart disease and other health problems.

Critics, including Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, say this is pork and these are simply public works projects in disguise that don't belong in this bill.

The way it stands, local and state governments will have to submit proposals for the projects and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, would have the final say. Can you imagine the potential bottleneck?

This is far from a done deal. But with an eye toward next year's midterm elections, it's never too early for the folks in Congress to think about keeping their constituents happy.

Here’s my question to you: Should health care legislation contain billions of dollars for parks, walking paths and farmers markets?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Martin from Shoreline, Washington writes:
Are liberals ever going to wake up? They tend to be more educated than conservatives, so why are they so stupid? This is the kind of spending that gets them removed from power every time. Democrats could rule for decades if they wanted to. But when they use taxes to steal from one group and give to another, American voters throw them out of office.

Jill writes:
Yes. Weight management and good nutrition are critical components of health. Walking has one of the lowest drop out rates of any exercise program. Farmers markets provide access to fruits and vegetables that may not be readily accessible in many inner city stores. Together, they provide an integral part of health management thereby keeping the nation's health care costs lower.

James from Chuckey, Tennessee writes:
The push to reform health care should focus on making quality health care affordable to all citizens, not building parks, playgrounds and fitness centers. Send the lobbyists home and let the Congress work for the people who actually voted for them instead of the corporations with the most money to spend circumventing the intent of the law. If we find a need for such infrastructure, there are a lot of unemployed folks who might be happy to have some honest work in a CCC type program. That's supposedly what the stimulus package was designed to do.

Agnes from Scottsdale, Arizona writes:
Jack: I don't think the concept of public works projects in support of health reform is such a bad idea. Back in the Depression of the 1930s, a number of parks and recreational projects were built in New York City and Long Island which people are enjoying to this day. We say we're concerned about children; maybe they will be healthier if they had well designed recreational areas to play in. Is that so bad?

Alex from Seattle, Washington writes:
Please focus on health care! I go to the VA for health care and the government bureaucrats do a fine job of getting me the care I need. On the other hand, I just paid $1,300 for anesthesia for my step-son's wisdom teeth removal. Evidently, my wife's health insurance plan considers anesthesia a luxury while removing impacted wisdom teeth.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. linda in AR

    It would be nice if we got bills that contained Bullets not Scattershot. Keep it Simple, just TWEET it.

    PS: Universal, single payer is the only thing that is going to change our Highest Cost-Very Poor delivery system. Tired of everybody getting a slice of the profit to push the paper from one desk to another.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  2. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    I am sure Obama would say not, but his Chief of Staff will say "whatever it takes." I guess it all depends on whether these are one time projects or a continuing assembly line.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  3. Lynn Spinella

    Jack: I think health care should stand alone without parks and farmers markets thrown in. If I was buying huge amounts of "things" with plastic, I would be called irresponsible and have to declare bankruptcy. However, since the House and Senate "should" have been in a position to foresee this massive recession and for which Henry Paulson got on his knees and begged for stimulus money , why would any American in their right mind give them the power, once again, to determine the destiny of the health care system. Let's see - they pass it, move on with their lives and we live with the consequences forever. IF WE'RE GETTING SUCH A FINE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FOR ALL AMERICANS, THEN THE SENATE AND HOUSE MEMBERS SHOULD HAVE THE SAME MEDICAL POLICY THAT YOU AND I HAVE.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  4. Raoul New Orleans, La

    The money would be better spent on regulation to solve a more pressing health problem – our food supply. A change in our diet will slow down the inevitable traffic jam into our hospitals faster than any jungle gym.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  5. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, when I think of Health Care I think of insurance that will pay my medical bills and keep me from going bankrupt or dying. I do not think of walk paths or farmer markets. For the life of me I cannot see why any member of Congress would want to add such things to a healthcare plan that they are having a hard time finding the money to pay for it. When will these people learn that pork is bad for our health. Our economy is in bad shape and we need a healthcare plan. If there is a time in America for our leaders to stand up and show us that they care it is now, bypassing a healthcare plan without any pork added to it.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Markel, Houston, TX

    K-I-S-S: Choose which ever definition you like, but KEEP IT SIMPLE.

    Take care of the health care basics and leave all the superfluous crap out of it. It is purported to be a "health care" bill ... not a "healthy lifestyle" bill.

    This Congress doesn't seem to be able to take care of basic issues. They certainly don't need to be confused with anything other than the core issues. If Congress can't get the job done, then the voters need to show them how serious we are by replacing them during the next election cycle!

    July 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  7. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    The push to reform health care should focus on making quality healthcare affordable to all citizens, not building parks, playgrounds and fitness centers. Send the lobbyists home and let the Congress work for the people who actually voted for them instead of the corporations with the most money to spend circumventing the intent of the law.
    If we find a need for such infrastructure, there are a lot of unemployed folks who might be happy to have some honest work in a CCC type program. That's supposedly what the stimulus package was designed to do.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  8. Alex in Seattle

    Please focus on health care! I go to the VA for health care and the government bureaucrats do a fine job of getting me the care I need. On the other hand, I just paid $1,300 for anesthesia for my step-son's wisdom teeth removal. Evidently, my wife's health insurance plan considers anesthesia a LUXURY while removing impacted wisdom teeth!

    July 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  9. David in San Diego

    I am doubtful about the health-related payoff from such spending, but you could just consider those expenditures the usual "and for related purposes" phrasing which appears in almost every large spending bill's title. If so, no big deal.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  10. Michael Coogen, Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: No it should not---–but when you are a politician you can link--parks, walking and farmers markets to "wellness,"-–go to the park and take a walk-that wellness-–go to the farmers markets and purchase fresh vegetables-–that wellness---and they all promote "health,"--–just like a bottle of wine a a good cigar after you have had a healthy meal--it is all in the mind of preception--and that Jack is nothing but a crock of crap. They would attached their mothers to the bill if they could.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  11. linda in AR

    I'm all for wellness, but we need to keep this one simple. Both the bill and true reform: Universal, One payer system. But it'll never happen. Too many lobbies protecting the profiteers and Senators like McCain that can triple dip the system with his Cadillac Congressional Health Insurance, Medicare and VA benefits that allows them to avoid the high cost consequences while gaming the tax structure with their 'celebrity' ensuring that they get star care.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  12. Mark

    That will encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyile having places to waalk, so I do agree. I also believe any member of congress whos is opposed to public paid health care should voluntarily give up their publicly paid healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Steven from NJ

    No they should not be in the health care bill. However I'd like to see them in their own bill.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  14. chuck dukeshire

    Absolutely not, Lets keep this money focused on health care and not
    community projects.

    Chuck, Vancouver, wa

    July 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Erik Weidenbach, Germany

    Yes. Reform is also needed in helping people to obtain healthier lifestyles. People are lazy and don't like to go much out of their way. A healthier "preventative" environment helps people to change their habits.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  16. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Teddy Kennedy, who is undoubtably the grossest opposite of good health, is behind this good living effort? GIVE ME A BREAK! If the clowns want to be re-elected in 2010..........CLOSE THE CHECKBOOK AND KEEP IT CLOSED.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  17. Karl from SF, CA

    No it shouldn't be in the bill, but as longt as it passes, I don't care at this time one way or the other. I'd be curious to know how much pork is going to the Republican's to bribe them inbto voting for it. Pathetic, isn't it, that all this extra baggage has to be put into something it is obvious the country needs and wants. Are the pharmasutical companies going into the Farmers Market business now?

    July 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  18. Tony from Torrington

    Of course, under the Democrats everything is included in their package, as long as it isn't stimulous. After all, we can't have Americans doing well..... who would vote for Democrats if things were going great? The people need to depend on government for Democrats to be in power!

    July 9, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  19. Diane/Allentown PA

    Since when can't you walk in your neighborhood? Why does it have to be a park? So you have a park, and then the ongoing maintenance expense. These guys just really don't get it do they?

    You know what Jack, I had open heart surgery last year, and yeah, I walked in parks, but mainly I walked around my neighborhood. And call me a chicken, but I'd only go to the park if there were other people there. No way I was walking when nobody was around. I joked with my husband that I wasn't strong enough to run away from a bad man.

    Let's stick to our own streets or go to the mall, and save a buck or a billion.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  20. Billy from Minneapolis

    I support healthcare reform including a government run healthcare system, BUT I do not support spending any healthcare dollars on parks, walking paths or farmers markets. While I support Obama, I wish he'd stop tap dancing around these issues, grab his balls, and make serious changes to healthcare. If we make the right changes, then three years from now (when he's running for re-election), everyone will be wondering why we didn't change the system years earlier. If we make the wrong changes, then we'll vote Obama out of office.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  21. Michael McDowell from Ft. Hood Texas

    Of course the GOP doesn't believe in a healthy American populace, but demands that we have the healthiest banks, insurance companies, and corporations money can buy. It is so sad to see how one political party has sold it's money clogged heart to those wiith CO. and INC in their names!!

    July 9, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  22. Geri - Mead, OK

    All of the impractical people as well as those who can afford a tax hike but have tax loopholes instead, are always going to be slipping the public a mickey when it comes to legislation and spending bills. Example: The stimulus bill. I here from both family and friends in Grand Jct., CO they are using stimulus dollars to give raises to city administrative employees and funding special needs projects, none of which stimulate the economy. I thought Joe Biden was suppose to be watching out for these games being played at the state and city levels. If he was doing his job he'd be to busy inserting his foot into his mouth.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  23. j/NJ

    Should health care legislation contain billions of dollars for parks, walking paths and farmers markets?

    Of course not, the Wyoming Senator is absolutely correct; but not because the statement is true, rather because he does not support the above version of health care legislation...however, if the circumstances were reversed and Senator Enzi supported the bill, he would argue (a) there is no pork or (b) the pork is necessary, never mind what the people think...regrettably American politicians refer to such legislative manipulation as representative democracy, but that is merely a strict constructionist or originalist point of view...

    July 9, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  24. Doyle from Canada

    I suggest you forget all of the trimmings.
    Just get good health coverage first.
    Lifestyle can come later.
    I know what its like to live my life with no concern of paying for a medical procedure.(except in taxes)Its worth it.
    Good luck to all.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  25. Terry in Virginia

    No. Health care legislation should contain the basics, geared towards reducing costs and universal coverage; all else is superfluous. Look what's happened with the stimulus money paid to the states. Governors have used that money to plug holes in the budget but not to create jobs. Their excuses run from waiting on Washington for guidance to "just cause." If the same holds true for health care reform, we all might as well just take our money, go out into the street, and toss it into the air because that'll accomplish just as much good as the current proposed pork-laden legislation.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  26. jim Toronto

    Good health is interlinked with 'Healthy lifestyle" living. Having not to be invoiced for a hospital stay or see health insurance cos. decide whether you qualify for certain cancer treatments, or surgery is one thing, and should be the main focus of any health plan. But healthier living, better eating, getting into the fresh air, eating 'better for you' foods will in the long run, save the tax payers alot of money.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  27. Jay in Texas

    Absolutely ! Funding walking paths, parks and other recreational areas that promote physical fitness and exercise is vitally important. Farmers markets promote healthy eating rather than the fast-food joints that are killing thousands of Americans every year. Just go to any public place where people gather and look at those around you. Count the number of obviously obese people and then count the number of fit people. Most Americans cannot afford to join a "health club" or other exercise facility and so we must rely on public parks for our exercise programs. It's amazing what walking two miles every day at a park will do for you.
    Brownwood, Texas

    July 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  28. Ralph Nelson

    Absolutely not. It should include a sugar-starch tax to help pay for it and reduce obesity and diabetes. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  29. Emily, Summit, NJ

    Yes. Proactive preventive measures are necessary. All of the options you listed will create a healthcare infrastructure that over time will pay off in real dollars not being spent on radical treatments to illnesses that can be prevented. Why is it so easy to label an investment in positive actions as pork? Obesity is a raging epidemic that should be responded to like polio was. Illnesses that are consequences of obesity are preventable. Investment and maintenance on the front end are always cheaper than paying for it later.

    We need to get off our duffs and teach our kids to turn off technology for a while each day and get outside and play.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  30. Annie in Akron, Ohio

    Sounds like jobs creation to me.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  31. Mike S., New Orleans

    Why not? It will also create jobs, and opportunities for a healthier lifestyle for hundreds of thousands of people. Every piece of legislation is a patchwork quilt – so what if a few swatches are added into the mix.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  32. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Absolutely not. This is game-changing legislation they are trying to pass with some serious consequences. Do not bog down the bill with non-sense projects like these. Why should I pay even a fraction of a penny for a jungle-gym in Virginia? These thieving weasels in Congress need to be exposed so everyone can see what they are up to. They disgust me.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  33. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    If the average 12 year old hears an oink, then it is pork!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  34. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: I don't think the concept of public works projects in support of health reform is such a bad idea. Back in the Depression of the 1930s, a number of parks and recreational projects were built in New York City and Long Island which people are enjoying to this day. We say we're concerned about children – maybe they will be healthier if they had well designed recreational areas to play in Is that so bad?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  35. Jim from Pompano Beach, FL

    Nothing belongs in health care legislation unless or until they can figure out how they are going to pay for it. With all the other crap they have already passed with no restraint whatsoever, we unfortunately can no longer afford it.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  36. josta

    Yes I agree it seems controversial, but parks and markets are a necesarry evil in the bill, because excercise and fresh food from markets are necesarry for a healthy livestyle. You only have to look at central park in New York and see that it provides a necesarry outlet for people who want to excercise.


    July 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  37. Dawson from Minneapolis, MN

    Many would say that healthcare legislation shouldn't include things like public parks, walking paths, and farmers markets. Unfortunately those people apparently don't know anything about preventative medicine which includes walking, being active, and eating right. These are things that you need to do to keep yourself out of the hospital, thus saving us all money if we are to put money in a pot which the inactive/unhealthiest people in our nation are to draw from.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  38. Jim

    When you consider the number of bridges that are in danger of falling down, the danger associated with our railroads, the state of our highways, the status of our border security and the state of our educational system, NO! There should be some priorities that have some semblence of common sense.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  39. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    The biggest health risk to our nation is the obesity epidemic. What we need is PE programs for our children. Allocate funds to schools that its use is fully accountable to supply facilities, equipment and instructors. Get our children started on the right track.
    Remember: Give them fish and they can eat for a day. Teach them to fish and they can eat for life.

    We can do these other things several years from now – when they will get more use and we are better positioned to pay for them. **Quit trying to get everything now**

    July 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  40. Evan R.

    Absolutely! This is a no brainer. It is a lot cheaper than paying for fast food, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. If more Americans would go outside and exercise and shop at the farmers market, we'd save trillions. Albany, CA

    July 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  41. Rob in NC

    Sure – how about money for the purchase of roller blades, or gym equipment, or nutrisystem, or low fat foods. We might as well spend the money, we have plenty to go around – or rather China does. Why don't we just borrow and spend until no one will lend us money. That is apparently how more and more Americans are learning to control their spending. Rob in NC

    July 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  42. peggy Williams Johnson

    Let's start with basic healthcare for this country. That's critical we all seem to agree. But the parks, markets and other things are frills in our hardup current economy.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  43. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    I think that's a great idea but doesn't have to appear in the initial bill because there are other things that need to be in it first. I think they need to keep the bill's price reasonable so that the public will accept it and it can get bi-partisan support, if there is such a thing.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  44. Sabrina

    I can't believe how manic our government has become. Spending money when there isn't any. Maybe they should start setting an example for people to concern and change their spending habits.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  45. Annie, Atlanta

    Health care legislation should be just that, health care legislation. I am sick of Congress with their snail's pace and pork. Like you said in your first book, vote them out! I've been trying.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  46. seeksense

    At the very least those projects are basic infrastructure.
    No more pork than a credit card bill married to a weapons bill.
    Palm Bay, FL

    July 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  47. NANCY M.- Colorado

    Any health care bill should absolutely not have any stuff added to it at all. Only the bill that would strictly adhere to its intentioned purpose should be considered. There are other places and times and venues for all those other dimly related ammenities.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  48. Ken in NC

    Billions of dollars for parks, walking paths and farmers markets amounts to no more than PORK. I don't care how you dress it. Lip stick on a pork and it's still a pig.

    That's a job for cities.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  49. Allison Sloan

    No! All the money should go to ensuring that every American has health insurance.That will be expensive enough. Adding the "pork" will necessarily dilute the amount of money necessary for the instatement of a Public Option, and make it more difficult to pass.
    Allison, Vancouver.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  50. A.G.

    I think these things are important. But perhaps they should include them in a seperate obesity prevention bill. That way republicans would have less to whine about concerning health care reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  51. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Probably not, but they are things that can be given up to keep the Republicans from taking anything away from healthcare reform. Parks, paths and farmers markets are not a bad idea though. Maybe that can be done later when our finances are better.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  52. Mr Dean n Seattle

    If this is what it is going to take to get a health care bill passed then I say to my senators vote for it

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  53. Alex Newton

    I think these additions are necessary and agree with Senator Kennedy that this is necessary to promote better and healthier living down the road. The US is an unhealthy fast food nation, and better awareness and promotion of good health, while it may not have the immediate effects that taxpayers would like to see, will have more effective results down the road than other, more immediate plans.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  54. Jeff

    While desireable, their are so many other sources for funding such projects, it makes no sense for all taxpayers to foot the bill (no, pun intended) for walking paths and jogging trails.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  55. michael armstrong sr.

    dear Jack all that stuff sounds like the democrats are trying to build us all the garden of eden but to me it sounds like hell damdnation and a bunch of rich people with usles money lets just go ahead and reduse the value of the dollar to a cent .

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  56. Tim

    Of course bike trails and sidewalks belong in the health care bill. If my father would have had a more active lifestyle, he may have still been alive today. Who cares what the Republicans think: THEY LOST! They want to forget that the Constitution calls for the government to be responsible for the "general wellfare" of it's citizens.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  57. Don Hammers

    It's the pork that is breaking this country, as if needed services are simply a means of funding a legislator's pet project. No more pork projects, please. Stick to what is needed first. Social services are expensive enough.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  58. Tim thomas

    Its a fantastic idea.What would be better; money for bike and running paths or money for the hospital after you get diabetes and heart disease.You are a great guy Jack its been great listening to you Thanks

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  59. Liam

    Of course. You've got to live a healthy life to be healthy. Proper nutrition at farmers' markets and exercise at parks and trails is crucial to cure this nation of its below average health statistics.

    Atlanta, Ga

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  60. Rosemarie

    Just an observation – I live "up the road" from beautiful Valley Forge National Park with biking and walking trails...our township also provides other parks – perhaps it would be a good idea to remind people of what they have in their own backyards – maybe save some money on parks, but they are available NOW....go out and smell the flowers folks!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  61. Tyler from Fort Wayne

    So what do you want? Do you want them to put KFC's, Burger Kings, and McDonalds in the health care bill? I think farmer's markets are just a little bit healthier.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  62. wendy

    Its a nice to have BUT, the question is – where will the money to spend come from?!? Healthy living should come from personal discipline.. Go to existing parks and buy healthier foods....

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  63. Anthony....Swedesboro, NJ

    Presidents are not monarchs and must face the truth that Washington is a market place where tradeoffs for the better good are unavoidable and intrenched. A little pork here or there will get the votes for the real red meat. No pork, no beef.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  64. Bill....Michigan

    no.....these luxuries would be nice....but, so would gucci shoes, a rollex watch and a mercedes......all luxuries that only members of congress can afford.
    good health care for all is, however, essential.


    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  65. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Jack, our Washington representatives cannot pass a bill without pork in it, they consider that Un-American. Part of the increased costs for health reform is all the crap they put into the bill that's unnecessary. We already know what's necessary for a healthy life style; we just choose not to use it.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  66. Jay

    Walking paths will give people a safe and convenient way to get out and walk instead of staying in the house all day or driving... Farmers markets will allow communities to eat healthier and support the community.. This might be an alternative way to tackle health care but I think it's innovative and Yes I believe this should be in the health care package...

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  67. Walt


    Yes this kind of infrastructure should be included in health funding. This is a long-term goal, and nobody ever seems to look to the future. That is part of the problem with our government, nobody ever seems to look past the next election cycle. We need people who are willing to see what we need 10, 20, even 50 years down the road, and begin preparing for it now.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  68. Danielle P

    I understand the need for comprehensive healthcare reform, however does parks and rec really qualify as healthcare. Well it sure as heck isnt something I want to be putting out more taxes for when I could be getting better doctor oversight and higher quality care for the poor people in my city. If they really want more parks then they need to talk with the fish and wildlife people or someone else under that category. its weird to me that they would submit parks and paths instead of legislation for better physical education in high schools or reform in the menus that are served to kids during elementary. like taking our soda machines out and putting in juice machines. Simple less expensive solutions are necissary. Parks and rec will be more beneficial if they use community service projects to fix em up. as if we need more PORK! juvenile diabetes is gonna drain our healthcare system in the future anyways, so why not be a little proactive here. Its not about trails and parks. Its about familys, socioeconomic status, education and health maintenance.. duh.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  69. YesToWalking

    Yes. As a single female I've been having a hard time finding a "safe" place to walk (exercise). It's part of health care prevention – instead of waiting for people to get sick. Definitely Yes to parks, walking paths and farmers markets!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  70. Don

    NO! If you are not walking for exercise now you are not going to just because you have a path to walk on. If you are not getting fresh produce from a farmers market now you are not going to. Just as education dollars need to get into the classroom, health care dollars need to get into clinics and hospitals. Ted Kennedy has a huge private compound to walk around on, does it look like he's been using it?
    Don Armand
    Hammond LA.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  71. Carole

    no way the money should go for lowering premiums and better care, all this is very nice but not at first maybe later

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  72. John, Fort Collins,CO

    For a person who was so tuned in during the campaign, President Obama has been out to lunch when in comes to spending taxpayer dollars. Once we all understand how we are going to cover the cost of the trillion dollar stimulus package we could take a look at how much we can afford to start covering medical expenses for the uninsured. Spending money the country doesn't have for farmers markets, parks, and walking paths is absolutely ludicrous.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  73. Rob Roy Reddy

    It is ironic that a country built on imagination suffers through such fits of stagnation. I suspect it is the stagnant, the old themselves, that find it hard to change, or get up. Give youth and vitality a chance before deciding to ride your 4 ton chariots of fire into the sun. Build a bike path....

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  74. Carolyn H

    Yes...Those things are needed to keep people healthy. Currently I have to travel a long distance to get to a biking trail. Here in Georgia there are plenty of hiking trails that we travel to and the group I started is building with plenty of new hikers. People are enjoying the health and wellness benefits of hiking. I tell them about the local Farmers Markets and why they should shop there for local fresh fruits and vegetables. I am 60 years old, I hike, bike ride and exercise regularly. Started playing organized basketball at age 50. Not on any and never have been on any medication. Go GREEN – Go NATURAL. I rather pay for it up front than on the back end...Help the people!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  75. Duncan Weller from Thunder Bay, Ontario

    Absolutely! The Health Care Industry should really be termed the Sickness Industry. What makes you healthy is clean air, clean water, and clean food. Parks, paths and markets are just some of what can be done. If you really want to contribute to saving money in the Sickness Industry, cut down on your drinking. Alcohol abuse, not only as a sickness in itself, also causes permanent damage to people in car accidents and taxes the system unnecessarily. Put down that beer, get off the couch, go for a walk or a bike ride to the market and we'll all save billions of dollars later when for the stuff the Sickness Industry will have to provide for you when you become part of it.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  76. Katie Buschke

    Yes, all of those things promote good health and are better for the environment. Farmer's markets promote locally grown, hopefully organic foods. Healthier foods, less pollution shipping foods across the country.
    Sounds like a win/win scenario to me.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  77. James A

    Yes, it should! I completely agree with all the statements on lifestyle being a big part of the solution. Walking paths are less expensive than the health spa.... and is well documented that walking is a major positive in maintaining good health. Likewise, what you eat is important. Farmers Markets are generally associated with good food and eating – you are what you eat. Ensuring that the farmers market has good healthy organic food is a bit more problamatic, but is a good start.

    Same with parks,

    It has to be in balance with our other needs as a nation, but, yes, great idea!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  78. nona

    Our community and many small ones in the area alrerady have bijeand walking paths, lovely park,a farmers market and even indoor walking and jogging tracks. That's preventitive care. Healthcare for most of us means affordable insurance, reasonable co-pays and the assurance that our physicians aren't milking the insurance companies. There is enough pork out there to fry a ton of fries. Please no more.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  79. Christine, MI

    If Americans do not begin living healthier more active life styles, obesity rates will continue to climb and over all health decline. Many European countries place a much greater emphasis on healthy living and in countries other than the USA people walk and bike much more than we do. While this particular bill may not be the answer, I think it is time to begin promoting a healthy life style and preventative health care. I think we should be giving out vouchers for people to purchase bikes and provide some sort of incentive for people to walk/bike to work/school. Americans have been lazy for years and it is catching up with us!!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  80. Jack - Phoenix, Arizona

    If you read serious literature about healthcare reform, the primary ingredient to affording healthcare for all of us is disease prevention. Just take farmers markets, for example - they will be the primary provider of honest-to-God organic food that contains the nutrients we had 50 years ago (and not longer have) and which will make us all stronger and healthier.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  81. virginia mccullough

    I like this idea–sounds the best of the New Deal to me. Don't people recognize how many parks and other facilities were created in the '30s? Fund the projects hrough HHS or the bike and walking paths through the Dept of Transportation. In any case, these resources and services improve communities. I live at the edge of a 90 mile trail, and it doesn't go to waste. Jobs and health, what could be better? I can't wait to see Michelle Obama out doing some ribbon cutting!

    Green Bay, WI

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  82. Pablo in Tejas

    taking the broadest view of "healthcare", such amenities as parks. trails, walkways, farmers markets & etc. could be considered an aspect of "preventive medicine" in that they help to encourage healthier behaviors.
    And of course public works projects in ones own district are necesswary to the political health of incumbents and helpful to preserving the economic health of the district. Remember the words of George Washington Plunkitt, through judicious use of some good honest graft a man can "help his constituents, help his district and help himself."

    Arlington Texas

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  83. Chad Ford

    YES, I know it's probably an unpopular view, but I think walking paths and Farmers markets should be part of the spending bill.
    If Americans start taking better care of themselves by eating better and getting out and exercising ,more then there will be FAR fewer health issues, and therefore less need for medical attention.

    I like the idea of something all of us can use opposed to money going to Pharmaceutical companies that develop drugs that cause more side effects that necessitate more drugs.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  84. Janet, Yosemite Gateway

    Sure, why not?
    WE SPEND $$$ like drunken' sailors.
    I could just as easily have a heart attack while picnicking in a park, walking a path or buying fruits 'n' vegetables at farmers market as I can pole dancing!


    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  85. Sara

    Frankly, I don't care. My family's health insurance is up to $2500 a month for 2 healthy adults and one healthy teenager, and every year, something new is chopped from our coverage list. (It's usually something that we used the year before.) We gratefully have good, reliable jobs that pay well, and even WE can't afford health care. Somebody somewhere needs to do something fast! Bike packs? Fine. Just put a big boot on the insurance industry's neck and make them "straighten up and fly right", as my mom would say.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  86. Don Hammers - Augusta, GA

    It’s the pork that is breaking this country, as if needed services are simply a means of funding a legislator’s pet project. No more pork projects, please. Stick to what is needed first. Social services are expensive enough

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  87. Caroline, Los Angeles

    Hi Jack,

    Yes, it's all pork. No, I don't want it in the bill. Leave it to Congress--give them an inch and they turn it into 15,000 miles of bike paths.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  88. Silas Stephan, Frederick, MD

    No Jack. Funding for such items should be in a separate bill if they want it so bad. This system of combining items into one bill needs to stop. It just ends up becoming contraversal, and called pork because it may or may not have anything to do with the original bill. Split it off the reform bill, and make a new bill for it.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  89. Jan, Fort White, Florida

    Leave the paths and parks to the local citizens. Our rural community finds a way to do these things without relying on the federal government. I've seen service clubs take on these projects. It's time we do a few things for ourselves. We might even find that we're in better physical shape if we volunteered to help out, and we can make new connections with our neighbors.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  90. Jeff

    Just reforming the health care system is a daunting task without clouding the issue. There are parks, trails, and public grounds that people do not use now. Let's concentrate on obtaining affordable health care for every American citizen. This alone would make this the greatest congress in history.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  91. Missy M

    Farmers' markets, parks, hiking trails and bike paths are essential to good health and they are important for communities. That said, I don't like this current piece of health care legislation and think it should be scrapped and started over. By the way, most farmers' markets I know fund themselves - no federal money involved. The best hiking trails I've hiked have been blazed by volunteers – same with bike paths. As for parks, well, lots of state and municipal parks are taking a hit with so many states struggling with their budgets. They probably need some help.

    Missy M., CG Arizona

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  92. Karen G

    We do not need parks, paths or anything else to exercise. Whatever happened to back yards or around the block??? For pete sake have they not learned anything in Washington! My vote will not go to anyone who supports this. And also Jack keep up the great work. I enjoy your segment.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  93. John Mortison

    NO!!! All of these thing may be well and good, but they are NOT the responsibility of the federal government. Is there no end to the intrusion of the federal govt. into our lives? If people want bike paths in their towns, they should be a local project. That's what we did in our town. This proposal is just the camel's nose under the tent. The federal govt. thinks that if they (with our money) are going to pay for health care, they have the right to dictate that we must live a healthier lifestyle. We should, of course, but the govt. shouldn't be the one to dictate how we live.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  94. Roland

    One of the main tenants of the new health care philosophy is preventive medicine.

    Exercise and other forms of the preemptive approach are necessary to embrace this method of reducing heath care cost.

    Old thinking is what keeps us buried in defeat on health care. Caring for the sick as opposed to preventing illness is a cash cow.

    Yes bike paths and walking trails and whatever else will help to keep us in fit shape

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  95. Ben

    The answer is NO. The crooks in Washington only use these pork projects to win over votes from other members of Congress. I cannot stand how the American people are this idiotic to let their representatives let this pass. Special interests for states should not be handled at the national level but rather the state level. It's just not logical.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  96. Elaine Hawkins

    YES! as a healthcare professional I see a lot of obesity and stress related illness. If we had a option of walking, riding bikes, jogging in the parks it will help with the stress and obesity. Some of us don't have the funds to have a gym membership. Also, having the trees and grass will help cut down on green house gas which will become a definite health issue in the future if not already.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  97. Tamera Narejo

    I think that all of the "pork" is nessary to help people not only learn what is good for them, but be able to access these things. I don't have a decent farmers market within 20 miles. I would love to be able to go and buy fresh and local produce. Having a bike trail we have. But bringing it to the attenion of the people would be good. The main way to good health is good living. You can tell people to do things a million times over, but if you don't provide the resources we can't use them.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Patrick

    No! These can be put under projects in the stimulus package for infrastructure. Lets leave the health reform simple to keep the costs down. In our area of Florida these items already exist because of county planning that started back over a decade ago so all of this money would go to someone else besides us.

    Most Americans are already taxed to death and are barely keeping it together with todays economic environment. If this health reform is going to be forced upon us let's at least cut the cost down. I know this is a radical idea with todays open checkbook mentality.

    If you have to spend money why not cut me a check for $500k?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  99. MichiganAndy

    I support inclusion of such infrastructure that would help improve overall preventative care opportunities. However, part of me feels until Feds stop subsidizing a food system that helps keep unhealthy foods cheap and healthy foods expensive, we're just throwing money down a hole. As long as govt supports food production, then there's no reason it can be done in a way that a double quarter pounder with fries costs over $10, while a chicken&vege (whole grain) wrap, apple slices, and a water value meal costs less than $5. Or soda costs $5 for a 2-L, while it's a 2-L of real fruit juice that costs $1.89.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  100. Jerry Pirkle, Mississippi


    If we had a parks, walking paths and farmers markets on every corner then we could pay for universal health care by getting rid of farm subsidies. People would be healthier and need less care; obesity would plummet as would diabetes. Preventative care is much cheaper than urgent care. Call it what you like, but if you can stay healthier and can do it cheaper, then it sounds like a winning formula to me.

    Jerry / Mississippi

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  101. james tucker

    yes I agree we should spend money for walk paths & farmers markets I don't care where the funding comes from as long as it is spent in THIS country used by people in this country.. the money STAYS in this country it certinally is preferable than sending 11 billoin to Iraq that WON"T benefit any taxpayer in this country

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  102. Glynn in New York


    I am a fan of President Obama and I think he has what it takes to turn this country around. But this is pork. He should just take care of healthcare. Just healthcare! Nothing but healthcare! Making it available for every American. Then deal with the parks, the walking paths and the farmer's markets afterwards. Most American's will be so happy that the mess has been cleaned up that they'll welcome anything the President and the Democrats have to offer. Besides, too much pork will raise your blood pressure. Everybody knows that.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  103. Joe in VA

    NO! There are ample parks currently available in most communities and healthy food is available everywhere. Whether or not people take advantage of either is a personal choice. It's crazy to think a nice walking trail will make lazy people exercise. If the government wants to tax me to cover people without insurance, then limit it to medical needs. Prevention is great as is a healthy lifestyle but you cannot force it on the unwilling or uninterested.

    Chatham, VA

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  104. John in Atlanta

    I will agree that a "healthier lifestyle" will save the government money in paying for health care. Might I suggest that allowing my wallet to maintain it's current weight, or perhaps even adding to the mass of funds therein by reducing the unconcionable burden placed on our goverment by holding onto more of my money, may increase my overall health. Pork belongs in a smoker, not in health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  105. Debra LeDoux

    No, but we have to have health care regardless of cost! Childless couples pay school taxes all their lives and don't complain. Let's have a heart America and kick in a little to help people without health care so they don't die painful deaths if they get sick.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  106. Paul from New Orleans, LA

    Jack, are you serious with asking this question. What Obama wants for health care doesn't need annexes of billions of dollars in parks and paths, that's landscape care, not health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  107. Malcolm

    Of course they should. All of these things are part of a comprehensive approach to health care. Here in Minnesota, we have bike paths, parks, and farmer markets throughout our communities that encourage our residents to get outside, breath fresh air and be more active- even in the winter. Many polls have shown that Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  108. RusRus

    It would be a revolutionary action, for the government to support healthy life styles, with bike paths, farmers markets etc, instead the same ol, corn growers subsidy, which is used to make unhealthy aditives such as corn syrup for processed food.

    How about taxing unhealthy food and using the funds to subsidize healthy food. I can get a McDonalds meal for $4, but it cost me $8 for a couple of pounds of fresh cherries. If I eat rotten ronies (McDonalds) regularly I will end up needing medical treatment, so I choose to eat healthy even though it costs me a lot more.

    I would really like to see a reversal in policy, by taxing unhealthy foods, and subsidizing healthy foods that do not use chemicals and fertilizers. I know the GOP will try to make a big deal out of this, since they put their eggs in that basket, but as far as I am concerned the GOP is on the same credibility level as the Ayatolah, and Bin Laden.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  109. J Darroll Hall

    Jack; won't all of these things need people to build, work and maintain as well as offer other benefits to overall health. Can we for once look long term rather then the next election cycle. The alarm bells are screaming, yet state governments have only just begun to implement stimulus money (July to July budget cycles)... For once, let's be a long term forward looking people for a true change... Indianapolis In.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  110. DawnL,CA

    Jack: If the states want to use stimulus money for parks-go for it. It should not be part of the health legislation bill. I have a park 2 blocks from my home & I never use it. I attend a farmers market maybe 3 times a year. It all sounds good on paper but if people really want to exercise they will find a way to do it.
    BTW-whatever happened to Pres. Obama's statement during the election that the American people should have the same health care plan as members of congress?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  111. V.J. Wilcox

    I'd say better a walking path as an amendment to a health care bill than guns in national parks which was added to another bill. The Republicans didn't object to that amendment.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  112. Don

    I know what can promote a healthier life style than all the spending on "healthcare infrastructure". Throw out the Wii, turn off the TV and go take a walk! The money could be better spent on reducing the cost of healthcare to those unfortunate people who are older than 18 and younger than 65 instead, who are forced ot cover themselves through COBRA and self insurance because they are either unemployed or their employer no longer offers coverage!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  113. Valerie

    You are exactly right, this is nothing but pork. Congress and our president call themselves representing us the people of this great nation. This is a horrible joke on us. How much do they think we can pay for when Americans are loosing their jobs every day.
    I say stop spending and start contributing Congress and Mr. President. You want parks, bike paths, etc. donate your pay increases, and change your health insurance to read you pay for it when you loose your job at election time!!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  114. joanna ruggiero

    a healthy lifestyle like walking, running, bike riding...getting children out to play in a safe park environment, a good, healthy diet are vital to a long and healthy life. Good health is achieved as a result of measures taken in , what might be considered, "prevention". Unfortunately "prevention" is not considered. Advanced, cutting edge research is also not considered...how sad. However, it amazes me that consideration is still given to nationalize a system that supports pharmaceutical companies and extreme measures in surgery. I think the real pork is found in pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  115. Bernadette Alexander

    jack i am from a small country where everybody get free health care and i think everyone in the U.S.A wants to make to much money and get rich.The health bill should be just that and nothing else.Bernadette

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  116. Bev - NYC

    Health care legislation should be pork free. It's additional junk like this that add to the cost of the bill. States and municapilities should maintain their own parks, streetlight and jungle gyms. What's wrong with having volunteers take some pride in their surroundings to clean replant and make these things safe for all to use.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  117. Gabrey

    The cheapest hospital stay is the one you don't make. Enabling a healthy lifestyle can help Americans to start to live more healthy lifestyles.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  118. sandra

    What planet do all of you live on who disassociate your health care with exercise, fitness and healthy eating (and I don't mean a chicken caesar from a fast food restaurant. Even the AMA debunks nutrition as it relates to your health. How insane.

    The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. -Thomas Edison-

    Sidewalks, bike paths, markets where you can buy fresh food. THEY ALL SHOULD BE A PART OF ALL OF OUR HEALTH CARE. WE WOULDN'T NEED SO MUCH CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL CARE WITH PROCEDURES AND PHARMACEUTICALS. THAT'S WHAT'S MAKING US SICK. How can people not get this. I think it's because they just don't want to exercise. Good luck to all of you in your ignorance.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  119. Han G Thesobs in Ca

    Heck NO. It's not like republicans WALK anywhere to get exercize! They hate conservation ... like National Parks and National Monuments....

    Sure- it SHOULD iclude them, just using COMMON SENSE on what would INCREASE public health and CUT overall healthcare costs, but you can NEVER accuse republicans of using common sense any more. They're LOCKSTEP with the oil and energy Bushies, their TRUE constituency AND base.

    Let's just get healthcare PUBLIC without CEO's and PAID Directors making money off of refusing healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  120. Mark Robison

    Yes. I for one prefer to have parks, healthy and safe foot and bike paths, and access to locally grown food. I don't care if it's in the health bill, a climate bill, or a special less-all-lose-weight-and-get-healthy bill. And yes, I'm perfectly willing to pay for a better environment and to reduce greenhouse gasses.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  121. Sheila

    What little infrastructure that exists in my town came from the WPA in the 1930's. My town does not have sidewalks, safe parks or bike lanes. Maybe an effort now to help build healthy infrastructure would benefit adults and children in the future. My city council will certainly not have the money to budget this kind of change on their own.


    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  122. Chris in Denver

    No. It would seem most states have funds already for these types of things. I know in Colorado, the Lottery (supposedly) contributes tens of millions to park beautification, trails etc...albeit in some places very few visit. But that's another story.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  123. Morton

    Sounds like a good idea in principle. It's about time the government started thinking about promoting change in society's habits rather than just handing out health benefits. We need to think about things like cheap, unhealthy food and the amount of money it costs the health system. In the cities, access to things like non-processed foods might not be so easy. Biking paths and parks might not either. We have too many fat people getting old now, but it's only going to get worse with the baby boomers. If these reforms don't pass, the changes will be even more severe.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  124. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, as you hinted, if it doesn't have anything to do with getting healed when you're sick it shouldn't be in the bill. Jeez, when will these people learn???

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  125. Ford Shankle

    Yes! I think it is legitimate to spend the money on farmers markets and bike paths, how else can we get people tp eat healthfully and excercise adequately. Back when I was a boy, we worked hard on the farm to have enough food to eat, so we ate well and worked hard. Today, most people do not grow gardens and spend most of their time watching sports on television instead of getting out and doing something!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  126. Bob In Florida

    FIRST: Health Care SHOULD BE a "single payer" system FOR ALL. Taxing ALL businesses and corporations on an individual (family) employee cost basis with NO EXEMPTIONS should help pay for the "Universal Health Care" system.

    SECOND: Health Care SHOULD BE completely "NON-PROFIT" at the hospital, clinics, insurance, and pharmaceutical levels. An IMMEDIATE goal of 30% more trained doctors and nurses should be implimented.

    Then THIRDLY: biking and walking parks among other "healthy habit" situations could be implimented later to work toward helathy habits of all individuals. The "fast food" AND the food industry in general, should be taxed if they continue to produce UNHEALTHY products for public consumption.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  127. Janet Parsons

    We need medical reform immediatly! No pork. Nothing else added.
    Even people with insurance are going into hock to pay for it. A friend with insureance had to pay a 750 deductible and then had to pay 4000 dollars BEFORE she could get the immediate care that she needed. Congress needs to focus. Just once Congress, please get the people access to affordable healthcare. It would be best if you actually got the insurance gluttens out of the mix, completely! They have become the robber barons of the people.

    Janet Parsons
    San Jose, CA

    July 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  128. J GO


    At this point if money is actually going to go to enrich the lives of us common folk, instead of corrupt bankers, military industrial complex or third world nations I am all for it. They better throw us a bone every once and a while otherwise all Wolf will have to do in order to report on civil unrest, is look outside his window to see an ongoing riot where a bike path should have been.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  129. maxamillion

    Hey Jack, these are not pork being a medical professional we need these for a healthier lifestyle. Giving everyone health insurance and not investing in prevention will only exacerbate the situation.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  130. Lori, Dayton,Ohio

    Jack-When it comes to walking paths, parks and farmers market it is not a case of
    The American people have become more sedentary and therefore less healthy.
    No amount of new new parks will inspire them to exercise. So the money should be spent on educating people on a healthy lifestyle and health care. Do that and they will use the paths and parks that are already available to them now and not being used.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  131. grant Marcus

    What health care legislation shouldn't contain is any
    favors for the health care industry. I was a nurse who
    worked for one of these "industries" and watched my
    license abused to deny claims. I was an insider and
    you can't fool an insider. To base health care on profit
    is not only bad for business, it's bad for people.
    –Grant in Santa Barbara, California

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  132. rick from the north

    I don't know about parks, weren't they covered off in the stimulus bill?
    But If the US stopped subsidizing corn to create cheap sugar , amongst other agricultural subsidies , you wouldn't have such cheap food., And you'd have better food. And thinner healthier people.
    And those subsdies could be used to help fund a national health insurance system that could negotiate with suppliers with force.
    I'm sure in no time the percentage of GDP on health care would go down from 17% to 12%?
    And everyone would be able to use those parks without the assistance of ride on scooters...

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  133. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    If you observe the majority of people in the congress and senate, they absolutely look like they need a walk in the park, and not to a Farmer's Market. It is no surprize then that they feel WE should look out for our health. I guess most of them have been "incumbitants" for so long is a tribute to the healthcare they graciously lavish upon them bigselves.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  134. BW in MA

    NO, Jack, it is NOT PORK. Everywhere I've ever lived there has been sidewalk, except in the town I bought my house in. When we were househunting, everywhere we looked had sidewalk. How could a town in the 1990s NOT have sidewalk?! We have fought since 1978 to get sidewalk here, simply as a public safety measure, nevermind how much healthier we'd all be in this town if there was an alternative to having to drive constantly rather than move our bodies outside of a shiny metal box. So, I welcome an infusion of funds for towns without sidewalk, since just *maybe* towns like mine might finally become safe for pedestrians. As it is, it may take someone being killed walking along the roadside edge before we get sidewalk here, and that would be an awful price to pay.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  135. Jen

    We have a crooked Congress and no one that has any brain whatsoever can overlook that fact.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  136. Madge

    Hi Jack. I believe that prevention is always better than cure and as someone who's trying to get 'fit' by eating better and exercising, I am 100% for anything that promotes better health. We need to have programs that motivate people to use these facilities in our communities.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  137. Ryan

    Absolutely yes it should! A minute spent exercising costs a heck of lot less than a minute spent on an operating table. Why is this even a question? We finally have a plan from Washington with some good ol' fashion common sense.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  138. geno

    NO! If congress really wants to do something to improve the health of our nation's lifestyle, then quit all the ridiculous subsidies for corn, wheat, soybeans, etc. Experts firmly hold the opinion that such things as super inexpensive sugars from these subsidized crops end up around our bloated waistlines and other places. Switching subsidies to fruits and vegetables will win the day for a healthier nation. With the very powerful farm lobby, my psychiatrist is going to tell me I am delusional. See ya on those new walkways Jack.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  139. gayle atlanta ga

    Jack, I don't care how much so called pork is in this healthcare bill. My husband was laid off from his job, and we have no health insurance. We are both in our early sixties. We need help!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  140. CJ Stone

    In a word NO. We are in desperate need of medical care and that needs to include mental health care too throughout the U.S. Real accessible health care. Medical care that could have saved my daughter's life.

    Want to do more? Bring jobs back from "outsourcing to China" and have the bonus pay go for worker health care.

    Walking, jogging paths etc. are very important for communities but I believe it should be financed and kept up by community groups including volunteers. Want exercise – work on developing parks and trails in your free time and do it for free. Want to provide jobs – pay reasonable rates and hire unemployed people to develop these health oriented facilities.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |

    Jack, I'm thinking the Repubs must be pressing this Pork, so they can run our President down for it. They are now blaming Pelosi for the first stimulis, when it was the GOP, that needed it passed right away. I wish for once that they would quit whining and grow up.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  142. Cindy

    Jack: I'm all for more parks and bike paths--creates more jobs, too. Parks and bike paths are all well and good, but the real question is how are you going to make people use them? Obesity and diabetes run rampant in this country because we all love fast food, and make many excuses to eat it. Farmers' Markets are a good idea if you can get people to go back to taking the time to cook healthy meals at home.

    Let's encourage our restaurants and fast food places to serve REALLY healthy items. I still can't find many places that serve a no calorie–no sugar–no carbonated beverage. I am overweight and diabetic and I try to ride my bike or walk everyday. It also helps me save on gas. Turn off your kids' tvs and computers and kick their butts outside. Playing at a park also prevents finding so many baseballs in your livingroom.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  143. Mary Texas

    Jack. Could congress just gibve us the same healthcare that they have? I'm sure it will be expensive. but if they can afford it. surely they can push it through for us. after all they are just our servants,

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  144. Sarah E.

    As a Graduate Student earning my Master's in Landscape Architecture, I see the need every day for public works funding that promotes a healthier lifestyle for us and our children. While the access to parks, green space and healthy, local food choices is good for individuals and communities alike, these projects deserve their own spotlight, as does the Healthcare Bill. There is nothing more important than the health of our children and their children- combining agendas will only hinder progress that desperately needs to be made on both fronts. Keep them seperate, but equal.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  145. Alex Hodges, Lake Forest, IL

    Absolutely not. Healthcare legislation should contain incentives for people to take better care of themselves – building bike paths other other so-called 'health infrastructure' is nothing more than jopb creation. Properly crafted this legisaltion could develop into a wellness program on steroids. Remember 80% of the 'healthcare money' goes towards taking care of 20% of the insured population. Getting people to change their behavior before joining the 20% club, would go a long way towards solving the problem.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  146. Craig in Milford, CT

    If you think not, then you should be spending more time outdoors (with family, and friends) than sitting behind a computer all day. We Americans are becoming such a stiff bunch!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  147. Jasmine in Germany

    Having lots of parks, foot and bike paths, fresh fruit and vegetable markets in the center of towns, and health care available to everyone works very well in many other countries.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  148. Roger Carrillo

    Heath care is not just the medical profession with all the drugs and surgeries doctors are addicted to prescribing.

    It is not "pork" to provide infrastructure that will help in preventing obesity and all the related diseases. The "pork" is on the waistline of millions of our fellow citizens who are suffering from food addiction and the resulting obesity and in the billions of dollars in corporate welfare, like farm subsidies, that the government funds,

    Cities need recreational infrastructure including parks, multi-use paths, safe lighted streets for walking and riding bicycles. Farmers markets provide access to locally grown foods that are healthier for people to eat, less expensive, and help combat global warming by reducing fuel used to transport goods to market. All of the above are in short supply in our cities and towns and will benefit all of us not just the corporate elite like farm subsidies.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  149. Mick

    Billions for concrete to walk on? How about billions for patients that need medications. I'm a critical care nurse and this is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in the past 20 years. I think it tops HMOs taking over. To change healthcare is not "politically feasible". The Senate and Congress have lost their moxy. They taught "healthcare reform" as long as pharmaceutical companies and healthcare hospital corporations get what they want and the incumbents get fat pockets. Who gets left out...the patient. What if those in the 83rd infantry who went into relieve the 101st airborne cried, "it's not politically feasible!" Do you think Abe Lincoln or George Washington discussed "political feasibility"?

    The American public needs to wake up and know that they are being taken again. It's ok to chastise Banks, the auto industry and make sure they aren't taking the publics money...what about pharmaceutical companies and hospital corporations? They are just as corrupt as the banking industry is...c'mon people...wake up! Don't let them do this!


    July 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  150. Ross Foyee

    This is definietly PORK...more like Manure! Money should be spent on getting us off of oil usage instead of park walks in the "misty glen at twilight time." Right now, the drug plans for Medicare could use some beefing up rather than that cereal box recipe that Bush left Medicare with. This administration had better get the honeymoon over and do some work for a change...! So far, it has done NOTHING!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  151. GREGORY Miami Beach, Fl.

    This legislation is practical & insightful! This isn't pork! Pork is what grows on you when you sit on the couch watching CNN all day!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  152. penny

    Leave out the pork..trim the fat..shed illegals immigrant pounds mandate anyone earning over 50,000 must have full coverage and have gov't funded healthcare for the indigent only.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  153. nan

    Absolutely it should. We should also require schools to offer more recess, more sports activities,,healthier food choices. This is all part of PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION. The goal is reducing health care cost. This will not happen solely by providing health care care to all. We need to become a healthier society. Health care isn't only the responsibility of health care providers, we each individually and collectively as a society have to commit to healthy living. Many chronic diseases are preventable with healthy life styles.
    I think it is absurd that we are questioning the inclusion of such programs.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  154. Glenn

    Hi Jack, absolutely yes. Healthy communities are planned to incorporate easy access to healthy recreation, and older communities should be redesigned to include trails, parks, and markets. Recreating is a positive step to reducing obesity and heart disease and will have a positive effect on our health care costs and our family unity. Also, paths that include walking and cycling access can reduce the number of cars on the road for trips to the market that are less than a mile. If I were the author of the Bill I would also include a tax credit for the purchase of a bicycle to promote playtime as a family.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  155. Birddog in Mississippi

    Leave the rest of this out of it. Walking paths where? They're not needed in rural areas. They exist in upper income areas and there's no place to put them in low income inner city areas where obesity is the greatest. Give us a public option! PLEASE. We're dying out here. Put in discounts for joining a local exercise program - that will help small business and the "obesity problem."

    July 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  156. Lance In Rio Vista

    Forget extra stuff the anti-public healthcare people can use against it!

    Let's just cut healthcare costs 75% for US businesses and 50% for citizens, then we can use that extra income from new jobs, new businesses, and increased disposable income spending to help pay for it! Besides- Kennedy already came up with a $600 billion number, Obama already explained $950 billion in savings and cuts...What's the Problem...besides the $1.4 million paid PER DAY to lobby against this?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  157. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    Not all the pork is clinging to hips and thighs. Every time my wife thinks ‘healthy’ we stock up on Slimfast, protein supplements, stationary bikes, rowing machines, juice extractors, vegetables etc. only to toss it when expiration dates come around and use the machines as clothes hangers. It’s easy to buy this stuff but using it is something else. If people are so inclined there’s nothing better than pushups, sit ups, squats & a pair of dumb bells.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  158. Doug Backer

    How much money is spent every year on highways and streets? We need to know that before we complain about this investment. We need more mass transit, more region trains, more bike lanes, more walking paths. We do not need more highways. – doug

    July 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  159. Carolyn H - Atlanta, GA

    It is not pork...people need these things to stay away from the doctor's office. I say yes and the doctors need to prescribe walking and fresh food diets to their patients rather than so many drugs that eventually compound their health problems.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  160. Tom

    Jack, You can't improve the health of Americans by spending billions on stuff that will only be used by healthy people, ie parks, bike trails, etc. If you truly want to see an improvement in the health of Americans, spend those billions on laproscopic surgery for the millions of Americans who need it right now. The only TRUE solution is the one that gets results.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  161. LaDelta and Keith W.

    We fully support the idea of including walking paths, jungle gyms, streetlights, and farmer's markets in the health legislation proposed. It is becoming increasingly clear that our nation is growing more obese. Most cynics would say if they do not know how to 'push back from the table', that is not our fault and we should not have to pay for it. However, we are paying for it because ultimately, the more that people have to go to the doctor and/or hospital with weight-related illnesses (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), the more our premiums for health insurance rise, therefore causing us to indirectly pay for unhealthy living. Our Eastern sisters and brothers are living longer than we are here in the West because they tend to adopt healthier, more naturalistic lifestyles (with exceptions, of course), and if this is what it takes for us to get on the bandwagon, so be it! Anything that would help promote a culture of healthy living and habits is worth the cost-in the long run.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  162. Melissa J.

    No, Jack of course not, because who needs to exercise or jog in a park with streetlights and our kids can just play on old dangerous playground equipment. I think its better that we can spend more money going to expensive health clubs and buying our kids crappy toys or maybe they can just jump on an old rusty mattress at the local "community center". Farmers Markets? Who needs those? We can just continue to stuff our faces with genetically modified food and chemicals until we all die and then this is no longer an issue..

    July 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  163. CPT Johnathan Martin


    Absolutely money for such preventative measures should be included. I would go further and say that money should go to our schools to have active physical training programs and actual balanced nutrition. As an Infantry Company Commander I've watched new Soldiers come in more and more out of shape and lazy. As a nation we must change our culture of short cuts and laziness or we'll all pay a much higher cost in the long run. I've been in Europe (and the Middle East of course) for the last 5 years and Europe has such infastructure and a healthier populace, but more importantly they also aren't afraid to walk or ride a bike.

    CPT Martin

    July 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  164. shaul

    $2.50 on a $10 dinner.?! thats how much we have to date towards paying for this 1 trillion dollar healthcare reform. I ask – who in the world has the audacity to eye the desert menu when they cant afford the entree.? sounds alot like a date from hell. ..... word of advice, stick to meat and potatoes

    Shaul from Bellwood, IL

    July 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  165. Tillie

    No tax dollars should not be used most of your towns already have these. I live in a town of over 10k we have over 5 parks and 5 miles of walking paths round trip on any given day you see probably 4 to 5 people taking advantage of these facilities and Iam being generous with that figure.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  166. kim hicks

    Are you kidding me? Jack ... have we lost our ever loving minds – bike paths and farmers markets in a health care package? Obama is trying to bankrupt the country now – and for certain, with the lame uncertain excuse that heathcare costs will bankrupt the country later.

    With this administrations track record on "predicting" ecomonic conditions, I'll take my chances on later.

    Fredericksburg Texas

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  167. Roland-St George, UT

    While it's true that a large percentagie of health care costs could be reduced by getting people to adopt a healthier lifestyle (aka: prevention), including parks, walking paths, farmers markets, etc. in the bill is not the right approach. They should pass the health care bill first, then focus on getting other legislation in place for the healthier-lifestyle amenities. And while they are at the latter, I hope they will include more funding for public/mass transit to make it more convenient for the majority of people, and include incentives for green community designing (non-car-centric). We are way too dependent on automobiles in this country, even in places where a good public transit system should be a viable option. I think we've run out of excuses. it's time we get with the program.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  168. James in San Diego


    Can President Obama suspend by executive order the golden health care coverage congress gets until after they enacted something decent for the rest of us?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  169. Philip

    Congress, under either party, operates solely on the "six degrees of separation" theory: if you can connect your amendment to the main purpose of the bill in six or less steps then you can get it in! You want to get increased funding for oil drilling in Iraq which is linked to the military presence in the country which is linked to the veterans at Walter Reed who are part of the VA Benefits program which is a direct link to the Health Care bill! And it was done in only four degrees! And Kevin Bacon thought he was the only thing everyone could be linked to!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  170. Liz in Monterey, CA

    It's shameful that pork is cluttering up the critical bills Obama is trying to work on. Our congress should only include relevant spending in each bill, and the President should have a line-item veto to get rid of PORK in all bills!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  171. sharon

    What a contrast between the American and Canadian psyche. Local, provincial and national governments in Canada are allocating large portions of their infrastructure budgets to bike lanes and walking paths and other such initiatives. Hey, guess what. Canada spends less than two thirds of the amount America does on health care and their citizens have substantially longer life spans. Gosh, I wonder if there's any correlation.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  172. Lynnette from Searsport,ME

    Please just give us a public health plan to give everyone a chance to have decent health care. Don't include the public works program in this bill. Put people to work building parks, walking paths, etc. as part of the overall stimulus plan, but make the health care plan simple, for a change. As long as we have inexpensive junk food available everywhere you turn, some people are not going to eat a healthy diet.
    As I recall, before Senator Kennedy became ill, he was quite hefty. I wonder how much walking he did in the park! Maine is a poor state with so many families uninsured and unemployment going higher and higher with little hope for jobs that provide health coverage. I also understand that our Senator Collins is against the public health plan and is worried about independent insurance companies "going out of business". She needs to concentrate on her state's people and their plight.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  173. BoB bella Vista Ar

    jack : Why can't we make thing simple and make health care about hearth care. Congress alway want to make problems bigger then it is.Keep it simple.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  174. CPT Johnathan Martin

    Jack, forgot to include: I'm in Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany

    July 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  175. Dorothy from Lonoke, Arkansas

    No. As a cancer survivor who has been declared a "high risk", I just want coverage, not extras. I can exercise and eat healthy right right now, but I can't afford the 900 a month, $10,000 deductible that is the cheapest a reputable carrier has quoted me, and don't know anybody who could.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  176. Toni from OK

    The Public Health Care legislation needs to be dedicated strickly for health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  177. Ernie Morgan in Bluefield, WV

    I'm all for it. Parks, walkways and farmer's markets do promote healthier lifestyles and the money spent will stay here in the U.S. . . . you can't outsource fresh locally grown produce, walkways and parks.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  178. Jane Jaones

    Somehow we need to get rid of most of Congress...they are idiots !
    Jane J

    July 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  179. Han Thesobs in Ca

    Republicans already have enough help in the 1.4 million per day in lobbying against ANY reform. It should be an "If-Then" addition to the healthcare bill. "If" preventative healthcare CUTS costs, "then" we should do MORE! It would be automatic then. They thouldn't be able to fight that!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  180. Leonard

    Maybe not in the Health Care bill, but if we are going to address health and energy in this country we need to start by reversing the last 50+ year trend of building our country around cars and commerce, and start building an infrastructure that supports people and community.

    Not only do we need more parks, sidewalks and bike paths, we need to start enforcing traffic laws, especially in our neighborhoods and commercial districts.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  181. Sheila Kramer

    Absolutely! There is a direct correlation between having healthy lifestyle options available and a healthy populace. From the time my sons were old enough to balance a bike we were on the bike trail. They are now in their 30's and ride their bikes to work so the initial experience of riding stuck. Our community has added to the trail on a regular basis and now is expanding to the bedroom communities. Yes SF has bedroom communities. Mornings and evenings our parks and walking paths are filled with young and old enjoying the outdoors and TV and video games sit idle. Build it and they will ride/walk.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  182. Liz in CA

    This bill should only address health care. While parks do assist us in creating and maintaining healthier lifestyles, we already have many of them and states don't have the funds to take care of them, let alone more. Let's deal with the basics first-health insurance, not pork!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  183. Carol Auburndale, Fl

    No. It is time to have a bill with one thing in it and have a straight yes or no vote. This would eliminate all the wastefull spending that goes on in Washington. There are plenty of parks and the people can walk on the streets sidewalks that are already paid for. What do you need money for a farmers maket? They can sell their stuff on the street corners.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  184. Hugh Scott

    Who ever it was that put jungle gyms and bike paths in the health care bill obviously doesn't want it to pass. They knew when they did it that the opponents of health care reform would jump up and down screaming "pork, pork, pork". Sounds like a good plan to kill the bill and still be able to claim that you tried but the republicans wouldn't get on board. Health insurance companies 1, American public 0.
    Hugh Scott
    Larkspur, CA

    July 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  185. Dallen (Austin, Tx)

    If it takes pork money for parks/walkways etc. to get healthcare legislation passed then im all for it! America needs healthcare reform and we need it now. This pork should not discourage or deter anyone from helping millions of Americans. It's just the way things are done in Washington and people should not continue to go without health insurance in a world power such as ours just because some of the money goes to other projects.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  186. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Fresh food and a good brisk walk is more often than not better medicen than pharmaceuticals. When I first read your question I thought such amendments were pork. But, when I thought of what really has benefitted my health the most in my life, I must admit it is my diet and exercise. And it's a lot cheaper than health insurance. Maybe that's why they want us to think these amendments are pork. They can't compete with free common sense exercise and diet.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  187. Cavey

    Parks, Walkig path's, and farmers markets are fantastic tools for people who are seeking to better there health, and we could use more of them. But unless people are willing to take a walk insted of going to a movie, or shop at a farmers market for dinner insted of eating at Mc Donalds then only a
    few will bennifit.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  188. Gigi

    Until we want a healthier life style we will need excessive health care. Paid for out of pocket or with your tax money.

    To provide markets, parks etc. is cheaper in the long run and provides jobs, and keeps our money out of the pocket of big business. We are going to pay taxes no matter what. Do you want it spent on politicians, big business or health care for you. The taxes will be collected and spent . Until you speak up it will be given to the first to choices.

    Why are other free world countries happy with socially provided health care, elderly care and education. They are leaner and better educated than the U.S. And that is a fact. Don't ask a poll provider ask someone who lives in such a country. They are not a utopia but they are better than what we have.


    July 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  189. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    We have parks and farmers markets now in many places, but unless they take away people's right to choose where to eat and spend recreational time (which I am sure is on Obama's agenda), none of this stuff is a good idea, not to mention how bad of an idea government run health-care is. Most Americans live very busy lives and are not obese by choice, but how their lifestyle is dictated to them. We are a society of multi-tasking, driven people and we place a premium on our time. Convenience has a lot of value for most people. Having the government over-spend to put a walking park next door to an obese person, who doesn't want to waste precious free-time walking in a circle outdoors for 2 hours, is not going to make that person any less obese.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  190. Mike

    Jack, these projects need to be considered part of our nation's comprehensive public health reform, because our lack of health is part of the problem. There is plenty of research that shows reduced incidences of disease and long term health problems in active communities. Preventative health measures reduce the long term costs of health care, namely hospitalization and expensive medical treatment, with a smaller investment up front. Maybe the fast food, health insurance and pharmaceutical industries would like to keep Americans on their ever-expanding rumps, but this is just the sort of broad policy agenda that can help us to help ourselves. Amazingly enough, it turns out that people enjoy walking, biking and eating real food when given the opportunity. Our government should absolutely be in the business of building healthy communities.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  191. Cynthia Thomas

    If Senator Enzi wants to get rid of pork, then he should stop eating it! It's pork, beef and processed foods that make Americans sick in the first place. We need to start supporting preventative health measures and educate the public about proper diet. Big agri-companies call us "consumers", but we are citizens...citizens who simply consume too much junk! Just think, if every American exercised a little more, only ate local, organic foods, what would happen to our health care costs? They would plummet! If more people ate organic, prices would come down. No more excuses!

    July 9, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  192. Kevin in Dallas

    We're not using the parks and walking paths we have now, why build more? The farmers markets are being used though.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  193. Han G Thesobs in Ca

    As long as we can wear our guns on the walkways and in the Farmer's Markets!

    Really now. Is there really ANY common sense arguments against healthcare? Preventative healthcare? No. So why should we HAVE to use FACTS and LOGIC and scream our lungs out?

    Big Phama spends $100's of millions in ads on TV and radio, $100s of millions more now in LIES about the public option, and 100's of millions in lobbying the people WE elect. Shouldn't something in there be ILLEGAL?

    July 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  194. Joseph

    Walking paths? Last time I checked, we already had plenty of walking paths in every city in this country. They're called "sidewalks".

    -Joseph, Los Angeles

    July 9, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  195. Chris, Bx. NY

    It is a wellness incentive, it does add up to jobs also since someone has to build these things.......Also the small farmers get to make currency from the farmers markets. I'm all for it. Also it's a good thing to have the current Secretary of Health and Human services, and future appointees, decide what is reasonable, and what is excessive.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  196. Michael M Phoenix AZ

    Yes! Walking is one of the best ways to exercise...it keeps the blood circulating, the heart pumping...all you have to do is exercise regularly, like walking, eat balanced meals by staying away from all the fast foods, frappachinos, etc. And you don't need to buy those so-called "diet/nutrition" meals that are advertised constantly about being the "right size" meals...just eat moderately.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  197. Mike

    As usual the goverment can take a great idea and find a way to waste billions without getting the results. Let's face it , we are an unhealthy nation and obesity is certainly a primary cause. The two leading preventable causes of death in the United States are smoking and obesity. How about taxing fast foods and tobacco to fund the current system while at the same time forcing people to either take control of their own health or pay the price. Of course this is absurd because people would actually have to take responsibilty for their own health. As a physician for the past 15 years, I can promise you that if smoking and/or obesity where significantly reduced, I would have to find a new job. Healthy people don't generally need the healthcare system. We do not have a healthcare crisis, but instead, we have a health crisis. Until we confront this, the cost will continue to rise and yes bankrupt the nation.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  198. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    NO. Those are great ideas, but should not be part of health legislation. How about replacing some of the bird, mouse, etc. studies with funding "people" improvement bills.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  199. Judy from Canada

    Interesting ideas people have. Health care accessable for ALL Americans is a good idea. Other countries do it. It is expensive. But all are covered. The wait times really are no worse than the US and the doctors and nurses are equally or better trained Have been on both sides. Investing in preventive is always a good idea and saves heal;th and money in the long term Time the US catches up with other countries.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  200. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    No. With all of Senator Kennedy's money,WHY didn't he have a personal trainer? This infrastructure is pure pork and does not belong in this bill. People need to be motivated from within themselves. I don't care how nice a walking path is,if I don't have the internal motivation to improve myself then it simply isn't going to happen.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  201. RusRus

    Sure bike paths are pork for the wealthy who pay a gym and "personal trainer" to excercise. Ridiculous, if you can afford to pay for gym and personal trainer quit whinning about higher taxes. Its funny how people pay for their energy, electricity, gas and heating oil, and then pay to burn off their own excess energy. No wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans are nuts. Maybe if we tax people by their weight, things would change real quick.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  202. Gary, West Memphis, AR

    Jack, Taxes are going to go up, our out of pocket costs are going to go up and benefits down. There's nothing we can do about it, and it doesnt matter who's in office or Congress. We may as well ride our powerchairs to the donut isle.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  203. Alisa - Littleton, CO

    Let's look at some facts, Jack: I live in Colorado where we have beautifully maintained parks, playgrounds and paths everywhere you go. It is almost impossible to go anywhere and not see someone, somewhere walking, running, biking, kids playing. I moved here ten years ago from Iowa where if you are out walking for exercise people will actually pull over and offer you a ride because they think your car broke down.
    Paths and parks like we have here [in CO] are almost non-existent in Iowa. Yes, there are other factors like; the weather is much nicer in Colorado, and the price of meat is much cheaper in Iowa.
    If you look at the health epidemic that is likely to ensue because we are failing to take care of our bodies, I think we need to get with it, and build an ounce of prevention before we have even more pounds to cure.
    Now I have to fall back on a quote from an Iowa movie here, "If you build it, they will come."

    July 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  204. B

    It's called playing politics..

    July 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  205. Karen B, Austin, Texas

    New parks, walking trails, etc. to make people heathy. What are we going to do, look at them and get healthy? People don't use the ones we have now. Little kids do. We're sure doing a lot of thinking and work to get our healthcare fixed. This is just the sort of thing that makes all Americans so proud of our congress.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  206. Tamara, Daly City, CA

    Health care legislation should not include billions of dollars for parks, walking paths, and farmers markets. Existing public and private initiatives provide well for those amenities. The nation doesn't need comprehensive Federal health care legislation; it needs shrewd health care legislation that makes health insurance affordable and gets everyone covered. Confident, insured health care consumers can and will restore order, excellence, and thrift to a health care market that is now driven by fear.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  207. van joyner

    Prez Obama has a really tough job rebuilding the economy after eight years of republican goof-offs,he has inherited a broken government that was tailor made for the rich.He has only been in office for less than six months,if those who wish him to fail would just work with him and follow his lead and his vision,they may see the jobs,the economy,and every thing else he promised come to fruition,those states that recieved money should use it as presribed,that would make a big differance.I am Van from Houston.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  208. Natalie

    Yes. I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Since World War II, we have had this alarming increase in Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Why? The very environment in which we live promotes obesity. Access to affordable produce and infrastructure that will provide all people a safe place to move is the key. We have to make it easier for people to make the choice to move and eat healthier. All of the health care reform in the world won't change the fact that people don't move their bodies or eat adequate fruits and vegetables. Not rocket science, but reducing obesity rates by promoting a more healthful environment are the very ways to save money for the long-term.

    Alpharetta, GA

    July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  209. C. Martin, Birmingham, AL

    NO, NO and NO. Congress needs to learn that the days of these buried little gifts to their pet causes are over. We are in serious trouble concerning healthcare. Every penny needs to go to universal healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  210. Gary, West Memphis, AR

    Our nation needs to alot more than bike paths to lessen the health care burdon. We as a nation need to eat less, move more. Effective legislation should include banning tobacco and anything that contains "high fructose" or "partially hydroginated". These items contribute to metabolic syndrome, a simply awful condition resulting in morbid obesity and its subsequent ailments which will eventually bankrupt our nation.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  211. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Sure Jack, load it up with pork. That will guarantee it won't pass, and we'll be spared from government mismanaged health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  212. Mike in Atascadero

    Jack, I know that the pharmaceutical, health insurance and fast food industries would love to keep us on our ever-expanding rumps, but this is just the sort of broad policy agenda that is needed to help solve America's health care epidemic. Preventative health measures like these reduce the most expensive health care costs, hospitalization and lifelong drug treatment. Plenty of research shows lower levels of obesity and heart related illness in communities where people are physically active, and amazingly enough, it turns out that people actually enjoy experiencing nature through walking, biking and eating real food when given the opportunity. Our government ought to be in the business of building healthy communities because it helps us help ourselves.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  213. andyz Lynn, MA

    Excellent question, Jack.I believe that the question should be is this: Should we change the manner in which legislation is passed at the national level to one iisue, one law. No riders. No hidden Easter Eggs for cronies back home. Then we the people can understand who supported what.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:58 pm |