Use health and economic stimulus to replace clunker bodies with longer-lasting models

Some U.S. Kaiser Permanente facilities provide...

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If you’re like most people, you missed out on or declined the opportunity to buy a new car subsidized by the rest of us in that Cash for Clunkers deal. Maybe you had just bought a new vehicle or like what you already have for wheels.

There’s been talk of similar programs for getting people to buy new refrigerators or washing machines to “stimulate” other parts of the economy.

So far, though, not a peep about stimulating people to have fun, lose weight and improve their overall fitness – while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

Let’s put together a program to trade in our clunkerly, out-of-shape bodies for more powerful yet sleeker, longer-lasting and fuel-efficient selves.

As long as we’re in health-care-reform season, let’s tie into that, too. Here’s a start:

Key provisions:

  • Health insurance plans will be required to pay 50% of the cost of a new bicycle manufactured in the United States if prescribed by a licensed physician. (This would not apply to high-end time trial bikes or $10,000 tandems. Let’s be reasonable. We have to draw a line somewhere.)
  • Ditto for running shoes, skates and cross-country skis.
  • Medicare will be authorized to negotiate lower prices on bicycles, lights, bottle cages, tubes, tires and Clif Bars.
  • Purchases of bicycle helmets will be fully subsidized by lobbyists for insurance companies.

What else would you like to see included?

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