A Revolutionary Healthcare Plan

| October 9, 2009 | 0 Comments

I’m tired of the healthcare reform debate.  I understand it’s an important issue but the whole thing seems to have broken down into partisan bickering.

And what really bothers me is neither side is getting to the root cause of it all.

I think skyrocketing health care costs can be attributed to Americans’ lifestyle.  I know some things, like accidents and diseases like cancer, aren’t going to be cured by lifestyle changes alone.  But there are a lot of health problems we face that can be.

I try to live a healthy lifestyle.  I go to the gym three times a week to lift weights and do some cardio.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be competing for Mr. Olympia any time soon.  It’s more about fighting age and gravity to keep all of my body parts working and where they’re supposed to be.  And it gets a little tougher every year.

The other thing I’ve done in my fight to keep both feet out of the grave (hopefully for many years to come) is cut fast food almost completely out of my diet.  So far… so good.

So here it is… my plan for healthcare reform.  Change Americans’ lifestyle.

The biggest problem with living a healthy lifestyle is… it’s inconvenient.

So the first step is making it more convenient.  How about the government provides everyone with access to a gym or health club?  A sort of public option if you will.  We need to make it easier to live healthy.  And the cost of a gym membership is less than most prescription drugs.

As an added bonus, you can receive a tax credit for meeting certain body mass index numbers and other health criteria.

There’s nothing like dangling free money in front of people to get them to behave a certain way.  Just look at the success of the Cash-for-Clunkers incentives.  It brought people out of the woodwork to buy more cars.  More new cars were sold in a few months than in any month since the economy tanked.

Now we also need to make it less convenient to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  And the easiest way to make something less desirable and convenient is to tax it.  This isn’t a new idea, just look at the hefty sin taxes levied on tobacco products.

I think we should levy a 50% sin tax on all fatty foods to pay for healthcare.  Let’s hit everything from fast food to restaurants to grocery stores.  If you don’t offer or promote healthier foods, you need to pay.  We could even go so far as to limit advertising of companies who sell food that’s bad for you.

All right, I admit this is all a little extreme… almost to the point of being nonsense.  But that’s my point.  The healthcare reform debate has broken down into nonsense.  Too much misinformation and fear is being used to advance political ideology.

For some reason, I don’t see government adopting my ideas anytime soon.  (That’s probably a good thing.)  That means the good times should continue to roll for fast food companies.

Since we can’t beat ‘em, we might as well join ‘em.  And make a few bucks along the way.

Right now I think the best fast food company is Yum! Brands (YUM). They’re the world’s largest fast food company with more than 36,000 restaurants pumping out delicious and artery clogging eats.  They operate a number of chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s.

The key to YUM’s success is their international growth.  Specifically, they’ve targeted China in a big way.  Converting even a portion of the one billion Chinese to an Americanized diet should continue to drive growth for years to come.  (And in 20 years, the Chinese can have the same health problems we have.)

YUM just reported their most recent quarterly earnings a few days ago. They were able to post a solid 19% increase in EPS.  They also raised their full year EPS forecast to $2.14 from $2.10.

To sweeten the deal even more, YUM recently announced an 11% increase to their quarterly dividend and authorized $300 million in share repurchases.  The dividend yield is now 2.41%.

If you don’t own YUM already, consider adding it to your portfolio.  They may not be the solution to our healthcare problems, but they might solve the problems in your investment account.

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Category: Stocks

About the Author ()

Corey Williams is the editor of Sector ETF Trader, an investment advisory service focused on profiting from ETFs and the economic cycle. Under Corey’s leadership, the Sector ETF Trader has become one of the most popular and successful ETF advisories around. In addition to his groundbreaking service, Corey is the lead contributor to ETF Trading Research, where he shares his insights about ETFs and financial markets on a daily basis. He’s also a regular contributor to the Dynamic Wealth Report and the editor of one the hottest option trading services around – Elite Option Trader.

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