“The federal government’s decision to begin covering obesity treatment will help trial lawyers in their quest to blame the epidemic on the food and restaurant industries,” reports the Washington Times. Litigation ringleader John “Sue the Bastards” Banzhaf said the government’s decision to reclassify obesity as if it were a disease “opened the door almost as far as they can go. Everything now is a technicality.”

The man largely responsible for Medicare’s decision — opening the door to Banzhaf’s buddies — is Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. When he arrived in Washington, an overweight Thompson vowed to lose a few pounds, saying: “I had to start looking the part.” He noted that weight loss isn’t a complex issue: “It’s not rocket science. It’s less calorie intake and more exercise and you’re going to improve your health.” So what did Thompson do? He clipped on a pedometer, walked more, and started doing sit-ups and push-ups. The result: he lost 15 pounds — without costly government payouts or lawsuits from greedy trial lawyers.

Popular opinion isn’t with the blame-others crowd setting Medicare policy and encouraging lawsuits. One recent poll revealed that 83 percent of Americans think “it is the responsibility of individuals to get obesity under control.” The same survey found that 68 percent of Americans believe “lack of exercise” is the main cause of obesity, compared to “eating too much” at 32 percent. An Associated Press poll also reports: “More than three-quarters said individuals bear responsibility for themselves, while 9 percent pointed to family and 8 percent blamed fast-food restaurants.”

Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of Americans who oppose Banzhaf’s moronic lawsuits, a disgusted Joe Soucheray, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, argued:

You’ve already taken a big step in legitimizing the lawsuits when you get the government set up to provide medical treatments for fat people. Why, if they need medical treatment, it certainly cannot be their fault if they get fat. And if it isn’t their fault then it must be somebody’s fault. Big Food.

Soucheray concludes by warning that our eating choices may soon be dictated by bureaucrats and barristers: “Inside five years it will be illegal for anyone younger than 18 to buy a Big Mac in the United States of Victimhood.”