A third key role of government is to protect and promote health through population-wide action. Governmental action is often a more effective and efficient means of protecting public health than the actions of individuals. Immunization mandates, fluoridation of water, iodization of salt, and micronutrient fortification of flour are all classic examples of this type of action; many were controversial initially but are widely accepted today because they save money and reduce illness, disability, and death.
For some issues, government may be the only entity capable of promoting the greater good by reconciling social and economic interests. Limiting promotion of tobacco and alcohol helps individuals by reducing consumption and benefits business by increasing workforce productivity and reducing health care costs. Although increased use of their products benefits tobacco and alcohol companies' employees and shareholders, other companies and society bear increased medical, economic, and social costs, as well as the illness and deaths caused by use of these products.
Government's Role in Protecting Health and Safety | …
Australia is fortunate to live in within a “Democracy” which means that all of our voices can be heard. This government means rule of the people. Rules and laws are put in place to keep us safe and to help us make good choices. Working together as one will help us to unite and live in peace.
Role in Protecting Health and Safety
Another example of the power of information is the graphic warnings on tobacco packages and antitobacco advertising to encourage smoking cessation. Pack warnings convey clear information about the health effects of tobacco use, creating a visual and visceral counter to the aggressive and often misleading information spread by tobacco companies, which have been convicted of deliberately deceiving the public about the health effects of tobacco. Antitobacco advertising helps counteract the industry's efforts to undermine science and its massive marketing expenditures. Opposition to such government efforts may have financial as well as philosophical or legal bases.
COH- Government Involvement in Health Care …
Opinions vary about whether a given behavior's risk to others is sufficient to warrant governmental action. But where there are clear ways to prevent substantial harms, government may have a responsibility to act. Smokefree laws illustrate the growing acceptance of actions that protect people from others' behavior. Such laws are often controversial when introduced, with opponents predicting reduced hospitality-industry profits and decrying infringement of personal freedoms, but they gain acceptance as people see their health benefits — and no economic harm to businesses. Smoke-free laws cost little to implement, improve health, reduce health care costs, increase productivity, save lives, and do not reduce overall business revenues or tax receipts. A large majority of the U.S. public now favors such laws.
COH- Government Involvement in Health Care
Free and open information empowers people to make informed choices and reduces the likelihood that misinformation or hidden information will endanger health. Laws may require disclosure of factual information (e.g., product content), provide for government transparency (freedom of information), or prevent dissemination of inaccurate or misleading information. Newer applications of this principle include calorie labeling in restaurants, which appears to encourage some companies to offer and some people to choose more healthful food options. The initial costs to restaurants to perform nutritional analyses and reprint menus and menu boards are the focus of most objections, but these costs may be counterbalanced by lower health care costs and increased productivity. Some people value the transparency that such laws require, regardless of the health effects.