I argue yes.
Safer from government over-regulation and forced medicalization of Americans, anyway.
Recently President Donald J Trump’s DOT decided to shelf a motion seeking to apply a strict new set of rules regarding sleep apnea on the nation’s truck drivers. On the surface this might seem like your normal pro-business expected Trumpian and GOP styled response to a matter of this nature.
However, once you take a look at the numbers like we’ll be doing today, you will quickly see the giant room for fraud, waste and abuse had this issue simply been given the rubber stamp of government approval.
Obstructive sleep apnea, where a person has anywhere from 5 – 50 episodes of stopping breathing while sleeping per hour, is the typical form of sleep apnea many adults experience as they head into their late 30’s and early 40’s.
But Americans have disproportionately high rates of sleep apnea, and truckers even more so, due to a large percentage of Americans being overweight and leading sedentary lifestyles devoid of proper nutrition and regular exercise.
Cannot Legislate a Cure for Sleep Apnea
In fact, there is no cure for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea’s baby brother is snoring, which is a strong indicator that sleep apnea may develop in the person who snores. The most commonly known treatment method of sleep apnea is the CPAP machine, which delivers Continuous Positive Airway Pressure into the mouth, throat, and eventually down the pipes to the lungs.
Sleep apnea, while potentially fatal to the sufferer, can also become a public danger as well. Lack of concentration, drowsiness, high blood pressure, enlarged heart, and higher risk of stroke and heart attack as well as depression, can lead to a higher risk of automobile accidents, especially if you are driving 8 hours a day.
But as a person who himself has never been a professional truck driver, I have lived the mobile lifestyle, living out of hotels and traveling the entire Western United States extensively. To be honest I have had a disproportionately low rate of near-accidents or dangerous driving scenarios featuring a snoring CDL holder (commercial driver’s license).
That’s why to me the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is appearing to overstep the bounds of fairness and normalcy for all Americans by attempting to unfairly hold truck drivers to higher standards than the average American, who is also highly likely to be overweight, and thus at the same risk of sleep apnea.
It also appears as yet another attempt by a bloated federal government sub agency to be relevant by attempting to create a set of rules for others to follow.
Relevance = same budget as last year or more for my office (in federal government employee and agency director thinking)
When I was in the US Navy, our office Senior Chief always encouraged us to use every last resource that was in the office so that our budget would never decrease.
This also attempts to be an attempt to sell wares on behalf of the medical industry. Let me explain.
The most common form of treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP, which means lots of doctor’s visits, expensive equipment, and tons of money for all involved.
Other alternative and more affordable options include the sleep apnea mouthpiece, though cutting out alcohol, eating right, and getting lots of exercise seem to be the only true form of stopping the throat and neck mass of the human body from sinking back and obstructing the throat and airway throughout the night.
This is why many people just go with the CPAP because it’s the most common status quo treatment.
But even the CPAP is NOT going to cure sleep apnea. It may be better than nothing, but get this- once you start CPAP, if you stop, you are at EVEN GREATER RISK of dying in your sleep or having fatal complications from sleep apnea.
And why many people opt for a safer, less expensive, unobtrusive, non-committal solution to sleep apnea and snoring.
So when the FMCSA wants to require truck drivers with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of higher than 40 to get immediate treatment within 90 days (which means a CPAP in other words), and since at least 38% of all American truck drivers are officially rated as obese, and there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, then this means on CPAP machines alone not even counting the cost of doctor’s visits and associate fees, an astounding
4.5 billion dollars
But I’m sure you don’t see any insurance companies or medical companies complaining.
In fact, if this doesn’t sound like a combination of Atlas Shrugged and Obamacare combined, then what else would you call it? Of course, those insurance companies and medical companies would probably prefer to just legislate the requirement for every man, woman, child, and dog in America to have a sleep apnea machine.
And if they don’t?
It’s all Trump’s fault. And a Russian conspiracy too. Still kids, don’t take naps at the wheel, or else this will happen: