The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has lots of little hidden provisions that are slowly emerging to try to force you to be healthy. One is a requirement that vending machines list calorie counts for all of their Cheez-Its, Nilla Wafers, alleged “trail mix” and other nutritional detritus that you might otherwise have mistaken as being good for you.
The new law will affect about 5 million machines around the country, causing a major headache for the 11,000 vending machine companies that will have to comply.
One vending machine company owner called it “outrageous,” telling Atlanta's KNTV: “How many people have not read a label on a candy bar? If you're concerned about it, you've already read it for years.”
The Food and Drug Administration estimates that the new law will cost the vending machine industry $25.8 million up front and $24 million annually subsequently, according to NBC. Only companies that operate 20 or more machines will have to post calorie counts. They have one year to comply.
But it will all balance out, the government says. According to the feds, if just 0.02% of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week, it would save at least $24 million a year in healthcare costs, CNN reports. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 35% of Americans are obese, and healthcare costs related to obesity reached $147 billion in the United States in 2008. So, if people can be
shamed educated into not eating that Snickers bar, it's a win-win!
Vending machines aren't the only target of the Affordable Care Act — the FDA is apparently also working on rules to require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to provide calorie information.
With the caloric consequences staring you in the face, the thrill of the illicit midafternoon Skittles grab soon will be gone, so get your numeral-free Ho-Hos while you can.
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