Just as we were trying to decide whether John Edwards’s health care proposal would force us to visit the doctor, Britain’s minority Conservative Party is toying with the opposite idea.

“In a bid to ease spiralling levels of obesity and other health concerns, a Tory panel said certain treatments should be denied to patients who refuse to co-operate with health professionals and live healthier lifestyles,” reports the Evening Standard of London. “And those who do manage to improve their general health by losing weight and quitting smoking, for example, would receive ‘Health Miles’ cards. Points earned could then be used to pay for health-related products such as gym membership and fresh vegetables.”

Blogging lawprof Ann Althouse is, naturally, not impressed:

I’m picturing a whole weird future where we trade in government-granted points. Just tell me what you want me to do to get them and what I can buy with them. The parties could compete. One candidate says we should get points for having sex and writing blog posts and lets us spend them at ecologically correct resorts and restaurants that serve organic food. The other candidate is offering points for abstaining from sex and reading didactic books and lets us spend them on vitamins and memory foam beds. It will be endlessly engrossing, and after a while, you won’t even be able to remember what you actually like or want anymore.