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Arizona Governor Proposes Flab Tax

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 3 years ago

United States 3

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The WSJ reports that Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer has proposed levying a $50 fee on some enrollees in the state's cash-starved Medicaid program, including obese people who don't follow a doctor-supervised slimming regimen and smokers and says the proposal is a way to reward good behavior and raise awareness that certain conditions, including obesity, raise costs throughout the system. "If you want to smoke, go for it," says Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program. "But understand you're going to have to contribute something for the cost of the care of your smoking." Coury says Arizona officials hadn't yet finalized how they would determine whether a person was obese or had sufficiently followed a wellness plan, but that measures such as body-mass index could provide some guidance. Estimates for the costs of obesity in America range from about $150 billion to $270 billion a year. According to the latest CDC statistics, from 2009, 25.5% of Arizonans are obese, about 1.7 million people. Only Colorado and the District of Columbia come in under the 20% mark, and the highest rate is in Mississippi, with a population that is 34.4% obese."

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This sounds Interesting BUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35713644)

Where does it end? Do you start adding that tax to those who have genetic predispositions for cancer and heart disease? How about those who engage in risky behavior such as unprotected sex? One might argue that Smoking is a chosen behavior, then again so is tanning(either in a tanning bed or naturally in the sun) which also raises cancer risks. How about looking at past job history and start taxing those who have worked in places/fields which exposed them to carcinogens above the "average"? How about a more viable and less punishment based taxing to actually raise money for your Medicaid program like a tax on fast food, sugary drinks, and alcohol/tobacco? If you want to actually help those follow doctors advice, how about discounts on gym memberships and stop-smoking aids. Coming from a state where you need to carry your papers if you happen to be the wrong skin color, I can understand where she would feel that punishing the next groups on her list might seem like a good thing, unless you happen to be on that list.

Re:This sounds Interesting BUT (1)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35715428)

Never mind that BMI is a completely useless metric unless you also know a significant amount about the person's fitness level. Muscle has a higher density than fat, so if you take a world-class eats-steroids-for-breakfast-lunch-and-dinner bodybuilder with a package the size of a AAA battery, they may have 3% body fat but their BMI will declare them horribly obese. Now, granted, they're likely to have an impact on the medical system eventually, but not in the same way a massively obese person will.

Any different than auto insurance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35716068)

Drive safer, get a break on insurance. Eat safer, get a break on insurance.

It should not stop at nutrition. You want to do things that are inherently risky like skateboard, bicycle or motorcycle without a protective gear? Go for it once you get the insurance company to cover you. You want to smoke or use alcohol to excess or have unprotected non-monogamous sex, get the appropriate coverage.

People who respect their bodies should not have to pick up the tab for those that don't.

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