Arizona Medicaid considers tax on smokers, obese
BY MARK CARLSON (Associated Press)
Originally Published: Friday, April 01, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 01, 2011
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's cash-strapped Medicaid program is considering charging patients $50 a year if they smoke, have diabetes or are overweight.
A spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System said Friday that the fee is intended to rein in health care costs by pushing patients to keep themselves healthy.
"It engages the consumer to start having a greater awareness of how they fit into the bigger health care puzzle," said Monica Coury, spokeswoman for AHCCCS. "We want to be able to provide health care to people. And we want to stretch our dollars as far as we can. Part of that is engaging people to take better care of themselves."
Some private employers and state governments have instituted higher insurance premiums for workers who are overweight or smoke, but Arizona's plan would mark the first time a state-federal health care program for low-income residents has charged people for unhealthy lifestyles.
The fee would apply only to certain childless adults.
http://www.reliablenews.com/e69901-ariz … bese?cat=6
are are other states considering moves similar to this such as drug testing..etc
is this fair?
I can see charging them if they smoke. Charging them if they have diabetes is dumb. You can't charge someone extra for having an illness. They want to keep people from getting sick. Why punish those who already are. They can't do anything about their condition now.
Charging people for obesity is tricky. How would they determine if someone is obese? There is the body mass index, but that isn't accurate.
If they could then there would have to be some recognition for people improving their health. At any rate this could violate someones' rights. It would be very interesting to see if this goes through and if any lawsuits are filed.
Why not? After all, smokers already pay enough extra tax to cover any health problems they might incur - it just goes into general funds instead of extra health care.
Just another step to prevent individual freedoms by utilizing govt. fees and taxes. If you don't like someone doing something tax and penalize them until they can't afford it anymore.
Interesting that they would charge fat people, though. How would they determine what is too fat? 10# over ideal body weight as determined by govt panel of "experts"? That way heavily muscled people in perfect could be charged as well, once more increasing govt coffers. Heck, at that weight even normal Americans could be forced to pay extra. $$$$ coming in!
How about those with poor posture? Not enough fiber in their diet? People who drink more than 2 units of alcohol a day? Don't exercise at least 30 minutes a day? Drive a car that pollutes the environment? Don't get the regulation 8 hours a night sleep? Wear sunglasses that are not polarized? Spend too long in the sun? Live near electrical power plants? etc etc etc...........
Pretty sure only 3 people will qualify for Medicaid.
No, no Mark. We must eat this elephant one bite at a time. Today it's smokers and now fat people. The others will have to wait until tomorrow when the current battle is won and attention can be turned to something else we don't like.
Polarized sun glasses? Absolutely - it will not only "help" people to live right, but provide more jobs. Maybe we'll work on that one tomorrow.
The UK takes more taxes from smokers than it spends treating smoking related illnesses.
The biggest killer is of course obesity. Heres a thought, rather than taxing the man on the street, whose simple pleasures after a 12 hour shift for little money may be a big mac, a couple of beers, and a 10 pack of Marlboro, why not take more money from Marlboro, McDonalds and Budweiser?
Or is that too ideological? Making it more expensive for the consumer rather than scraping a bit off of the multi-billion dollar profit margins?
Or would that be unfair? Because some of the shareholders may be healthy living non-smoking teetotal church going upstanding citizens of the United States?
The biggest problem, to my mind, is that the (American at least) tax code has become a tool for social engineering instead of a method to raise necessary money for government operations. It has become a combination of "force someone else to pay more than I do" and "you should not do this or that and I will force you to stop by increasing your cost".
Nor will raising taxes of McDonalds or Budweiser make any real difference. It just raises the price to the consumer who must, in the long run, pay for all govt spending anyway.
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