It is wrong to base premiums on risk, right?

That’s what those evil insurance companies did before Obamacare. They based how much you paid for insurance based on factors such as obesity. It wasn’t fair that people with these conditions had to pay more or be denied insurance. Obamacare changed all that. Under Obamacare, you cannot be denied insurance or charged more for a pre-existing condition.

Still, the iron clad laws of economics cannot be legislated away. People who are obese will, on average, use more of the health care system than others. In the past, that was compensated for with higher premiums. How will it be dealt with when higher premiums cannot be charged? The “solution” is nanny state hectoring.

Daniel Callahan, senior research scholar at a bioethics think-tank, the Hastings Center explains.

“When you eat yourself to death, you’re pretty much just harming yourself,” he said.

But that viewpoint doesn’t factor in the burden to everyone else of paying for the diabetes care, heart surgeries and other medical expenses incurred by obese people, noted John Cawley, a health economist at Cornell University.

“If I’m obese, the health care costs are not totally borne by me. They’re borne by other people in my health insurance plan and – when I’m older – by Medicare,” Cawley said.

That said, public health officials shouldn’t shy away from tough anti-obesity efforts, said Callahan, the bioethicist. Callahan caused a public stir this week with a paper that called for a more aggressive public health campaign that tries to shame and stigmatize overeaters the way past public health campaigns have shamed and stigmatized smokers.

National obesity rates are essentially static, and public health campaigns that gently try to educate people about the benefits of exercise and healthy eating just aren’t working, Callahan argued. We need to get obese people to change their behavior. If they are angry or hurt by it, so be it, he said.

So. In the old system, people had to pay for their own situations. Your individual situation was none of my business.

In the new system, all costs are socialized. Now your situation is my business and I have a financial interest and a moral right to see you change.

According to supporters of Obamacare, it was wrong to base premiums on risk but it is fine to control people under color-of-law based on risk. In the old system, the evil insurance companies imposed requirements on you because you are fat. In the new system, the government imposes requirements on you because you are fat.

Or maybe rather than a higher premium, you just pay with your life.

Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?

Meet the new boss, same as worse than the old boss.

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5 Responses to It is wrong to base premiums on risk, right?

  1. Z says:

    Is the logic here to shame “obese” people (what is the definition of obese today/yesterday/tomorrow) because they are hurting themselves, or because the public has to foot their bill?

    If it is the latter, why not shame anyone on the public dole?

    Because obese people can keep from being obese, but the unemployed, yet able bodied, can’t do anything against the evil capitalist machine?

    Or better yet, obese people should be more responsible for their health, but able bodied welfare recipients should not be blamed for being irresponsible with their education, work ethic, integrity, etc?

    Which of course brings up education. Our schools are so bad, how can the public expect them to compete, thus public has to help.

    Well, why are the schools so bad…

  2. EastBayLarry says:

    The subtle message in this is “health sinners”, implying that the old Gospel is obsolete and the new gospel is gov’t regulation.
    Beware of this meme.

  3. notamobster says:

    Socialized responsibility is the very first step on the road to the gulag, re-education camp, or fresh ditch of the future. It has been since the first Marxian revolution of the proletariat.

    The road to hell and all that…

  4. Uke says:

    Faced with the high cost of caring for smokers and overeaters, experts say society must grapple with a blunt question: Instead of trying to penalize them and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?

    The irony is almost too sweet, because this is exactly the sort of thing they accuse conservatives/libertarians/individualists of doing (or wanting to implement in “our world”).

    They accuse us of wanting to let poor people, fat people, old people, smokers, orphans, the disaster affected, the disabled, etc., all just die.

    See: Alan Grayson.

    They believe (or, in the case of the more evil ones, blatantly and disingenuously purport) that our limiting government’s role in “charity” will directly and lastingly choke the life from anyone that it is currently helping. They don’t envision that there is another way.

    And then they turn around and suggest the parody as an actual plan.

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