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.