Human Exceptionalism

Arizona Medicaid to Charge Smokers a $50 Premium–Why Not the Promiscuous?

I am really tired of the morality police going after smokers and obese people–all in the name of “health” of course. From the NYT story:

Arizona, like many other states, says it is no longer able to finance its Medicaid program adequately. As part of a plan to cut costs, the state has proposed imposing a $50 fee on childless adults on Medicaid who are either obese or who smoke. In Arizona, almost half of all Medicaid recipients smoke; while the number of obese people is unclear, about one in four Arizonans is overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no denying that people who smoke or are obese–and especially both–generally have poorer health than their abstemious and thinner counterparts. But people who sleep around also have worse health–with much more quickly manifested consequences–and we never hear talk of punishing or charging them for their unhealthy behaviors.  And how ironic that at a time when private health insurance companies have been told by Obamacare that they can’t underwrite, we see public health (here and overseas) beginning to do just that.

Why are smokers and obese people under health care assault and not the promiscuous, whose lifestyle is also unhealthy? Society is adopting high school values, and smokers and obese people are the out crowd.   Sleeping around is the football team and cheer leading squad. Indeed, in the media of popular culture, it is energetically and positively encouraged. Think Cosmo.


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