As part of a plan to cut costs, [Arizona] 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. — NYTimes
Uh-oh. Here come those anti-government, libertarian, don’t-let-the-liberals-tell-us-what-to-do conservatives again using safety-net style laws to achieve their social engineering goals. Basically, they’re saying, “You’re poor, uninsured, and desperate for health care? Well it’s all your own fault, losers! So push back from the fast food table, lose the smokes, or pay the price!”
Maybe the law doesn’t go far enough. Why just tobacco? Processed sugar is pretty damn deadly, too — can they test for Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, and Red Bull? And what about alcohol — deadly as French kissing Medusa — if you’re on Medicaid, no booze. And no playing the lottery, driving without a seat belt, or texting while jay-walking. As for birth control or *gasp* abortions, go to hell on earth New Jersey where sin is as common as sneezing.
We’ll make model citizens out of these desperately poor uninsured fat bastards if we have to kill them off one by flabby one.
Leave aside the knotty issues about who’s obese by congenital factors vs. who’s obese by McDonald’s and Twinkies addiction. Forget for a moment the victim-blaming mentality implicit in this proposal. Try to forget the billions in government support offered the industries who produce and market the products that contribute most to nicotine addiction and obesity. What’s the point of this legislation?
“Some people have suggested it is discriminating against obese people. To me, it is a matter of fairness. We have an obligation to provide health care coverage to 1.35 million people. And we’ve got a budget crisis, so if there’s something you can do to help out — we’re just asking you to put a little more back into the system. What we want to test is whether making people pay is going to affect behavior. We think it will.” — Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona’s Medicaid program.
Fair enough, right? Government manipulating behavior — the classic accusation of “social engineering” aimed at liberals — by financial penalties aimed at the segment of the population least capable of affording it. Class warfare, anyone? Another favorite epithet so-called conservatives toss at liberals.
It all depends whose ox is gored. No relation to Al.
In fact, I think the basic idea behind the proposal makes sense. If I’m paying your insurance, why aren’t you taking care of yourself? Because you’re not paying for it? You get a free ride and the rest of us play the shmuck?
But it’s half-assed. Sure, to fix the system, you have to start somewhere. So start at the top — the insurance companies, the physicians, Medicare and Medicaid. The tobacco industry and poisonous product manufacturers who peddle their filth as foodstuffs. Don’t balance our screwed-up system on the backs of the weakest and most vulnerable and appeal to our sense of justice. That’s perverted.
But that’s America in the 21st century.