Smoke-Out the Smokers

According to Administration open to taxing health benefits – NY Times 3-15-09, President Obama “could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system.”

This is a terrible idea and the last thing we need is more taxes. Our healthcare and insurance systems certainly need an overhaul and unfortunately there are no inexpensive, easy answers.

One thing I would do, to make health insurance more affordable, is outlaw every plan from paying for any healthcare related to smoking illnesses. If somebody wants to smoke cigarettes fine, but make them pay for their healthcare 100% on their own.

Its obscene and galling that one reason health insurance is so expensive is because people with coverage contribute to the cost of covering and providing healthcare for people who smoke.

We’ve known for decades how incredibly bad smoking is to our bodies. If somebody is addicted to cigarettes all the non-addicts should not be contributing to paying for the addict’s healthcare. While this is a harsh measure and people would suffer terribly and die two things could also happen: when smokers realize they have to pay for their healthcare 100% some would stop smoking, and health insurance costs should decrease.

One Response to “Smoke-Out the Smokers”

  1. Smokers tend to die sooner. This represents a terrific benefit to the solvency of the Social Security system. Also, their early deaths must surely offset at least some of the costs their smoking related ailments impose on the medical system.

    If fairness requires that smokers be punished for running up higher medical bills, it also requires that they be rewarded for the benefit their early deaths confer upon the Social Security system. In fairness, I would think, their Social Security pensions should be increased according to the actuarial value of the benefit conferred by their early deaths.

    Or, perhaps, the value of the benefit might be brought over to subsidize the health care system, compensating for the problem this post complains of and, in effect, removing the basis of the complaint.

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