Special Interests Back Unhealthy Behavior

The obese, the smokers, the couch potatoes and all manner of other unhealthy behavior types have a friend in AARP and 60 other groups who oppose efforts to give a break on health insurance premiums to workers who watch their weight, exercise and manage their cholesterol. The special interests worry that workers unable to modify unhealthy behaviors might find premiums unaffordable. The Senate HELP bills would allow discounts of up to 30% and a House proposal would allow a 50% discount for those who engage in wellness programs.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ken says:

    This should not be an FYI. It should be a “beam me up.” There is definitely no intelligent life in this story.

  2. Jo says:

    Agree with Ken. This would be funny, if it were not so sad.

  3. Tom H. says:

    AARP can be counted on to be on the wrong side of just about every issue.

  4. Nat says:

    I agree with the comment that AARP seems to be on the wrong side of a lot of issues, including health care, but does anyone kno why?

  5. Brian says:

    To offer discounts for healthy living is and should be a part of reform but I disagree with much of it especially concerning wieght issues.
    Being over-weight is NOT always unhealthy. In fact it is MORE healthy to be over-weight rather than be underweight. In fact is is extremely dangerous to anyone to lose or gain more than 10 pounds in a months time.
    We as a society are worshipping the anorexic. Every year we hear that you are to weigh less and less.
    1) Obesity is a problem
    2) NOT all obesity is an issue of behavior

    What about smoking? It is certainly an un-healthy behavior, but no riskier than working in most factory jobs. What about those who work with chemicals? Are these people to be penalized for working in a carcinogenic atmosphere? It is a behavior that can be altered. Ludicrous? Of course it is.

    What about those who indulgde in tanning beds? It is as dangerous (and slightly MORE dangerous), than smoking. Do we increase the healthcare costs of these people?

    Point being that unhealthy behavior has its own consequences. Who decides what “bad behavior” entails?

    Alcoholic consumption?
    A huge factor in illness and wellbeing not to mention the immediate affects of drinking.(destruction of property and such)

    Drug use/abuse?
    Most drugs have toxic affects on the body. Liver and kidney failure etc…. What about penalizing people for taking medicine? It is poison and it certainly can cause major health issues

    Where does it stop?

    BTW AARP is on the CORRECT side of healthcare. Otherwise, left in the hands republicans/conservatives, there would be NO healthcare reform. Republicans have conbsistantly cut funding for healthcare for veterans, elderly and the disabled. The only reform that republicans are truly interested in is NO REFORM at all.

  6. Algamed says:

    1. Almost 78 percent of enrusid Massachusetts residents receive their coverage through anemployer There must be some qualifiers missing (residents of a certain age, maybe?) but since we’re almost all enrusid, and 20% of us are on Medicare, and 20% of us are on Medicaid, and at least 1% of us buy our insurance individually then that only leaves 59% that could be getting insurance through employers (and I don’t think it’s that high)2. The 2006 law created the Health Safety Net Trust Fund to replace the state’sUncompensated Care Pool, with continued funding from a combination of private and publicsector revenue sources. It appears he is calling direct taxes such as on hospital admissions and insurance premiums private revenue sources while calling general appropriations made from indirect tax sources public. Interesting public accounting concept.3. A state report on health care cost trends found that, on average,premiums per member per month in the individual merged market were 33 percent lower in2008 than premiums in the pre-reform, non-group market. I think what the state report really found was that a 50 year old in 2008 paid less than a 50 year old in 2005, after the merger of the two markets because individuals could then pay small group rates. But in 2008, the 2005 50-year-old, by then 53, was still paying a lot more that 3 years earlier simply by staying alive. And it’s all kind of a yawn since there were less than 50,000 people covered by people buying insurance individually in 2005. That number is now getting up around 80,000 because of fewer people being offered insurance through employment4. Related, somewhere the author talks about more employers offering insurance but it is important to note that they are offering it to fewer of their employees5. I don’t see mention that most self enrusid plans are exempt from the reform rules and that most employer sponsored insurance is self enrusid (that being said, self insurers typically lead in providing excellent healthcare insurance; the point is that they don’t do it because the state tells them to)