The Nanny State Has Plans for You

quit-smoking-ad2[This is what’s in] the health care reform bills passed by the Senate Finance and Health committees.

By more than doubling the maximum rewards and penalties that companies can apply to employees who flunk medical evaluations, the bills could put workers under intense financial pressure to lose weight, stop smoking or even lower their cholesterol.

Under current regulation, incentives based on health factors can be no larger than 20 percent of the premium paid by employer and employee combined. The legislation passed by the Health and Finance committees would increase the limit to 30 percent, and it would give government officials the power to raise it to 50 percent.

A single employee whose annual premiums cost him and his employer the national average of $4,824 could have as much as $2,412 on the line. At least under the Health Committee bill, the stakes could be higher for people with family coverage. Families with premiums of $13,375 — the combined average for employer-sponsored coverage, according to a recent survey — could have $6,687.50 at risk.

Full story by David S. Hilzenrath in The Washington Post [gated].

Comments (5)

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  1. Brian W. says:

    That’s just what we need: government penalties for disease risk factors like obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol.

    Do you think there will be government penalties for other preventable medical risk factors, like teenage pregnancy, HIV, or living in cities built below sea level?

  2. Larry C. says:

    I actually don’t mind employers creating incentives. I do mind Congress getting involed. That’s when it becomes a nanny state.

  3. Nancy says:

    Brian: You don’t understand politically correct thinking. Politically correct choices cannot be discriminated against. Politically incorrect choices are indefensible and can be discriminated against.

    So there. Are we clear?

  4. Bud Kremer says:

    SWISS HEALTH CARE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY – What does the Swiss Health Care cost? What do you mean “at risk” in the “The Nanny State Has Plans for You”? Thanks for the very important work you do.


  5. Devon Herrick says:

    Public health advocates tend to support wellness programs that use nominal cash incentives to reward participation in healthy behaviors. But they have traditionally balked at financial penalties for people who fail to meet healthy guidelines.
    Yet, public health advocates see nothing wrong with taxing the sodas you drink or outlawing serving a decent meal inside a school. They also see nothing wrong with gouging taxpayers to fund bike paths, jogging trails, farmers’ markets and chronic disease management programs for people who fail to lead a healthy lifestyle.