Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 26, 2013

Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — But that viewpoint doesn't factor in the burden to everyone else of paying for the diabetes care, heart surgeries and other medical expenses incurred by obese people, noted John Cawley, a health economist at Cornell University.

"If I'm obese, the health care costs are not totally borne by me. They're borne by other people in my health insurance plan and — when I'm older — by Medicare," Cawley said.

From an economist's perspective, there would be less reason to grouse about unhealthy behaviors by smokers, obese people, motorcycle riders who eschew helmets and other health sinners if they agreed to pay the financial price for their choices.

That's the rationale for a provision in the Affordable Care Act — "Obamacare" to its detractors — that starting next year allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.

Big Red Number $243B Annual health care costs for smokers and the obese

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
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