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Old 10-02-2009, 05:22 PM   #1
Ought Six
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Arrow People who 'voluntarily' enroll in weight loss, quit smoking programs to pay lower premiums for gov healthcare

People with "healthy lifestyles" to see bigger reward


Carrie Budoff Brown
Politico -- Live Pulse blog
September 30, 2009


Despite opposition from more than 50 health groups, the Finance Committee approved an amendment Wednesday allowing employers to vary premiums by up to 50 percent to reward people who lead healthy lifestyles.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) described their amendment as a common-sense measure aimed at providing a financial incentive for people to change unhealthy behaviors.

“Weight gain and unhealthy lifestyles that focus on smoking and lack of exercise have sky-rocketed our healthcare costs," Ensign said in a statement. "These costs could be lowered by focusing on what makes us healthy - through weight loss programs, smoking cessation and preventive care. Voluntary employee participation in these areas should naturally be reflected in lower healthcare costs.”

But opponents – which included four Democratic senators and groups such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the AFL-CIO – said it could allow insurers and self-insured businesses to continue to base coverage decisions on preexisting conditions, which the underlying bill would prohibit.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said the premium discounts for those who participate in the wellness programs would raise premiums for those who do not.

“While we appreciate the amendments’ intent to encourage healthy behaviors, we believe that allowing employers to vary premiums by up to 50 percent of the total cost of employee coverage could lead to discriminatory practices and make health coverage unaffordable for those who need it the most,” the groups wrote in a joint letter.

Currently, employers can vary premiums by 20 percent, the letter stated.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee adopted a similar bipartisan amendment by unanimous consent during its markup in July, but the language has since “unilaterally changed.”

“My colleagues were never consulted and the Democratic majority staff removed it,” Enzi said. “We had to discover it on our own. I hope it will get into this bill so it will be considered in a merged bill.”
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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First they came for the fat ones.......



Sounds logical from a risk-management perspective.

If the employer is paying most of the freight, they can dictate the terms.
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:58 AM   #3
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My guess is that employers won't hire fat people. Here come the discrimination lawsuits and hate crime legislation.
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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I prefer to have a choice. In my personal health habits, smoking is my business, eating a Big Mac Special Meal, drinking beyond what is considered healthy and last but not least, my insurance choices.

The fed.gov has no business requiring me to purchase insurance. I currently work for a living. Part of the reason that I work is for the benefits that come with my job. If my benefits are changed through no choice of mine or my employers, I'll be unhappy.

I like a great number of my fellow citizens have seen layoffs and reductions in the workplace. We had another "tweak" last week, in which four co-workers were shown the door. The mindset has become not "if" but "when". I've been strongly pondering my future should I be "made avaialble to industry" and am strongly considering two concurrent courses of action, one offering consulting to some of my current customers and getting paid in direct vendor checks and secondly, performing cash only "handiman plus" services. The entire idea is to withdraw from the sanctioned economy and avoid contributing to the desruction of my country through the support of my tax dollars.

We'll have to see where my military retiree medical benfits wind up in this "reform".

Jeff B.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bri2301 View Post
I prefer to have a choice. In my personal health habits, smoking is my business, eating a Big Mac Special Meal, drinking beyond what is considered healthy and last but not least, my insurance choices.

The fed.gov has no business requiring me to purchase insurance. I currently work for a living.
I totally agree with all of this.

However, one should not be able to engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices but also insist on being put in the same risk pool as those who lead a healthier one.

It is unreasonable for those who smoke, drink, eat fast food and lay about to pay the same premiums as those who don't.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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Pote,

I don't disagree with that thought one bit. Healthy lifestyle choices should be encouraged. I am, however 100% opposed to a government requirement to participate in a health care system that they design and finance through new taxes (required coverage).

My firm has a very positive view towards healthy lifestyle and has several gyms and other athletic faciliities located on our larger campuses and is encouraging towards managers to allow/support employee use of these facilities. (Unfortunately, I am remotely based, so cannot take advantage of these benfits, but they are nice for those at the Main Office).

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Old 10-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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Arrow

If we get socialized medicine, there will be no higher premiums for these groups for long. The lardassians will sue based on the Americans With Disabilities Act. The smokers will sue rightly claim their habit is drug addiction, and say that if the government discriminates against smokers it must then also equally discriminate against illegal drug users and alcoholics, per the 'equal protection under the law' doctrine. So good luck with that plan.
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* I have the right to live, thus I have the right to defend my life from attackers who would take it from me.
* I have the right to my private property, thus I have the right to defend my property from thieves who would take it from me.
* I have the right to self-determination, thus I have the right to defend my liberty from tyrants who would take it from me.
* The only usable tools for these tasks are guns, and thus I have the right to shoot anyone who would take my guns from me.
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