Let Me Ask You A Question – 10/5/17

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Let me ask you a question:

Should governments penalize citizens for unhealthy lifestyles?  

54 thoughts on “Let Me Ask You A Question – 10/5/17

  1. Well, first, somebody has to define what the “unhealthy lifestyles” are. Do we leave that to a congressional committee, a panel of supposedly expert career bureaucrats, popular referendum, insurance actuaries and their statistics, or what? Then, there can be the question of whether some people actually have healthy alternatives to whatever they are doing that is deemed unhealthy available. And, the question arises of how much of the unhealthy behavior is too much and will trigger the penalty, and what that should be.

    I’m not at all sure I want to leave all that up to our current crop of politicians, except for the likely possibility that they couldn’t reach any workable agreement and would happily spend years or decades just using it for campaign fodder.

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    • If the government (the people) are paying for national healthcare, do you think someone who eats relatively healthy and exercises should pay the same as someone who has 75 beers each week and smokes 3 packs of smokes a day?

      Liked by 1 person

      • If we are going to talk money, then there is this that I learned long ago working as an AFDC (remember that?) case worker. Then (the early 1970s), the effort to make sure that only the deserving got only what they deserved caused it to cost $3 to deliver $1 of benefits to the recipients. In the 1990s the ratio was the same for Food Stamps. Needs testing in any safety net program is massively inefficient, and this seems true in our current model of health insurance as well. So, I have to say “yes”, in a 100% tax funded system, one which does not depend on individually calculated premiums, everybody pays according to the same rules of the tax. And, since such a system is cradle-to-grave, that person with the presumed healthy lifestyle can still develop some hugely expensive condition in old age (they will generally live longer and have more opportunity) or could suffer some devastating injury or such when younger. There is no guarantee they will cost the system less than the other guy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is like the basic counter argument to those who object to the penalties for people who don’t sign up under the ACA (“Obamacare”). Those young, healthy people won’t be young and healthy forever.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The current system is rather like those mythical beasts that are a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of the other thing. I’ve always wondered whether a centaur would have better control of his, shall we say, hind end body functions, than an ordinary horse. If not, he might not be very welcome in the house.

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  2. They can’t even control the president, how could they possibly control millions of people’s private lives and I for one don’t want them to. I am on Medicare and the bill every month takes a lot, even though I don’t do anything except a flu shot, no meds. They don’t pay for glasses or dental. Ok, fine, but don’t try to tell me what to do. Everyday life is curbing me enough. Warning about following response!!

    And the gun thing you wrote about earlier? I think living with a lot of guns is dangerous. Mad at someone cutting you off in traffic? Get the gun under your seat or the glove box. Or that illegal machine gun, yes, that’s the ticket. Let’s solve all of our problems with guns.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your gun response. Getting to the healthcare issue. If the government pays for healthcare, should everyone’s premium be the same regardless of lifestyle? Or should the individual have to subsidize the premium if they smoke, drink too much, do drugs, etc.?

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  3. Its a tough one, but ultimately I think no, for example when you smoke, if you the got cancer because of the smoking, you could say well they knew the risks. However they have paid more in tax, than a non smoker, so should have the right to use the NHS, same with drinking. Obesity is probably the more difficult one, if it is down to unhealthy eating and no underlining medical issues. If someone is suffering from bulimia, we get them medical help, support them. Overeating however is just seen as being greedy, in the UK fresh meat and veg are some of the cheapest in Europe, so we shouldn’t have an excuse, yet we have the fifth highest rate. If we tell people they will not get help unless the quit, would that really stop an addict. I don’t think it would.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smoking, drugs and alcohol are the easy ones compared to obesity. For non-medical obesity, people get really sensitive. The problem is not all obese people have valid medical issues although some have it in their mind that they do. Plus, if you even mention this out loud people call you a “body shamer”. So doctors don’t even talk to most patients about their weight. The food companies are the biggest enemy of most modern countries.

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      • I get why people are sensitive, but just like an addiction its not going to get better unless you admit you have a problem. For some people, it might just be lack of exercise and rubbish food, others it might go further and they have no clue. I do know what you mean when you say people are sensitive, but just like the others it might kill you. It should be talked about and this is when you start entering the world of, well if you can’t look after yourselves is this the time when the government steps in. I swear if we get to the point, were the government starts banning things like red meat, I am going to start a reveloution.

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  4. No, that is an authoritarian policy. Rather than the government forcing people to live as it thinks we should, our leaders should… well… lead. It is better to educate and address the root of the issue.

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  5. My question to you would be ‘is this a government in a country with a publicly funded healthcare system”? If yes then maybe they can make some decisions to restrict care to smokers or other health abusers. Or maybe not.

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  6. Most governments are not fit to rule, they have trouble running a bath never mind a country. This health malarkey is getting out of control. They have managed to stop many people from smoking and cut back on drinking and are surprised that the biggest killer in the country is Dementia. They are allowing schools to sell of sports fields they don’t promote sports (too busy with maths and english) and wonder why they have a child obesity problem. In 5 years of teaching 16-20 year olds Carpentry I can count on one hand how many of them participate in any kind of sport. So, no don’t penalise the people give them a healthy education and start to realise that every action has a reaction bah! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting question. This is already happening in some areas. IN New York City and other areas, they have imposed higher taxes on sugary drinks over a certain size and unhealthy foods. Of course, there is the strategy of rewarding healthy behavior as well. I worked on a healthy insurance project that actually awarded people in the form of lower premiums if they quit smoking, lost weight, or started an exercise program. The company assigned a coach that verified the healthy change and then the subscriber was rewarded in some way. Depends if you like the carrot, stick or combination approach.

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  8. Obviously this question was not as simple as I thought as I am STILL thinking about it.
    What IF an unhealthy lifestyle is the result of abuse? What if a person is overweight, or smokes, or got hooked on pain pills because of a doctor over prescribing which led them to other drugs or just an addictive chemistry. What if abuse led a woman to prostitution which then gave her diseases. Should one not be treated for their illness if it was rooted in abuse or that abuse led to an unhealthy lifestyle or choices? Hmmm. Still thinking on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Not exactly. Punishment doesn’t have a positive effect on the human psyche. Better to create a system of wellness rewards, such as preferential insurance rates or tax breaks for those who maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    Punishment, in terms of the laws of attraction, are paramount to resisting what is unwanted and what we resist persists. Best to promote health instead.

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