Do not smoke, do not pay $30 more for health insurance

Hall County HR director Charley Nix “says a proposal under consideration would mandate a $30 monthly surcharge for smokers on the county payroll.”

Hall County is also developing smoking cessation programs that would include counseling and certain medications used to help kick the habit. The county says it will pay for such medications.

Nix cites statistics indicating the health benefits of not smoking far exceed any risks from gaining five pounds, or from any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting. And he notes that those who quit live longer than those who continue to smoke.

I can definitely get on board with a higher insurance premium for people who electively engage in activities which have a 100% chance of causing massively expensive health problems.

The last paragraph bothered me at first, as I don’t see making polixy for the purpose of promoting “health benefits” and “liv[ing] longer” as a necessary function of government. However, in the current context — an employer promoting health and effectiveness from its employees, while acting to prevent huge medical bills resulting from elective activity (or, at least, to prevent the weight of these few who engage in that activity from being borne by all employees) — it seems to make pretty good sense.

What do you think?

15 comments

  1. Erick says:

    I am in favor of these. I think it will, in the long run, reduce overall costs to taxpayers by requiring city employees to take some responsibility for their healthcare.

  2. Chris says:

    The problem with these people living longer is that they’ll end up just burdening the social security system instead.

    What we need are policies to encourage people do do things what will cause quick deaths that won’t put them into long hospital stays _or_ keep them around after they’re no longer productive to society.

    I’m thinking a Senior Citizens Sky Diving Club.

  3. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Sorry, Chris. As an avid skydiver, I can tell you that the drive to the drop zone is a far more dangerous undertaking than the jump itself.

    Perhaps encouraging senior citizens to drive more instead…..

  4. StevePerkins says:

    I worry about the government drive for longevity being extended to other areas (e.g. a surcharge for being overweight? a surcharge if you get caught eating trans-fat?). Still, a “slippery slope” argument can be made against virtually anything… I don’t have a problem with charging smokers more for health care in and of itself.

  5. Doug Deal says:

    How about a large button on the President’s desk so he can call “lights-out”, turning everyone’s electricity off, so people could get a good night’s sleep, which is infinitely more important to good health than just about anything else.

    Much of what people do on the internet rots their minds, so maybe install timers on internet access for everyone.

    Just think how much better life would be when you get to live your life by what others think about how you should live it.

  6. rugby_fan says:

    Much of what people do on the internet rots their minds, so maybe install timers on internet access for everyone.

    I’d probably spend less time on Peach Pundit.

    Not sure if I would like that.

  7. Doug Deal says:

    The one addressed to Rugby? That was not 100% serious, but was more or less a commentary on problem of thinking regulation x is okay simply because a (large?) majority of people think it is better for you.

    The one not addressed to any single poster was along the same vein, but was in response to Steve dismissing slippery slope arguments. People don’t mind the slippery slope as long as it is slippery a little further down the slope than they currently are, but roll their eyes at people who find the slope is well above their spot on the hill.

    To some up. Busy boddies need to get a life and stop trying to fix everyone else. If there is anything you do that anyone else can find remotely offensive, distasteful or unhealthy in the privacy of your own life, you have no moral authority to challenge anyone on that same basis.

    So smoke them if you got ’em fat, porn addicted drunkards!

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