I’ve been warning people about this for years. I warned about it in my award winning blog post in the first iteration of this blog in 2003, and I’ve written about it more recently right here.
On Friday, the State Employees’ Insurance Board announced a new plan beginning next year in which state employees will be required to receive medication screenings for several conditions, including body mass index. Those considered obese or who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high glucose will have to pay $25 a month more in health insurance beginning in January 2011, if they don’t take steps to address their health problems. Alabama to place ‘fat tax’ on obese state employees | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times
From my blog article in 2003:
The people discriminating against the smokers do so on the grounds that its too expensive to pay the health care costs of someone who is potentially taking risks with their long-term health. They think its unfair, if they’re going to pick up the bill for someones health care, that the person can engage it behavior likely to increase the amount of those medical bills. I can’t really disagree with the logic.
While we’re at it, I’d also like to see public employees prohibited from having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being fat. Those are all risk factors for heart disease – a very expensive malady, and anyone suffering from them needs to be removed immediately from the government payroll. Oh yeah, the ones who pass their blood pressure tests and get to keep their job need to be forced to exercise three times a week. On their own time.
Now that they’re saying fast food and junk food increases your risk of cancer, any government employee caught indulging in a Big Mac can get canned just like the cop that was fired after someone wrote a anonymous letter accusing him of smoking at a party.That all sounds pretty silly doesn’t it? But can you tell me where I crossed the line from rational to unreasonable?
The funny thing is, when I wrote that five years ago, I did think it sounded silly. It seemed like I was stretching a little to make the point. It seemed difficult to imagine the state actually shaking fat people down. Now they are. This is Big Brother folks. He sucked you in by promising to take care of your every need, now he’s telling you what your body will be like and punishing you financially if it doesn’t meet government approval.
The old axiom applies, when you give the government power to do everything for you, you give the government power to do anything to you. I said recently in The Seven Things to Think About Before Supporting National Health Care:
Once the government is paying the bill for your healthcare, the government may eventually feel obligated to help you make the best decisions concerning your health.