Should Smokers Pay More For Health Insurance?

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Offroad

Hatfield, PA

#1 Mar 2, 2013
Should smokers have to pay more for health insurance?
Answer

Quakertown, PA

#2 Mar 2, 2013
Mike

Perkasie, PA

#3 Mar 2, 2013
No. Although smokers are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.; they tend to die at a younger age which saves the insurer from paying for the myriad costs involved with geriatric care that healther people eventually need.
Offroad

Hatfield, PA

#4 Mar 3, 2013
Mike wrote:
No. Although smokers are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.; they tend to die at a younger age which saves the insurer from paying for the myriad costs involved with geriatric care that healther people eventually need.
They may die younger, but until they die, the total cost of caring for people with health problems caused by cigarette smoking is $96 BILLION per year.
Lehigh Valley Resident

Philadelphia, PA

#5 Mar 4, 2013
Yes, and so should obese people. Both choose that life style and should pay more.
johnny ringo

United States

#6 Mar 4, 2013
Yea and don't forget to include the alcoholics and intravenous drug users.
dbar

Perkasie, PA

#7 Mar 4, 2013
Offroad wrote:
<quoted text>They may die younger, but until they die, the total cost of caring for people with health problems caused by cigarette smoking is $96 BILLION per year.
then do not forget to increase insurance costs for anyone who consumes alcohol.
or salt.
or fatty foods.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/03/news/economy/...

"The total direct cost to the health care system from alcohol-related health problems is about $45.5 billion, according to industry reports. "On top of that is the indirect costs to society from lost work productivity and driving fatalities," Lewin said.'
mike

Hatfield, PA

#8 Mar 4, 2013
Offroad wrote:
<quoted text>They may die younger, but until they die, the total cost of caring for people with health problems caused by cigarette smoking is $96 BILLION per year.
All of us can cherry pick figures and studies; the people who conduct them tend to validate whoever paid for it. That said, I read the results of a study conducted by one of the Nordic countries with state run healthcare a few years back which concluded that the state saved money on the care of smokers because even though suffering many more health problems smokers died much earlier.
I don't care. I don't smoke. I'm disturbed that the issue of who should pay more for 'equal' healthcare is even being raised. Since I'm already paying for healthcare of people who cannot or will not work, why should I have to pay more because I want to smoke or eat 'unhealthy' food? Smoking is still somewhat legal and is taxed like crazy. Why doesn't some of that tax money go for the purported added expense of caring for sick smokers? Why does the government permit smoking? Read that sentence again. Smoking has been proved over and over to shorten lives. Why is it legal? The answer is that we live in a representative republic, not a dictatorship. By ceding our authority to the state, giving it more power to take care of us we lose our freedoms.
dbar

Perkasie, PA

#9 Mar 4, 2013
mike wrote:
<quoted text>
All of us can cherry pick figures and studies; the people who conduct them tend to validate whoever paid for it. That said, I read the results of a study conducted by one of the Nordic countries with state run healthcare a few years back which concluded that the state saved money on the care of smokers because even though suffering many more health problems smokers died much earlier.
I don't care. I don't smoke. I'm disturbed that the issue of who should pay more for 'equal' healthcare is even being raised. Since I'm already paying for healthcare of people who cannot or will not work, why should I have to pay more because I want to smoke or eat 'unhealthy' food? Smoking is still somewhat legal and is taxed like crazy. Why doesn't some of that tax money go for the purported added expense of caring for sick smokers? Why does the government permit smoking? Read that sentence again. Smoking has been proved over and over to shorten lives. Why is it legal? The answer is that we live in a representative republic, not a dictatorship. By ceding our authority to the state, giving it more power to take care of us we lose our freedoms.
you said"Why doesn't some of that tax money go for the purported added expense of caring for sick smokers?"

try
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_S...

" The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco-related health-care costs, and also exempted the companies from private tort liability regarding harm caused by tobacco use.[1]:25 In exchange, the companies agreed to curtail or cease certain tobacco marketing practices, as well as to pay, in perpetuity, various annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses."
Inquiring Mind

North Wales, PA

#10 Mar 4, 2013
dbar wrote:
<quoted text>
you said"Why doesn't some of that tax money go for the purported added expense of caring for sick smokers?"
try
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_S...
" The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco-related health-care costs, and also exempted the companies from private tort liability regarding harm caused by tobacco use.[1]:25 In exchange, the companies agreed to curtail or cease certain tobacco marketing practices, as well as to pay, in perpetuity, various annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses."
Like all things governmental, the vast majority of the money that went to the states came with no strings attached and it was applied to budget shortfalls and other things.

"States have received $203.5 billion in tobacco revenue since the Master Settlement Agreement between states’ attorneys general and cigarette makers in 1998....It didn’t stipulate how states should spend the funds, but many attorneys general and public health officials said they’d use it and revenue from cigarette taxes to discourage children from smoking. But just over 3 percent of that money – about $65 billion – has been spent on tobacco prevention and treatment programs, according to the report.

...
Most of the money has been spent plugging budget holes, says Joel Spivak, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the groups that worked on the report.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.c...
dbar

Perkasie, PA

#11 Mar 4, 2013
Inquiring Mind wrote:
<quoted text>
Like all things governmental, the vast majority of the money that went to the states came with no strings attached and it was applied to budget shortfalls and other things.
"States have received $203.5 billion in tobacco revenue since the Master Settlement Agreement between states’ attorneys general and cigarette makers in 1998....It didn’t stipulate how states should spend the funds, but many attorneys general and public health officials said they’d use it and revenue from cigarette taxes to discourage children from smoking. But just over 3 percent of that money – about $65 billion – has been spent on tobacco prevention and treatment programs, according to the report.
...
Most of the money has been spent plugging budget holes, says Joel Spivak, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one of the groups that worked on the report.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.c...
quite true.
so that means non smokers are getting something they did not pay for(state taxes).
does that mean smokers should get a reduction in the state taxes they pay?

Since: Feb 13

San Francisco, CA

#12 Mar 4, 2013
i'm sort of at a split decision on this one. On one hand, if you look at how our insurance systems are run - its about pooling money for people with similar needs. The insurance companies, and the policy holders take a chance in the odds, i.e., If 20 people pay and only 2 people need care, the insurance company profits. But whenever a policy holder dives deep into the community pool, it causes the rates of other insured individuals to rise. So the question i'm stuck on in this scenario, is why should MY insurance rates, or the insurance rates for my non-smoking family rise because someone else continues to behave in a way that a) they know is unhealthy, and b) causes them medical problems regularly?

It seems like there should be some sort of SR22 (high risk drivers insurance) version of health insurance that places these willfully high-risk individuals into their own community cash pool. Granted there are other high-risk cases like certain situations of obesity and other illnesses but I sort of feel like those who are making a conscious decision to live unhealthy lifestyles should be charged more.

This is of course my opinion in a society where we are to be charged for health coverage at all times.

I am however, a bit more socialist in nature and at heart. I wouldnt mind to pay more in taxes to make sure that everyone is cared for, especially if my higher taxes meant that children born into poverty were not denied the same opportunities as others. Especially if this meant that if i fell on hard times, my children would still be able to have a good education and healthcare in place. I believe that it is the responsibility of our government to take care of us, and in return we are here as support when needed. For instance, in Finland you receive health care and education from the government but before entering college, you must go through a military training program. Simply put, Finland says, "we'll help you stay educated and healthy, but in return - if we need you to take up arms you will do so for your country."

I realize that is a much smaller country so its easier to manage these types of country-wide benefits. But doesnt that line of thinking seem like it involves more checks/balances between the gov't and its pupils?

thanks for listening,
Rikki
http://www.sfofarrell.com
Inquiring Mind

North Wales, PA

#13 Mar 4, 2013
dbar wrote:
<quoted text>
quite true.
so that means non smokers are getting something they did not pay for(state taxes).
does that mean smokers should get a reduction in the state taxes they pay?
It's just more reason to distrust govt with anything to do with money. The inmates are running the asylum.
mike

Hatfield, PA

#14 Mar 4, 2013
dbar wrote:
<quoted text>
quite true.
so that means non smokers are getting something they did not pay for(state taxes).
does that mean smokers should get a reduction in the state taxes they pay?
I don't accept the premise that the money should have been taken in the first place. What was the purpose of the tax before the government settlement with the tobacco companies? Why does the government provide subsidies to the tobacco industry?
Inquiring Mind

North Wales, PA

#15 Mar 4, 2013
rikkiknowsit wrote:
i'm sort of at a split decision on this one. On one hand, if you look at how our insurance systems are run - its about pooling money for people with similar needs. The insurance companies, and the policy holders take a chance in the odds, i.e., If 20 people pay and only 2 people need care, the insurance company profits. But whenever a policy holder dives deep into the community pool, it causes the rates of other insured individuals to rise. So the question i'm stuck on in this scenario, is why should MY insurance rates, or the insurance rates for my non-smoking family rise because someone else continues to behave in a way that a) they know is unhealthy, and b) causes them medical problems regularly?
It seems like there should be some sort of SR22 (high risk drivers insurance) version of health insurance that places these willfully high-risk individuals into their own community cash pool. Granted there are other high-risk cases like certain situations of obesity and other illnesses but I sort of feel like those who are making a conscious decision to live unhealthy lifestyles should be charged more.
This is of course my opinion in a society where we are to be charged for health coverage at all times.
I am however, a bit more socialist in nature and at heart. I wouldnt mind to pay more in taxes to make sure that everyone is cared for, especially if my higher taxes meant that children born into poverty were not denied the same opportunities as others. Especially if this meant that if i fell on hard times, my children would still be able to have a good education and healthcare in place. I believe that it is the responsibility of our government to take care of us, and in return we are here as support when needed. For instance, in Finland you receive health care and education from the government but before entering college, you must go through a military training program. Simply put, Finland says, "we'll help you stay educated and healthy, but in return - if we need you to take up arms you will do so for your country."
I realize that is a much smaller country so its easier to manage these types of country-wide benefits. But doesnt that line of thinking seem like it involves more checks/balances between the gov't and its pupils?
thanks for listening,
Rikki
http://www.sfofarrell.com
You sound like a compassionate and thoughtful person. That's good, but you have a basic misunderstanding about the role of govt. First off, citizens are not the "pupils" of govt - we have a govt by the people. The dolts in Washington are supposed to work for US. Secondly, it is not the responsibility of govt to "take care of us", other than to provide for national security and infrastructure. As a nation, we can decide to provide a safety net for those truly in need and provide equal opportunity through paying taxes, but cradle-to-grave entitlement is contrary to our system of govt. Comparing the U.S. to a country such as Finland is not a fair comparison. I've been there and they've come to like that kind of governing. But it saps creativity and ambition. America does not want to be a nation of factory workers with no upward mobility. There are some success stories, such as Nokia, but most of that country looks like Russia.
Inquiring Mind

North Wales, PA

#16 Mar 4, 2013
mike wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't accept the premise that the money should have been taken in the first place. What was the purpose of the tax before the government settlement with the tobacco companies? Why does the government provide subsidies to the tobacco industry?
The hypocrisy is stunning. We freely ship cancer sticks to the rest of the world, and collect tobacco taxes here while printing dire warnings on the packs. It's all about the money.
Smoker

Hatfield, PA

#17 Mar 4, 2013
Just because you are a smoker does not mean you are going to get sick. I know smokers who have lasted well into 80s and 90s and did not pass because of smoking. Then on the other hand I know non smokers who got cancer, have had health problems and died younger...Its your luck of the draw..
I am 5"1, 112 pounds, I eat junk food, intake sugar with coffee and tea and I smoke. I have a great metabolism and just had a check up ( blood work ) not just a physical about 5 months ago and I am in perfect health..you would think because of my eating habits I would be obese,and have high cholesterol and i dont..I pay for smokes, and pay taxes on them..they are expensive!!! so not only do I pay for them and pay taxes now you want to have me pay more in insurance?? when there could be another person my age, my height, my weight,,a health nut and a non smoker and that person could be sick and I am not?? that seems logical..I know a young woman, lives a healthy life style, doesnt smoke and has cancer...everyone should pay equal..this also has to do with family history, some people eat so healthy, work out and they still cant loose weight...stop blaming smokers and we already pay enough for our bad habit,,move on
Tired

Hatfield, PA

#18 Mar 4, 2013
Smoker wrote:
Just because you are a smoker does not mean you are going to get sick. I know smokers who have lasted well into 80s and 90s and did not pass because of smoking. Then on the other hand I know non smokers who got cancer, have had health problems and died younger...Its your luck of the draw..
I am 5"1, 112 pounds, I eat junk food, intake sugar with coffee and tea and I smoke. I have a great metabolism and just had a check up ( blood work ) not just a physical about 5 months ago and I am in perfect health..you would think because of my eating habits I would be obese,and have high cholesterol and i dont..I pay for smokes, and pay taxes on them..they are expensive!!! so not only do I pay for them and pay taxes now you want to have me pay more in insurance?? when there could be another person my age, my height, my weight,,a health nut and a non smoker and that person could be sick and I am not?? that seems logical..I know a young woman, lives a healthy life style, doesnt smoke and has cancer...everyone should pay equal..this also has to do with family history, some people eat so healthy, work out and they still cant loose weight...stop blaming smokers and we already pay enough for our bad habit,,move on
My parents were both chain smokers. Neither of them died from the effects of smoking, but I grew up with asthma and still have problems from their smoking years later. Second hand smoke effects people much more than any other vice, even when you're 15 ft. away form someone.
Smoker

Hatfield, PA

#19 Mar 4, 2013
Please dont get me wrong, I am not sticking up for smoking..I do it and hate it! its gross and is bad for you and expensive.I dont smoke in my house, I dont smoke when I am with non smokers..I do have respect for people..The question was should smokers pay more for health care...I disagree because of what I wrote above..
I am sorry you have health issues because of their choice to smoke around you, that is sad..but I know children who have asthma and health issues and their parents dont smoke....
every health issue people have cant be blamed on smokers and we pay more then the non smokers for the smokes and taxes,,because I have a bad habit I should be charged more money in health insurance too? I dont agree
mike

Hatfield, PA

#20 Mar 4, 2013
Smoker wrote:
Please dont get me wrong, I am not sticking up for smoking..I do it and hate it! its gross and is bad for you and expensive.I dont smoke in my house, I dont smoke when I am with non smokers..I do have respect for people..The question was should smokers pay more for health care...I disagree because of what I wrote above..
I am sorry you have health issues because of their choice to smoke around you, that is sad..but I know children who have asthma and health issues and their parents dont smoke....
every health issue people have cant be blamed on smokers and we pay more then the non smokers for the smokes and taxes,,because I have a bad habit I should be charged more money in health insurance too? I dont agree
Right on. I agree with a lot of what you say but don't understand why you apologize for smoking. The anti smoking zealots seem to feel that if one of them can smell burnt tobacco that their lives will be shortened by a definite amount of time. Another poster claims that 15 feet is too close. The company I work for won't allow smoking within 25 feet of the facility. Is that ten feet too far? What about when it is windy out?

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