Tom Purcell, a freelance writer, is also a humor columnist for
the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and is nationally syndicated
exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Email him at
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Government taxes cigarettes to encourage people to quit smoking, while subsidizing tobbaco farmers to encourage them to grow tobbaco that is taxed to encourage people to quit smoking......strange circular logic.
This is not actually a new idea. It was back in the 90's when I was told I would have to pay more for insurance through my employer unless I was willing to sign a declaration that I did not use tobacco products. Fortunately for me, at the time I was married and my wife had better insurance anyway, so I was able to obtain a waiver from being included in my employer's insurance program based on the fact that it was not possible to be covered with no out-of-pocket premuims unless I lied and signed the waiver.
Anyway, I completely agree with the overall message, though. This fascist idea that our government should be allowed to dictate and control every aspect of our behavior has to stop.
Tom Purcell is questioning whether ObamaCare is too burdensome on smokers.
ObamaCare does allow insurers to apply a high surcharge (possible several hundred dollars per month) for tobacco use in older smokers. And millions of smokers may find that ObamaCare is just too expensive.
Smoking is considered an optional behavior, not an illness – ObamaCare will require new health insurance plans to offer smoking cessation products and therapy.
Obamacare is too burdensome on everyone. It leaves an inefficient, deteriorating system in place, that already costs twice what other developed nations spend. It is destroying the economy by being nearly 20% of the GDP instead of ten or less, and drives the federal debt to the point of unsustainable insanity. Forcing behavior on people, smoking, contraception and many others through extortion is certainly not desirable. Obamacare is a giant step backwards in all phases of our society, not just smoking. BTW, cigar smokers outlive non-smokers, do they get a discount?
I am no fan of Obamacare for obvious reasons, but I am not sure why private insurance companies could not charge more for people who use tobbaco in the first place. After all, people with unhealthy habit are going to use more care and cost more money- that is a fact. Same with over weight people. Wouldn't it make sense for a company to charge more to people who will cost them more?
Same as car insurance. Speeders, drunk drivers, red light runners, are all higher risks.
Rich wrote: “Obamacare is a giant step backwards in all phases of our society, not just smoking.”
There are 11 million-plus illegal aliens in our nation. Health insurance plans that are funded by government sources are generally not available to illegal immigrants . . . even though many hospitals say that Medicaid program helps illegals and their American-born children.
The claim that ObamaCare will cover illegal immigrants is said to be a “myth.” – At the same time is President Obama’s “myth” that ObamaCare won’t cover illegal immigrants. Overall, ObamaCare may present an obstacle on the path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants.
That's the way, Tom! You must be one of the seven people left in the US that thinks people do the "right" thing without being told. You also must think we should all pay for the bad habits of others.
If you think that the smoking issue is insufficient to impose sanctions and tariffs upon the participants--and you compare this to potential intrusion into the fast-food eaters and generally obese in this country (which by the way is currently estimated to be over half the US population)--then I think your views are skewed.
And "Obamacare" is hardly "Obama"--with the entire legislation being so corrupted, prostituted and altered by partisan politics in Congress that it hardly resembles much of what Obama had tried to put forward initially.
I am not sure where Tom and some of you have been - but many, many employers and private insurers jumped on the bandwagon a long time ago and figured out that: a) smoking is bad for you; b) if you smoke you have a higher chance of illness/disease; c) smoking is a choice; d) if you choose to smoke, that's fine - but knowing the risk you will also have to pay a higher premium for it as you are choosing to increase your risk - and none of the rest of us should have to shoulder that financial burden for your individual choice. Don't blame Obamacare - it is just reflecting the shift that has already occurred. The slippery slope scare tactics of "what's next" really are just that - scare tactics - perhaps Tom should spend more time researching how unhealthy Americans are and what are the appropriate incentives to make them healthier - that would be a better article.
But there is some good news.
Baby boomers are living longer and are less likely to smoke than previous generations. Consequently, there's less emphysema and fewer heart attacks.
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