Wednesday, October 14, 2009

According to Rasmussen, over 60% of Americans oppose proposals to charge overweight people more for their health insurance.

In an related story, the CDC reports that over 60% of Americans are overweight.


Jokah Macpherson said...

Too funny. They already charge more based on smoking and other factors so I don't see why weight is any different.

On a related note, I had a debate with my mom over this. She said they should charge people who are not overweight less for health insurance instead of charging those who are overweight more and I could not convince her the difference was a matter of wording.

Underachiever said...


Your mother is correct. Assuming she isn't overweight, under her plan (call it plan A) she would save money and fat people would pay the same that they are now. Under plan B, fat people would pay more and skinny people would pay the same. Now in both cases, skinny people would pay less than fat people, but the amount that skinny people (and fat people) individually pay is not constant

You are only correct if the money that is obtained in plan B is used to reduce the cost of insurance for skinny people or conversely if the lost revenue in plan A is made up by charging fat people more.

You have assumed a zero sum game where the total insurance revenue is constant. This is not necessarily true.

silly girl said...

"She said they should charge people who are not overweight less for health insurance instead of charging those who are overweight more and I could not convince her the difference was a matter of wording."

Jokah, He he.

I tried to convince my grandmother that shortening the strap on her night gown would make the neckline higher in front and back. She told me to just shorten the front side of the strap.


I agree that using a different default can be useful especially considering which is more likely. Also, the population with BMI low enough to affect a significant health improvement is so small that the applicant should have to submit a form from his doctor annually to get the discount.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

Full disclosure: I could stand to lose a fair amount of weight.

That being said, the problem I would have with this is the potential for government meddling. Insurance is a highly regulated industry (what isn't these days?) and that's a sword that can cut two ways. The government may tell the insurance companies that they have to issue a policy to anyone who applies, and the natural reaction to that will be that the insurers will lobby the government for things like a "fat tax," which presumably could be used to bail out struggling insurance companies at some point.

Do not underestimate the capacity for the government to screw you, the insurance companies to screw you, or the two aforementioned players getting togther to screw you.

But back to the idea of a "fat tax." Think it's silly? I do. But the simple truth is lower middle class Americans in red states like Big Macs. Liberal elitists in NY and DC don't like lower middle class Americans in red states. It's not at all out of the question that Congress might pass some such tax, under the guise of doing good, when the real motivation isn't doing good or raising life expectancies, but to spite said red state Americans. That's how mean and petty and small this bunch is.

Anonymous said...

If I were for "big government" on any issue it would be this one:

I wish we could provide every household with a good-sturdy-commerical grade treadmill bought from domestic manufacturers. It would be serviced and fixed by the government. That would bring affordable, effective excercise to every American who wanted it. Even if they ate terribly, they could walk half-an-hour a day at 2.0 mph and keep their weight from ballooning up to the Jabba-the-Huts with feet we see everywhere out there now.

We really need to educate the public on food choices and the utility of simple walking before a fifth or fourth of our population gets pitifully overweight. I cannot believe the great slabs of fat I seen on young people at the grocery store a few nights back. Im 20 years older than most of these fat youths, yet Im practically certain that I will outlive them.