Should unhealthy people pay more for benefits?

As the health care reform debate continues to rage on into Congress's summer recess, one topic that doesn't seem to command as much attention is ironically one of the few topics that most who are involved with the issue can control: personal health maintenance.

As the health care reform debate continues to rage on into Congress's summer recess, one topic that doesn't seem to command as much attention is ironically one of the few topics that most who are involved with the issue can control: personal health maintenance.

While political lines or economic reasoning can always fluctuate and roll with the tides, keeping oneself healthy is a personal decision. Some feel that the decision made in one's personal life should adjust to how much or little should be committed towards any type of healthcare plan.

"Seldom does anyone suggest how - or if - the individual's role should be reformed," Lisa Herrington on her Thoughts that Make You Think blog in May.

Herrington, a former health industry administrator according to MSNBC, added that "Having health insurance coverage doesn't make a person healthy. It's what you do with that coverage and your personal choices that make the difference."

John F. Banzhaf, the director of anti-smoking agency Action on Smoking and Health, agreed, telling MSNBC that his organization has been lobbying for a $60-a-month fee to health insurance plans to make up for the additional costs that their poor habit will cost non-smokers.

"If you don 't have a user fee on smokers, that forces everyone else to pay those health care costs," said Banzahf. "One argument is that it's simple fairness."

However, the public seems to disagree, at least according to a recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Healthcare poll that found only 37 percent of U.S. adults approved of charging people more for their unhealthy lifestyles, MSNBC reported.

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Posted: August 10, 2009

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