Monday, September 22, 2008

Obesity Tax?

From CNN:
With obesity levels higher than in any other state except Mississippi, Alabama's insurance board chief William Ashmore and his staff of workplace wellness advocates decided it was time for a change.

"Over 10 percent of the people we screen are at risk for one of the factors we're screening for, and the vast majority had no earthly idea they were at risk," Ashmore said.

But the plan, which encourages state workers to have health screenings and to see a doctor if a problem is found, is angering some employees.

"It's penalizing people for being genetically who they are," says E-K. Daufin, a college professor at Alabama State University. "I have a lovely sexy body mass index of 44 right now," a number that would put Daufin in the group that would have to pay. That is, unless she decided to see a doctor about the issue.
I love the fact that E-K invokes the genetics defense. It brings up an important question: Are we liable for our genes? Are our parents responsible? Don't forget that genes are not exactly deterministic, environmental factors can turn them on and off.

1 comment:

Eduardo Zea said...

Assuming obesity is a life-style choice, it should not be subsidized anymore than smoking or drinking. Is it fair to assume it is a choice? Yes. The body is an open system where storage = inputs - outputs. Therefore anyone who can control the inputs or the outputs to his body can regulate body weight. No one is genetically predisposed to be a couch potato or to abuse food. This are acts of volition, just like choosing to smoke or drink.