This is an interesting discussion in this article.
If you're a drug addict or alcoholic, you get O-care at a "regular" price. If you're a smoker, you pay a whole lot more.
If you have a pre-existing condition (which, I guess, could include having serious mental health issues), the insurance companies cannot charge you more or refuse you coverage. However, they CAN charge you more for having a habit that MIGHT become a health problem at some future date.
Unlike drug addicts, alcoholics, or the obese -- all of whom represent higher-than-average medical costs -- smokers are the only such group with a pre-existing condition that ObamaCare penalizes. It allows insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50 percent more than non-smokers for an identical policy, depending on the state and any subsidies the person might qualify for.Double whammy.But most concerning to public health advocates is the surcharge's effect on low-income earners, since federal subsides cannot be used to offset the penalty.
"Alcoholics, people who are terminally ill; I just feel like everybody should be treated equally," said Carmen McCullum, a smoker in Los Angeles.The problem, however, is that this will mean more uninsured than anticipated:However, some see smoking as an addiction, not a choice, and it is no different than any other pre-existing condition.
Maybe they just figure that gradually the most addicted smokers will simply die off? Or maybe they can just switch to marijuana?"Tobacco surcharges are not proven to help tobacco users quit and there are major concerns that they will prevent people from getting health care coverage," the American Lung Association's Jennifer Singleterry said.
The ALA supports the Affordable Care Act, as does the American Cancer Society, but both oppose the tobacco penalty because they believe it makes insurance unaffordable for smokers.
"Charging tobacco users more in health insurance premiums, sometimes thousands of dollars more, studies have shown, will price smokers out of the market," says Singleterry.
Personally, I figure (as Bloomberg and Michelle Obama have already anticipated) that the obese will be the next in line for their "penalty". In Japan people can be penalized for their waist measurement. Then maybe alcoholics?