Smokers Once Again on the Backs of Taxpayers!

by Jayne D. Frank

One of the myriad of devastating financial impacts to taxpayers of Obamacare has just recently been announced. Some states who have agreed to be in the Government healthcare exchanges have agreed to a provision to put smokers in what I call another “victim’s group” and allow them special status to be considered as having preexisting conditions under the exchanges.  What this will mean is that smokers who “choose” to continue smoking and drain the American healthcare system will not see their insurance policies rise with a surcharge imposed for their unhealthy habit.  Bad decision.  It is up to all taxpayers, who are already seeing massive increased costs as a direct result of Obamacare (increases in premiums, shorter work hours, additional taxes), to write and call their Governors and legislators to urge them not to follow suit with the more liberal states that have already voted to designate smokers as having a preexisting condition.

I have always been in favor or increased insurance costs for people who choose bad lifestyles?  Why?  Not only have I seen cigarette smoking ravage the health of my own family, but I truly believe in personal responsibility.  Millions of Americans have made the decision to quit cold turkey, reduce the fat and bad carbs in their diets and try to exercise or at least stay active.  These people should be applauded and given the best possible insurance rates, just as you are given the best insurance rates for not having had an accident in your car.

More than half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases and die an average of 10 years before a non-smoker; half of all long-term smokers make it past the age of 70.  Smoking-related deaths are not quick deaths either.  Smokers can expect several years of expensive health care, illness and distressing systems before they die.

Smokers are far more prone to develop lung cancer, COPD, heart disease and cancers of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, pancreas, and blood are all more common in smokers.  Chemicals in smoking can damage the lining of your blood vessels and circulation and can also lead to stroke and aneurysms.  Smoking also contributes to macular degeneration, osteoporosis and dementia, and on and on.  Children, co-workers and friends who are constantly around smokers run the high risk of developing asthma or similar illnesses from second-hand smoke.

The latest push by our Government to make sure smokers are included as a preexisting condition (thereby insuring that they can always be covered and not have to pay a higher rate due to their “high risk lifestyle”) is being touted as once again levelling the playing field.  They will say that long-term smokers in general are in economically poorer areas because those people cannot afford to get the kind of treatment that rich people can get, and that is not “fair.”  Hogwash.  As I stated before, statistics confirm that most people have quit cold turkey, and each person in this country was born and given free will by our Creator.  The will to be healthy or not is given to everyone and taxpayers should not be shouldering the burden in this country for anyone who chooses an unhealthy lifestyle.  Personal responsibility MUST take over for what is becoming the nanny state in America. This is tantamount to saying that bunions, arthritis, fear of heights, or social awkwardness are all preexisting conditions.  What will be next?

Another argument from Government down the line is going to be that if you average the cost of health care for a non-smoker or smoker during their entire lives, you actually get a lower amount spent on smokers.  That’s because smokers die on average 10 years sooner than their non-smoking counterparts!  It is actually a substantially higher heathcare cost for smokers.

With a father, mother and sister who lived for years in sickness, and with numerous short hospital stays averaging over $80,000 each, I have a very clear picture of the decades-long financial drain their lifestyles had on taxpayers.  They also died what I consider horrible deaths because of smoking, with my sister becoming a paraplegic because a smoking-related aneurysm cut her life short in her 60s.

Taxpayers who are doing everything right, by their own choosing, should not be burdened with the excessive cost of not putting smokers in a high risk category.  This has nothing to do with emotions, with compassion or with your love of your fellow man.  It has to do with personal responsibility of each human being.  Don’t be fooled by the Government’s tactics of making you feel they are compassionate.  Obamacare still has “death panel” provisions in it, and it is Government’s intention to eventually tell everyone when and where they may receive health care.  Once in the exchanges, everyone’s life will be cut short should the Government deem it too expensive to treat you – young or old, smoker or non-smoker.