Welcome to the "Nosy Employer Society": Forget the Nanny State,says Paul Wallis at Digital Journal. We're all in even bigger trouble if private firms think they have a "God-given right" to butt into what their employees do outside of work, then dock their pay for it. Smokers and the obese surely aren't alone on the "hit list of the Cost Messiahs." What's next — higher health insurance costs for employees with asthma? Allergies? STDs? Somebody needs to sue "these crooks in health insurance and the ultra-stingy employers" for medical discrimination, so at least "they don't benefit from this scam."
"Obese, smokers to be charged more for employer healthcare? Yes!"
But employers have to do something: "Everyone is feeling the crunch" from soaring health costs, says Heather Asiyanbi at Patch. And asking "employees to shoulder more of the responsibility" isn't just fair — it's also an effective tool to improve worker well-being. One federal study, for example, found that obese people spend an extra $1,429 on health care each year, and those costs are borne by all of us. Of course, smoking and obesity aren't the only things driving up health costs, but every bit helps.
"Should companies charge less fit employees more...?"
Let's get employers out of the health care business: Spiking health costs obviously create "a terrible situation for American companies and American workers," says David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times. The fix: Get employers "out of the health care business." No other developed country delivers health coverage through employers, and the U.S. does so only through "a historical accident" leftover from World War II, when businesses began offering health benefits "to attract workers during a government-imposed wage freeze." If we can't have "Medicare for all," then workers should buy their own portable coverage through regulated insurance "exchanges."
"Wal-Mart offers latest sign that employer-based health coverage is failing"
POSTED ON NOVEMBER 1, 2011, AT 10:05 AM; Best Opinion: Digital Journal, Patch, LA Times