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Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:07 AM

Penalty could keep smokers out of health overhaul

http://news.yahoo.com/penalty-could-keep-smokers-health-overhaul-205840155.html

Penalty could keep smokers out of health overhaul
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | Associated Press – 12 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of smokers could be priced out of health insurance because of tobacco penalties in President Barack Obama's health care law, according to experts who are just now teasing out the potential impact of a little-noted provision in the massive legislation.

The Affordable Care Act — "Obamacare" to its detractors — allows health insurers to charge smokers buying individual policies up to 50 percent higher premiums starting next Jan. 1.

For a 55-year-old smoker, the penalty could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of premiums.

Younger smokers could be charged lower penalties under rules proposed last fall by the Obama administration. But older smokers could face a heavy hit on their household budgets at a time in life when smoking-related illnesses tend to emerge.


Does anyone know how true this is? This is the first I have heard of it.

55 replies, 4264 views

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Arrow 55 replies Author Time Post
Reply Penalty could keep smokers out of health overhaul (Original post)
Live and Learn Jan 2013 OP
Mutiny In Heaven Jan 2013 #1
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #3
AngryOldDem Jan 2013 #7
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #8
AngryOldDem Jan 2013 #9
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #10
Mutiny In Heaven Jan 2013 #11
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #12
AngryOldDem Jan 2013 #31
madville Jan 2013 #15
Mutiny In Heaven Jan 2013 #19
AngryOldDem Jan 2013 #32
Mojorabbit Jan 2013 #26
AngryOldDem Jan 2013 #33
nobodyspecial Jan 2013 #34
Mojorabbit Jan 2013 #39
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #40
RagAss Jan 2013 #30
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #41
Mariana Jan 2013 #55
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #2
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #4
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #5
Live and Learn Jan 2013 #6
TorchTheWitch Jan 2013 #54
Freddie Stubbs Jan 2013 #14
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #16
Freddie Stubbs Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #18
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #21
Freddie Stubbs Jan 2013 #24
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Jan 2013 #35
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #45
LineLineLineLineLineNew Reply .
green for victory Jan 2013 #46
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #42
green for victory Jan 2013 #50
madville Jan 2013 #13
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #47
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #20
Mutiny In Heaven Jan 2013 #22
kenny blankenship Jan 2013 #28
DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav Jan 2013 #36
green for victory Jan 2013 #51
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #44
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #48
Art_from_Ark Jan 2013 #52
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #43
Recursion Jan 2013 #23
EastKYLiberal Jan 2013 #25
Capt. Obvious Jan 2013 #27
RagAss Jan 2013 #29
ohheckyeah Jan 2013 #37
TheKentuckian Jan 2013 #38
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #49
riverwalker Jan 2013 #53

Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:10 AM

1. Will heavy drinkers and the extremely obese have similar penalties?

Or is it a silly sop to people who need to scapegoat?

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:13 AM

3. That was my first thought too. Seems a very slippery slope to me.

Am guessing if it is true it was something the insurance companies got put in.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:42 AM

7. If not, they should.

Those groups are just as big of a drain on health care as smokers. But right now, it's okay to single out smokers.

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Response to AngryOldDem (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:49 AM

8. How about when they start charging big premiums for something you do?

I take it you will just suck it up without a complaint? Or maybe you are just one of the perfect people that never did anything wrong and will never get sick and cost any money?

Actually being angry alone should probably be a preexisting condition with heavy penalties.

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:00 AM

9. If they are going to single out one group of people, then others should be fair game as well.

Period.

And far from being "perfect," I do everything within my power to keep my health costs low. I don't smoke or drink; I exercise and keep a healthy weight. I get the usual exams when needed.

And thanks for the ad hominem about my screen name. Good morning to you, too.

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Response to AngryOldDem (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:12 AM

10. My father (a smoker) beat you as far as costs are concerned.

He had health insurance and rarely used it. Went once and was diagnosed with COPD. No treatment and died suddenly 10 years later from congestive heat failure (at age 75) which was a complete surprise to everyone. Didn't cost you much at all but thanks for the bit you did contribute.

By the way, he "caught" his addiction in the army, which he was drafted in to, when they gave him free cigarettes. Think you might owe us for that.


Edited to add: How about accepting that we are all going to die eventually from something whether our actions contribute to or not?

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:23 AM

11. I could be wrong, but I didn't read AOD's post as

a huge endorsement of this policy, more that if you're going to do it for smokers, there are plenty of other groups who should also be getting the same punitive sanctions placed upon them.

Looks like something of a misunderstanding to me...

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:36 AM

12. Guess I am just against all of them. People will

die of something, that is a fact. And while dying, their care will cost money. I don't understand wanting to charge them (for a predetermined and often wrongly determined cost of what that cost will be) while they are living.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:13 PM

31. Thank you!

You read my post exactly right.

Why should smokers be held to a different standard than others?

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:16 AM

15. My grandfather died of lung cancer at age 60

And that anecdotal evidence carries about as much weight as your story. What does carry weight is the fact that across the board smoking increases healthcare costs and significantly lowers life expectancy.

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Response to madville (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:01 AM

19. That is true. But so does obesity, so does

alcohol. The ripples from the last one spread further than second hand smoke...even if they're not reported as such.

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:21 PM

32. WTF? How am I responsible for that, exactly?

You don't believe in trying to do all you can to keep your health for as long as you can?

But you have given me something to think about: I just may cancel my health insurance policy since I'm going to die anyway, and shit, I may as well take up smoking, drinking, and overeating too, while I'm at it. I'll just have someone else pay for my care when the time comes.

(in case you can't detect that on your own)

My point was: If insurance companies and/or the government are going to single out smokers for increased premiums, then why not target others who engage in unhealthy behavior? If they are not willing to do it ACROSS THE BOARD then they should not be doing it at all. There are other such behaviors that contribute to increased health care costs.

I'm done with this discussion. Go pick a fight with someone else.



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Response to AngryOldDem (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:25 PM

26. It seems pricing people out of a means of quitting

is a dumb move. Insurance should help pay for quitting programs. I quit after 39 years with Chantix and an e cig but I had tried a ton of programs before that over the years. It is not an easy thing to do. Luckily my insurance paid for most of the Chantix bill. Less than half of smokers are able to quit using Chantix so that is not even a panacea.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:25 PM

33. I totally agree.

I think insurance would save a hell of a lot of money covering preventive treatment, rather than paying for the costs when something goes wrong. When I worked, and had company-paid health care, I had to pay for my yearly GYN exams almost entirely out of pocket. Same with mammograms (covered some, but not all). I'm self-insured now and my plan is better, but I know from other people's experience insurance doesn't cover nearly enough.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:27 PM

34. Actually, a lot of plans DO cover quitting programs

just as your did. And the changes probably mean even more of them will. I hope health care also evolves so that it helps people lose weight and quit abusing alcohol and drugs.

Yes, they are your personal choices. But they often come with a pricetag that everyone must pay.

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Response to nobodyspecial (Reply #34)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:42 AM

39. But will it matter if they raise the prices so high that the smokers can't afford those policies?

That is what I was trying to highlight.
Peace, Mojo

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Response to AngryOldDem (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:50 AM

40. I think they should charge poor people more because they are the 'sickest' segment of society,

 

the one most likely to smoke, be fat, use drugs, go to jail etc.

Oh, wait, they're already charging them more.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:58 PM

30. A 5'9 350 lb. man who smokes drops dead.....

And the statistic says "smoking death"....Go figure !

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Response to RagAss (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:54 AM

41. You know how they get those numbers? If you have a smoking history & die of any disease

 

linked to smoking -- including heart disease, stroke, various cancers, emphysema, etc. -- that death will go in the 'due to smoking' category.

Never mind that you were maybe 90 years old when you died, or spent 40 years working in an asbestos factory.

Those numbers are so corrupt, so absolutely corrupt, it makes me want to spit on the yuppie prats that quote them as gospel while crunching on their organic tofu bites and patting themselves on the back.

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Response to RagAss (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:27 PM

55. You're absolutely right about the idiocy of what gets called

a "smoking-related" death and counted in the statistics. People who die in their 90's are being counted as "smoking-related" deaths if they ever smoked at any time in their lives, or if they ever lived with a smoker. It's ridiculous.

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:12 AM

2. Buh bye smoker voters

Signed, the Democrats.

If of course this story is true.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:17 AM

4. Wouldn't that depend upon who put initiated the the penalty?

My guess is the insurance companies but they would have had to have gotten Democratic support as well.

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Response to Live and Learn (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:21 AM

5. You are expecting sophistication from American voters?

That's quite a stretch.

Nope, for good or ill the Democrats own Obamacare 110%, the Republicans made absolutely sure of that.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:27 AM

6. I'd agree with you but they came through the last 2 presidential elections

so I am giving them a pass. (Then again, as I get older I am becoming even more pessimistic so tend to think you may be right.)

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:09 AM

54. the Dems did that all on their own

Not a single Repuke had to make sure of it.


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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:15 AM

14. Smokers are an ever decreasing proportion of the population

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:19 AM

16. Still well beyond the margin of victory in the last election

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:26 AM

17. Smokers tend to be less educated, more poor

Who votes more, those who are more educated and wealthier or those who are less educated and more poor?

And how likely is it that these less educated voters will even figure you that it is because of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that their rates went up?

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:30 AM

18. Oh, I wouldn't worry about that

The Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer will make sure they know.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:32 AM

21. You mean like this guy?


http://www.theage.com.au/world/obama-told-to-kick-smoking-habit-20100301-pbmy.html
US President Barack Obama hasn't kicked his smoking habit, takes anti-inflammatory medication to relieve chronic tendinitis in his left knee and should eat better to lower his cholesterol, his team of doctors concluded on Sunday after the 48-year-old's first medical check-up as commander-in-chief.

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:01 PM

24. He actually signed the bill into law

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:29 PM

35. Less educated and more poor? Lot of rich people smoke. The president IS one of them.

 

The poor can't afford them.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #35)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:11 AM

45. I said, 'tend to,' which is a statistical tendency unmitigated by the fact that some rich people

 

smoke.

Among Americans, Smoking Decreases as Income Increases
Gradual pattern is consistent across eight earnings brackets



http://www.gallup.com/poll/105550/among-americans-smoking-decreases-income-increases.aspx

I live in a low-income neighborhood. Every one of my neighbors smokes.

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #17)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:14 AM

46. .

 

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Response to Freddie Stubbs (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:58 AM

42. yes; 67% of american men smoked circa 1950 -- today only 23%. For women, the 60s was the peak,

 

today only 17% of women smoke.

The 60s were 50 years ago. WHERE ARE ALL THE SAVINGS?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #42)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:29 AM

50. more Doctors smoked then but they made house calls

 

It's the 599 additives causing most of the cancer anyway, not the tobacco- but that's not a popular story

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:02 AM

13. Is that anything really new?

I used to be licensed for life/health insurance sales here in Florida, I remember different rate tables. Smokers usually always paid higher rates.

They do it with life insurance also, smokers have a lower life expectancy than nonsmokers, about 5-10 years. Should nonsmokers have to pay more to make up for earlier claims by smokers?

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Response to madville (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:15 AM

47. and why should i have to pay higher rates for children with autism or adults with depression or

 

men with erectile dysfunction?

why don't we just forget about 'insurance' (supposedly a mechanism to spread the risk within a population) & just charge everybody a fee based on a computer assessment of all their hundreds of pre-existing conditions and supposed bad habits & suicidal tendencies and the risks associated with the drugs they're taking and the pollution levels of the city they live in and how many speeding tickets they've had & how fucking much money they have?

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 09:12 AM

20. Meanwhile the French continue to smoke like chimneys, drink all day, eat butter in everything

and will continue to live years longer than we do, and pay half what we do for our health care "system". Why ? Because their system is not based on financial discrimination the way ours is and will continue to be even with Robamney"Care".

Keep going broke and dying young America!

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #20)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:18 AM

22. The Japanese are heavy smokers too

I'm no smoking advocate, but I firmly believe that diet should be the biggest priority, the first step. If people watched just what they're eating a little bit more...and I'm certainly not only referring to the overweight there, not at all. You can be perfectly good weight yet still be eating immeasurably worse than folks do in other countries.l

As for drinking, the French tend to binge less - they'll imbibe more frequently, but end up sloshed face down in the gutter far less than most.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 05:44 PM

28. Maybe access to care as a right is far more important than whether a country smokes

or drinks half liter of wine with lunch and then a half a bottle with dinner, or eats foods laced with butter and rich cream sauces?

I am shaking my head at Democrats, not you but others around here, whose first thoughts on this subject unwittingly mirror Republicans: ie Working slobs don't deserve health care benefits because they are overweight, drink too much , still smoke cigarettes, etc..

None of these objections are valid. France is living refutation. The Republicans, speaking for the nation's 1%, raise objections like these as the reason why we CAN'T have health care. We're too lazy, fat, stupid and undeserving etc according to them. Democrats echo this and say we can have health care as long as we put the 1%ers objections in the program as conditions (must punish smokers -hey they're "poorly educated" so why not?-, drinkers, fatties) that have to be satisfied. According to Democrats, we're all of those things the Republicans said, AND we need 1%ers writing rules for us and their bureaucrats telling us how to live our lives. They are inveterate meddlers and will find one lifestyle option after another needs to be punished in the pursuit of a perfectly policed & chastised workforce. Both parties' point of view is punitive and elitist in attitude. The Republicans are punitive and neglectful, the Democrats punitive and paternalistic. Neither party's point of view is necessary, nor just. WHy? Because FRANCE. On the numbers, draconian policing and punishment of the little people's lifestyles is not necessary to the establishment of health care as a right (something not even attempted under Robamneycare btw) nor necessary to securing improvements to US life expectancy and standard of living. The only people who need to be put on a state ordered diet in this country in order for us to be healthy are the parasite Insurance Mafia. They need to lose 100% of their bodyweight and curb their O2 intake to zero. They could do with a long nap too.
If we want to extend life expectancy in this country we should establish health CARE as a right. That is the most important thing we could do. We could save ourselves an assload of money by the same move, and stop being laughed at all over the world.

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:35 PM

36. Bingo. And they aren't going to stop with the smokers. Next will be the obese, then the drinkers,

 

and instead of standing up together against this crap, we'll all gown down one by one.

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Response to DogPawsBiscuitsNGrav (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:36 AM

51. nailed +320 million/8 billion

 

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
H.L. Mencken

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #28)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:07 AM

44. THANK YOU! The absolute class-marked nature of this bullshit can also be demonstrated

 

by history; before the war period it was the UPPER classes who were more likely to smoke & be fat, even obese -- AND THEY STILL LIVED LONGER THAN THE POOR or WORKING CLASSES -- who always die younger than high income people, on average, and have more health problems, on average.

The exaggerated reactions of some people to smokers -- going on and on about how they stink, have yellowed fingers & missing teeth, how their homes are yellow and stinky, etc etc etc -- are like someone reacting to a leprous beggar. The extremity of their reactions, the pleasure they take in disparaging these anonymous people -- is a strong clue that something is going on here besides a desire to be 'healthy'.

The same thing is demonstrated by the exaggerated reactions of some people to a whiff of tobacco smoke on the street, or to fat people, especially the sight of fat people eating. I have heard some people describe that sight with as much repulsion as if they were eating shit.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:16 AM

48. and the japanese binge frequently and wind up face down in the gutter or barfing on the trains

 

when they come home. they're the longest-lived population in the world.

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Response to Mutiny In Heaven (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:36 AM

52. The Japanese have cut down a LOT on smoking recently

As this graph shows, smoking among Japanese men (upper lines in the graph) has declined remarkably for all age groups since 1965. For example, in 1965, more than 80% of Japanese males 20-29 years old were smokers, but today that number is a little more than 30%. The only smoking group that is higher now than it was in 1965 is 20-29-year-old women-- and even then, the number has been declining since peaking in the early 2000s.

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Response to kenny blankenship (Reply #20)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:58 AM

43. ditto the japanese.

 

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:19 AM

23. Have you priced individual insurance as a smoker lately?

This sounds about normal from what I understand.

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 01:05 PM

25. In this thread: Reactionary smokers point their fingers at fat people. nt

 

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Response to EastKYLiberal (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 02:30 PM

27. They should smoke themselves thin then

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 06:55 PM

29. What about people whose ass drags across the floor?

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Response to RagAss (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 07:36 PM

37. Well, they aren't to blame

as it must be a medical condition and/or genetics.

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 08:57 PM

38. This is why folks are dubious of government efforts like this

We can't do anything for the people without making a system of control of individual behavior and windfall profits for rich folks.

If all we have to offer is double talk, control, profits for "stakeholders", playing to comfortable suburbanites, and tax cuts then the party is dying on the vine but a little less rapidly than the fascist theocrat batshit gang across the aisle.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #38)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 03:17 AM

49. "playing to comfortable suburbanites" = indeed.

 

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Response to Live and Learn (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:02 AM

53. If it's a "pre-existing condition"

how can they penalize it? I thought the ACA was to eliminate discriminating against pre-existing conditions? Tobacco abuse is an accepted medical diagnosis.
Outrageous.

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