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PUBLIC OPINION: Smokers, But Not The Sick and Elderly, Should Pay More For Coverage

November 29th, 2006

A national survey of about 1500 Americans finds that 60% believe smokers should pay higher insurance premiums, and 30% believe obese individuals should pay more. “When it comes to personal responsibility, consumers increasingly support making people pay more for unhealthy behavior,” write researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago in their Nov. 14 Health Affairs Web Exclusive.

Newspapers and media around the world picked up on this finding, from the Los Angeles Times to Le Matin and wire services in France, Spain, and China. But as important was another finding of the survey: Americans are unwilling to make people pay more for risks that are not perceived as their fault. An overwhelming 87 percent of Americans said that everyone should pay the same for health insurance regardless of health status or age. As Health Affairs Founding Editor John Iglehart said at the November 14 event at which the survey was released: “Whatever happened to community rating?”

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  1. Johnathon Ross Says:

    I am sure Dr. Iglehart is being facetious when he asks what ever happened to community rating. FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE happened to community rating. The main job of the of the for profit health insurance cabal is to avoid the 10 % of people who generate 70% of the health care costs. That is how they make their money (keep our money). The for profit health insurance industry is no longer providing the socially useful function of spreading the risk across the community. Instead they avoid the sick and disabled and keep the savings. They have no interest in cost control since they get to keep a significant percentage of whatever the nation spends on health. Why would they want to reduce the spending if thay get to keep a percentage of whatever we spend? It is time for them to go. We need national health insurance as outlined in HB 676 (Conyers). Johnathon Ross MD MPH Toledo Ohio

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