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Old 04-30-2009, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Lake Worth, Fl
364 posts, read 965,485 times
Reputation: 78

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Nicely said Laura!

I was also shocked to hear this come from TN. When I first started hearing the story I thought for sure California would be the state enacting this non-sense.

I usually agree with legislation banning smoking from certain areas but this is crossing the line.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 18,701,492 times
Reputation: 2750
Heck, isn't a lot, if not most of the tobacco grown here in TN?? Yea, lets put more small farmers out of work and charge them more for health insurance or drop them all together. So this way we have even more people on government assistance because from what I have seen, tobacco farmers have inherited the land from their family and that is all they have ever done. What about these farmers that are in their 40's or 50's, have no other skills, are VERY good farmers, have most of their $ tied up in land and equipment to grow tabacco and now due to higher transportation cost and/or less demand have to sell their crops for 1/2 of what they were selling it for 3-5 years ago but cost of living is going up. Where are they going to get a job? Who is going to hire them with their age and no other skills in an economy that has such high unemployment rates? They don't qualify for unemployment, they never worked for anyone.
So now we have the state of TN increasing heath insurance rates for smokers exponentially, putting a lot of older farmers out of work who will have no choice but to go on state assistance. And above all, taking away freedom of choice. This IS still the USA right??? Does the government not remember prohibition? The result of that?

Last edited by mbmouse; 04-30-2009 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:05 AM
 
1,703 posts, read 5,544,193 times
Reputation: 912
Considering that Tennessee taxpayers subsidize the cost of insurance for state employees, and that the cost of insurance continues to increase particularly for smokers, of course the smokers should be required to make up the difference. Why in the world should I be required to pay more for your insurance when you refuse to help yourself? Short answer: I shouldn't.

BTW, people who die from smoking-related illnesses (lung cancer, emphysema, etc.) tend to take a long time to die, meaning that their illnesses are stretched out--often over decades--and are ridiculously costly to treat.

Insurance rates are based on likelihoods, and trust me, insurance companies pay actuaries a hell of a lot of money to determine likelihoods. They base those likelihoods on real-life statistics, and for right now, the likelihood that a smoker's health will cost more long-term than a fat person's is statistical fact. So to you all, this may not seem fair, but to the insurance companies that base their rates on proven statistics and likelihoods, it is perfectly fair.

And to the taxpayer who you think should have to subsidize your long, slow, painful, costly death, it's perfectly fair.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,483,582 times
Reputation: 448
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
WTF, and I literally mean WTF, are you talking about? Who decides what is high risk? Who decides what is a healthy lifestyle? A year ago it was no bread, last week it was acai berries.
There is no reasonable health care professional on Earth who would argue that smoking does not lead to significantly greater health risks. Your examples of mountain-climbing and the such would not be a reasonable determinant since "mountain climbing" is not a lifestyle choice, nor an addictive drug. Moreover, I'm not sure how you would reasonably categorize people based on "athletic activities".


Quote:
That's extreme, obviously. Some studies link drinking milk to adverse health affects. Is $1 a day surcharge going to be added onto milk drinkers' insurance premiums?
If we allow "gay marriage", we have to allow people to marry horses, as well? Not that I'm arguing for or against "gay marriage" --- just pointing out that slippery slope arguments are not all that effective.

You could also turn it the other way and say, "if we have to subsidize the health care costs of smokers --- what's next? Will we have to subsidize plastic surgery? Abortion? Penis enhancements?" Well, of course --- the answer is "no." We could draw reasonable distinctions as people have done throughout the entirity of history.


Quote:
Trust me, you're going to be subsidizing something.

(And for the record, "forcing" people into a healthier lifestyle by wantonly cutting off their health insurance? That's a very odd position. I don't think you've truly thought out what you wrote here. It's even somewhat inhumane. And I'm not even talking about smoking anymore.)
Why is the state obligated to subsidize the health care costs of smokers? You argue this as if it's a pre-determined right. It's not. There is no "force" involved. Merely a state-defined benefit taken away.

You pay taxes to get services. Why should you pay taxes to subsidize the health risks of individuals who are deliberately engaging in an everyday activity that has a near 100% chance of leading to health problems? Why shouldn't smokers be held accountable for their actions and be required to incur the costs associated with their habit rather than passing them on to someone else?

I don't believe in free rides. People should be held accountable for their own decisions. For years, insurance companies insured Florida homeowners at rates in line with the rest of the nation. As it turned out, many of these areas that people were rushing to move to had extremely high hurricane risks and there were legitimate reasons why people had not settled there before. So insurers have slowly started pulling out of those markets and/or charging much higher premiums.

As a result, Florida is now trying to get the Federal government to basically subsidize its insurance costs. Why should Tennesseans be forced to pay to subsidize someone's lavish lifestyle in a Florida resort? You're arguing this is an 'unreasonable distinction' to make. I don't think it is at all. If people want to move to Florida --- that's great. If they want everyone else in the nation to subsidize their own risk-taking --- that's not. Let them be accountable for their own actions while those of us who live in areas with lesser risks of natural disasters will be rewarded.

I don't think there's anything unreasonable about this argument. Lest we start paying for other peoples' "penile enhancements"!!!

Last edited by DiderotsGhost; 04-30-2009 at 08:48 AM..
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:23 AM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca
747 posts, read 1,515,594 times
Reputation: 616
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbmouse View Post
Heck, isn't a lot, if not most of the tobacco grown here in TN?? Yea, lets put more small farmers out of work and charge them more for health insurance or drop them all together. So this way we have even more people on government assistance because from what I have seen, tobacco farmers have inherited the land from their family and that is all they have ever done. What about these farmers that are in their 40's or 50's, have no other skills, are VERY good farmers, have most of their $ tied up in land and equipment to grow tabacco and now due to higher transportation cost and/or less demand have to sell their crops for 1/2 of what they were selling it for 3-5 years ago but cost of living is going up. Where are they going to get a job? Who is going to hire them with their age and no other skills in an economy that has such high unemployment rates? They don't qualify for unemployment, they never worked for anyone.
So now we have the state of TN increasing heath insurance rates for smokers exponentially, putting a lot of older farmers out of work who will have no choice but to go on state assistance. And above all, taking away freedom of choice. This IS still the USA right??? Does the government not remember prohibition? The result of that?
I agree. Great post mbmouse.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,483,582 times
Reputation: 448
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
Do you have kids? Why should we subsidize them?
Perhaps we shouldn't. I'm not in favor of tax incentives for people with children, either. If people want to have children --- that's fantastic. I just don't think taxpayers should be required to subsidize those costs. That said, I don't think it's completely unreasonable.


Quote:
Mr Healthy Accountability Guy.
Not sure why you feel the need to try to be insulting in your argument.

Most of your examples are not necessarily reasonable distinctions to draw. Whereas, the belief that people who intentionally intake an addictive drug that causes significant health problems should be required to actually incur the costs associated with their lifestyle choice is hardly an unreasonable distinction.

You seem to be arguing that all distinctions are bad; but that's not a realistic argument. What if someone smokes crack every day? Do you think your taxes should be raised so that you will incur their health care costs? What if the state started providing life insurance to everyone in Tennessee --- and decided that someone with 7 DUIs should pay the same fees as you?

I think people should actually demand their tax dollars be used effectively. If you want me to pay higher taxes to subsidize the costs of rehabiliative services for the crack addict --- I would do so. Why? Because it provides a net benefit to society. On the other hand, paying for the crack addict's medical bills while not actually correcting his problem would not do that.

If I'm going to subsidize the healthcare costs of smokers, I'd prefer they be given monetary incentives to improve their overall health and quit smoking. I don't see any legitimate reason why my tax burden should be driven up by their decision to partake in this activity.

To claim this is like the Nazis coming after the Jews (which you argument all but suggests) is a bit extreme. Every private insurance company in America "discriminates" based on risk factors. If they didn't, you couldn't afford any insurance at all. There are legitimate risk favors (e.g. number of accidents) and there are illegitimate ones (e.g. race, sexual orientation). I have not seen anyone in this thread argue that smoking is an illegitimate distinction. All the arguments seem to suggest that all distinctions are bad --- even though, it's impossible not to make distinctions.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:42 AM
 
390 posts, read 888,741 times
Reputation: 398
Quote:
Originally Posted by WOWAddict View Post
Nicely said Laura!

I was also shocked to hear this come from TN. When I first started hearing the story I thought for sure California would be the state enacting this non-sense.

I usually agree with legislation banning smoking from certain areas but this is crossing the line.
Funnily enough, it's the more conservative states that have enacted the surcharge:

West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rhode Island and South Dakota.

Benefits Administration - Department of Finance & Administration (http://www.tn.gov/finance/ins/tobacco.html - broken link)
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Nashville
597 posts, read 1,837,646 times
Reputation: 664
This issue is pretty hot button stuff. I'm not much in the mood to read it, but I stopped smoking 8 weeks ago and feel infinitely better for it. I'm also not being straddled with that "no new tax tax" on cigarettes so I'm saving a lot of money. I eat well, exercise...all is fine. Just one comment, my insurance through work is really good and pays for practically everything. I just find it odd that they WOULD NOT pay for my Chantix, the one thing that truly helped me put the smokes down. Does anything, anywhere, on any topic REALLY make any sense when things like that are allowed? Luckily, I could afford the Rx, but not everyone can and now the poor folks are straddled with 6 buck cigarettes. I don't even know what point I'm trying to make...carry on. The government's out to get us one way or another, so if there is a choice one can make to keep their mitts off your life, take it. I did. Make good choices.
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:15 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,483 posts, read 13,334,142 times
Reputation: 19899
I'm a little confused by some of what I'm reading here.
Is this a rant against the TN gov't or a rant against insurance companies? Because I'm not really seeing what the gov't has to do with this, except that the employees we're talking about happen to be employed by the state instead of being employed by the XYZ company. Doesn't the state contract with private insurance companies just like any other large business does? And isn't enrollment in a company sponsored plan completely voluntary? Where was the outrage when employers in the private sector started doing this? To me, this just looks like a pretty straight forward attempt at cost cutting by another employer, and I don't really read anything Orwellian into it.
I think the tax increase on cigarettes is fair game for that argument though.
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Piney Flats, TN
423 posts, read 1,233,045 times
Reputation: 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by IngleDave View Post
The government's out to get us one way or another, so if there is a choice one can make to keep their mitts off your life, take it.
I am so weary of hearing anger and accusation against the "Feds" as I keep hearing from news commentators and from so many people who seem so anxious to see our government and its leaders as "out to get us." Apparently I'm in the minority, because I'm still blessing my government, glad to live in America, where my government provides me a high quality lifestyle by ANY standards, and so many freedoms and amenities that i can't count them all. I choose to be grateful and appreciative. I choose to see our government and our leaders as basically decent people who really want good things for us all. The US is not and never will be perfect, but it isn't the great Satan we hear it lambasted as today. Nor are taxes necessarily the great evil "rip off" so many claim. Again...I choose to see my blessings and be grateful. Sorry for the rant, but I've about had it with the non-stop negativity on TV and all around. God bless the USA.
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