Obesity and insurance: Who is at fault?

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:44 a.m.

Excerpt from a column by Glenn Mollette, author of “American Issues” and “Fitness Is A Mind Game.”

Each of us must take responsibility for our health. We must become more active as a nation and more selective about what we eat. The average American is overweight and a large percentage of our nation is obese.

Healthier citizens lead to lowering health care costs in America. Diabetes and heart disease are two of our leading causes of death. Walking every day and cutting the size of our food portions will help us to fight diabetes and heart disease. Activity plays a role in reducing some forms of cancer.

A healthier America will be a more productive America. When you are obese you do not feel energized. When you are not energized you are not prone to be and do your best at your job. People who become unemployed and let themselves go physically normally do not feel energized to look for a job.

An emphasis on being healthy with every community having access to safe walking, biking paths and trails would be a plus for our country.

Health care insurance premiums should be reduced for every American who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Americans who keep their body mass index at 27 or below, exercise, abstain from smoking and drink only moderately should pay less in premiums. ...

If I drive a 100 mph when I am in the car, then I am the one who should pay the higher car insurance, not my neighbor who drives 55 mph.

Insurance companies should reward individuals for their successful efforts. For example, if someone’s BMI is reduced from 35 percent to 27 percent, and they have lowered their cholesterol and sugar and received a good report from their doctor, then the insured should be rewarded with a reduced rate or at least no increase in cost. ...

We must develop a healthy-American tax relief act. Eliminate the payroll taxes for each American whose income falls into the poverty level. This tax would be eliminated based on a report from the county health clinic. The report would include blood work results like sugar level, cholesterol, HIV and other vital health information. ... This gives the poorer class a tremendous financial incentive to get off the computer, become more active and lay off the soda and chips.

Financially it will save our country billions. The effect of younger, poorer and even older Americans trying to become healthier will save our country billions in medical costs. No one has to try to be healthy if they do not want to. This is America. For those who will make an effort there will be a significant reward.

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