Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't bogart that donut, my friend 

So you'll hear much over the next day or two about a new study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers finding $1.2 trillion a year of wasteful health spending. Take a look at this list, via CNN/Money and Business Insider:
Get where this is going? "Put down your cigarette and beer and get off the barstool, fatty, you're wasting money."

Your choices are being judged by how much you spend on insurance. But of course, your choices about smoking, alcohol and food consumption are part of the pricing of insurance ... or at least they could be, if you could somehow charge people for being fat. But you don't pay premiums by the pound, so having insurance is a disincentive to watch your weight. Of course, as this video shows, we will pay you for not smoking, so there is an economic incentive there. And in Oregon's case there's money for you to lose weight, paid for by all the skinny people. How long before your food and drink choices come over the same amount of scrutiny as your tobacco choices?

Odd thing about that video -- the only things they seem to want to pay for are to control your Krispy Kremes, Leinenkugels and Marlboros.

Meanwhile, President Obama isn't hearing for tort reform for that first $210 billion, relying instead on "evidence-based" methods that may make treatments one-size-fits-all. Processing claims differently might be something you could do without sacrificing a trillion dollars on this plan -- one could look at what Governor Pawlenty did for public employees last year for example. (I have one of those "Benny Cards", and I'm pretty happy with it.) Do you think those costs will go down with Obamacare?

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