Arizona's Medicaid Fix: Punish Fat, Childless Smokers

Back in April, Arizona governor Jan Brewer floated the idea of charging a $50 fee for fat, childless, smoking Medicaid recipients. What the hell is $50 going to do to offset rising statewide Medicaid costs, you might ask? That'll pay for a whole 20 pack of Depend® adult diapers! But that's not exactly what they're going for. Basically they want to hunt down every lonely, hoarding cat lady in the state to extort them into shape. The Times did a Q and A with the spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid, Monica Coury:

Q. What has been the response from critics?

A. "Some people have suggested it is discriminating against obese people. To me, it is a matter of fairness. We have an obligation to provide health care coverage to 1.35 million people. And we've got a budget crisis, so if there's something you can do to help out — we're just asking you to put a little more back into the system. What we want to test is whether making people pay is going to affect behavior. We think it will."

What a great waste of time for a struggling health care system! Good luck determining that last part. Hey you, why are you so fat? You don't have to be so fat. And why don't you have any kids? Stop smoking, too. Give us $50, asshole. You suck.

Q. How did you arrive at the amount of $50? Would that be sufficient to offset the fund's costs?

A. "We've talked about $50 once a year. We haven't done the math, but it's not about how much we would collect. It is totally about testing the efficacy of this strategy. Obesity is costing us billions in health care costs, so our thought is ‘let's test some of these strategies.'"

We're guessing it might be tough for them to get this past the federal government. But if Arizona's Medicaid people don't get the fee approved, they can always blame the Mexicans. Surely they can find a way to do that. You know what would really give a real boost to Arizona's dwindling coffers? A collection jar for every time a fat Arizona public servant says something racist. Problem solved.

[NYT; image via Shutterstock]