Butterfly Cauldron

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


That's about all I can say, after reading this story.

If you're fat, we're going to charge you more for your insurance! Take that bitches! That's right, just because you don't have a BMI under 29, you've got to pay more for your health care! Whoohooo!

Seriously, this article has raised my blood pressure by about oh, 10 points. (Oh no! That means I'll have to pay more for that too! That's right. If you're fat, have high blood pressure or your cholesterol doesn't meet the damn company's standard, you have to pay MORE for your heath insurance.)

And why are they doing this? Because the cost of health care in general keeps going up.

Employers are getting serious about penalizing workers "because they've run out of other options" said Joe Marlowe, senior vice president at Aon Consulting, a national benefits consulting firm.

Really? No other options? How about going after the goddamn insurance companies who value profit over service? Hmm? How about that? How about pushing for (wait for it. . .) National Health Care???? What a concept!

So, they're upping premiums and deductables. And not by a little. Nooooo...those deductibles are fucking DOUBLING! (Or worse) You know why their claims have gone down? Because people now have a fucking $5000 deductible, that's why! I'm at my doctor's office all the fucking time and even I can't meet a $5000 deductible. Geez.

And I just love how the employees react to these increases:

"At first, I was mad when I thought I would be charged $30 for being overweight," said Courtney Jackson, 28, a customer service representative at Clarian. "But when I found out it was going to be broken into segments — like just $10 for being overweight — it sounded better."

Jackson said she was going to try to slim down before the plan took effect. "If I still have weight to lose when it starts," she said, "I'll deserve to pay the $10."

Yes. That's right. If you can't force your body into an unnatural, permenant, semi-starvation state, you deserve to pay more for your insurance. (And yes, $10 isn't much. But when you put it all together -- $10 twice a month, for 12 months, that's $240 more a year for being overweight. And then if you also have high blood pressure, that's another $240 a year. And if you're cholesteral is a bit high, another $240. . .hell, if some random study comes out saying that fucking green eyes are linked to a .01 percent increase in the chance you'll develop Scurvy, they'll charge for that too!)

Not everyone is on board with this, of course. Thank the gods.

Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a Princeton, N.J.-based employee rights group, called the trend "a very dangerous road that could lead to employers controlling everything we do in our private lives."

"To penalize for things that are beyond some people's control is just wrong," Maltby said. "Some people are fat because that's how God made them."

Can you say lawsuit? I thought you could.

Still, some lawyers say weight-based compensation plans may run afoul of other employment laws.

"A key protection in the Americans with Disabilities Act is that employers can't discriminate against employees based on their health status," said J.D. Piro, a principal at Hewitt Associates' healthcare law group. "This is a fight that's likely going to be dealt with in the courts."

Exactly. Because I'd file a lawsuit in a heart beat. Why? Because this is illegal, that's why. It's illegal and it's giving the companies way too much fucking power. It was bad enough when people started refusing to hire (or fired!) people who smoke, now we've come to this? How long before people who have more than one sex partner a year are penalized? Or how about people who don't use birth control? Or maybe people who like to hang-glide on vacation? People who paint? Some of those chemicals can be dangerous, you know. And raising a child puts you at increased risk of contracting the diseases they bring home from playgroup. And if you're a woman, living with or dating a man puts you at increased risk of domestic violence, so we should charge more for that. Oh! Pets, they have ticks and fleas and those carry dieseases. Do you get your home regularly fumigated? Rats carry the Plague! But of course, the chemicals they use can damage you too, so we'll charge for that too....where will it end? It won't, that's where. Not until our lives are regulated and controlled by the fucking insurance companies. Gah.

Brittney Manning, 29, a patient advocate at Clarian Health's Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, said many employees were taken aback when the plan was announced last month. But she approves.

"I think it's fair for people to pay according to what their healthcare costs are," she said. She doesn't expect to have to pay the higher fee because she says her weight is normal.

In Arkansas, Deeann Gutekunst, 42, a Benton County deputy treasurer, said she understood the rationale for the county's policy.

"If you have employees who don't care about their health," she said, "what else are you supposed to do?"

Weight does NOT equal health. When the hell will people get this through their head?? And, excuse me, but when more than half of Americans are 'overweight or obese', when are we going to stop calling people who weight less normal? Huh? I mean, I'm not a math genius, but when at least half of your population weights more than 'normal' maybe it's time to recalculate normal, mmm?

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posted by Zan at 7:08 AM


What no one mentions here is the fact that most overweight people don't seek medical care unless they really, really have to, because they don't want to be shamed by overzealous doctors who's joy it is to point out that they're fat, fat, FAT.

But this was the part of the article that really offended me: In Arkansas, Deeann Gutekunst, 42, a Benton County deputy treasurer, said she understood the rationale for the county's policy.

"If you have employees who don't care about their health," she said, "what else are you supposed to do?"

FUCK HER. "Don't care about their health?" I doubt very seriously that anyone who is considered obese, who can't fit into air plane seats, who has to buy larger, more expensive clothing, who lives every day with the humiliation that culture rains down on them for not being "normal" doesn't "care" about their health. They probably care MORE. But they are so beaten down by this thin-loving, looksist society, so despondent when diet after diet after diet fails, that after a while you just give up.

I know that's how it is for me.

12:04 AM  

They're muttering about this idea over here, too, when the NHS becomes privatised (which looks likely). I thought the helpline numbers on bigger sized clothes idea was bad enough - this is nothing but prejudice.

9:41 AM  

Jules - Hey, Brit expat here...helpline numbers on bigger-sized clothes? Is this something that's actually happened? What kind of "helpline" are we talking about?

8:11 PM  

You know, sooner or later I fully expect "health insurance" to just basically be done by Lotto. with about the same odds of actually getting covered.

8:57 PM  

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