This time next year, health insurers will be able to raise premiums on people who smoke. It's one of the changes occurring under the health care reform law.
The argument is that smokers have more health problems, which cost the health care system more money, and we all pay for that. Why shouldn't they "expense" their own habit?
But a January piece by the Associated Press brought up another blunt way to deal with America's epidemic: "Instead of trying to penalize them [smokers and overeaters] and change their ways, why not just let these health sinners die prematurely from their unhealthy habits?"
John Cawley, professor and co-director of Cornell University's Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities, will join The Daily Circuit Monday March 4 to discuss the ethics and morals surrounding the cost of health care due to risky behaviors.
Ronald Bayer, professor and co-director of the Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, will also join the discussion.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ETHICS OF HEALTH PREMIUMS:
Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense? (AP)
Do smokers and the obese deserve insurance? (Salon)
'Obamacare' to hit smokers with huge penalties (RT)
F as in Fat: How obesity threatens America's future 2012 (Trust for America's Health)
Obesity cost calculator (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)