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Personal Responsibility

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A trend is finally catching on that holds employees personally responsible for their health care premiums. Basically, the healthier you are, the less you’ll pay. Car insurance has worked this way for decades. Get a speeding ticket and points are added to your record, and insurance carriers can justify a premium increase. An increase that’s not absorbed by everyone else who drives.

There’s always been a lingering question about health care. Why should a healthy person pay more to subsidize someone who smokes, who’s obese or who’s an alcoholic? Is health care really an equal, universal right? Does anyone need to bear personal accountability for anything anymore? The fundamental problem is that the bad habits of one group creates significant financial consequences for others.

The National Coalition on Health Care states that health care spending will climb to over $2 trillion this year. That’s more than the gross domestic product of many countries (for example, almost 8 times that of Switzerland). Over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese, and fast food restaurants dwell at every corner. LA Councilwoman Jan Perry is even trying to stop new fast food restaurants from opening in South LA for two years to address related health problems. The reality of American life is that fatty foods are cheap, easy and convenient and exercise can be hard to come by between our longer work schedules and increasingly busier personal lives. Is that the reality or just an excuse?