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Arizona Toying With Idea of Medicaid Fee for Obese and Smokers Arizona Toying With Idea of Medicaid Fee for Obese and Smokers

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Homepage / POLITICS

Arizona Toying With Idea of Medicaid Fee for Obese and Smokers

photo of Ben Terris
April 1, 2011

People who eat too much or smoke cigarettes know that they may pay for it in the long run. In Arizona, they may soon pay for it in the short run.

Arizona governor Jan Brewer proposed on Thursday to implement a $50 fine for some enrollees in the state’s Medicaid program, including smokers and obese people who refuse to follow a nutritional plan laid out by a doctor, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"If you want to smoke, go for it," Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program said. "But understand you're going to have to contribute something for the cost of the care of your smoking."

 

Brewer’s proposal is intended to help the cash-starved Medicaid program, but it could also do some good for a state where nearly one in four people are obese.

Not everyone is supportive of the plan, though. State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, said, "If someone is obese because they're severely disabled or can't exercise, we shouldn't be punishing them.”

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