Yes, Obamacare Can Punish You for Being Overweight

michelle obama

Apparently under Obamacare, if you like your weight, you can’t necessarily keep your weight.

The Observer reports:

A few months ago, Tracy Raymond, a first-grade teacher in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, discovered that she was too fat for her school. A 50-year-old mother of two, Ms. Raymond has always carried around extra padding, but it never bothered her. “I know I’m heavier than I should be for my height, but I’m not obese,” she says. “I really don’t care.”

If the diet police has its way, she might have to start caring. Because according to her employer, her weight is a big problem—so much so that she was warned that if she didn’t lose weight and lower her cholesterol, either by participating in a wellness program or fixing the problems on her own, her insurance premiums would increase by $50 a month.

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… Penalizing employees for pounds is perfectly legal. Under provisions in the Affordable Care Act, 2014, employers can charge employees an extra 30 percent of the total cost (employer and employee portions) of individual or family health benefits coverage if they don’t meet specific wellness goals, including body mass index (BMI). This is up from 20 percent, which was imposed in 2006 and permitted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations (HIPPAA).

Prior to 2006, employees couldn’t be penalized for missing a wellness target. “You could offer them nominal incentives to engage in activities like participating in a class, but you never could penalize them for actually smoking or not losing weight, or having high blood pressure,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, in Washington, D.C.

This is the slow creep of the nanny state that limited government conservatives warned about when Congress passed Obamacare before we saw what was in it. If government grants itself the authority to manage health care, they grant themselves the implicit authority to micromanage the private health habits of citizens. They can use premium hikes and penalties to coerce Americans into modifying their behaviors and their lifestyles to conform with whatever those in power consider to be “preferable” behaviors and lifestyles.

After all, the government always knows best. Right?

Jonathan Gruber would certainly agree. According to The Daily Caller:

Jonathan Gruber, long credited as the architect of Obamacare, once discussed the necessity of taxing fat people by body weight in order to fight obesity.

“Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight,” Gruber wrote in an essay for the National Institute for Health Care Management in April 2010, just months after helping design Obamacare with the president in the Oval Office and during the period in which he was under contract as an Obama administration consultant.

“While it is hard to conceive of this approach being a common public policy tool in the near term, such taxation may be happening indirectly through health insurance surcharges,” he wrote.

I guess once again, he was counting on the American people to be “too stupid to notice.”