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DEBATE: Can States Charge for Obesity?
If you are overweight, it probably feels like you are already paying for your weight problems. After all, many people who are not at an ideal weight are suffering from poor health or emotional issues that are taking a toll on their day-to-day activities.
But if you call Alabama home, then look out because you may have to start coughing up some cash for your plump frame.
The state—which was recently handed second place in the national obesity ranks—has recently warned its 37,527 employees that if they don’t slim down within the next year, then they will pay $25 per month for health insurance that would typically be free.
The new law would be a first for the United States, but several states across the nation have also begun to emphasize more healthful behaviors. In July, South Los Angeles banned construction of fast food restaurants for one year, and New York City recently began requiring food chains to post nutritional content on menus.
The Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board will give state workers until January 2010 to take advantage of free health screenings and begin to implement weight loss goals if need be. If problems do arise, patients will have until January 2011 to make health improvements.
But here’s what we want to know: Do you think state law officials have the right to play diet police? Has the United States hit a point where law enforcement is required in order to cut back on obesity? If you are overweight or know someone who is obese, do you think such laws will help influence personal health choices? [Time Magazine]