How Obamacare Fuels The Obesity Epidemic

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

Recently, the CDC announced that America has made a new high; not in the stock market, but in obesity rates:

A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.

Many contributing factors have been blamed for causing and/or fueling the obesity epidemic, including, but not limited to: overeating, poor diet, physical inactivity, prescription medications, all the crap that is on grocery store shelves, toxic chemicals, diseases, and just plain old genetics.  But while Obamacare certainly can’t be blamed for America’s ever-increasing obesity, the law has added fuel to the fire, and in a manner that has gone unnoticed by most Americans.

First, it is important to understand exactly what part of Obamacare has changed the health insurance equation; the requirement that individuals cannot be screened for pre-existing conditions or denied coverage on that basis.  While it sounds like a “fair” and equitable idea to force insurers to cover the riskiest patients who need coverage the most, its method of implementation has certainly left “healthy” individuals with far higher premiums relative to their unhealthy counterparts.

I signed up for an individual health insurance plan in 2011, after Obamacare was enacted, but prior to its implementation.  The plan complied with all ACA requirements, but insurers could still “screen” me using their existing process.  I was asked a slew of questions; my age, gender, health history, and questions about my personal habits, including, but not limited to; gender, smoking status, alcohol consumption, exercise habits, risky hobbies (i.e. skydiving), and basically any other question you could imagine an insurer would use to quantify what my premiums should be.

After the ACA, the only questions an insurer can ask about a prospective patient are: age and smoking status.  I was previously under the impression that under the ACA, insurers could charge higher premiums to women, as they use health services far more frequently than men, but “gender rating” is actually illegal under the ACA.  

What does all of this mean?  It means that all of those questions that insurers used to ask to quantify risk are now off limits:

Under Obamacare, many factors that influence healthcare expenditures are excluded from premiums. For example, premiums make no distinction for obesity, likelihood of having a baby, alcoholism or pre-existing conditions.

Before Obamacare, an insurer would have charged a much lower premium to the healthy guy, and a much higher one to the obese guy (if it chose to cover him at all).  Without being able to assess the risk of individual customers, the healthy customer ends up paying more, while the obese customer ends up paying less.

Under Obamacare, a 30-year-old male, with a BMI of 18, who works out 5-6 days a week, eats as healthy as possible, and has absolutely no health problems whatsoever, ends up paying the same amount in premiums as a 30-year-old male who is 600lbs, eats two pizzas and drinks two 2-liter sodas daily, and has been previously told by his doctor that he needs to lose weight, or be at risk for heart disease and diabetes.  

Ladies and gentlemen… this is how “socialized medicine” works in practice.

And, what makes this problem even worse?  Skyrocketing obesity rates:

Obesity Rates Timelapse – 1990-2013

Healthy people end up paying for the associated health problems of their obese counterparts via higher premiums, and as obesity goes up…

Obesity Rates – 2017

…so do insurance premiums, as even the government’s own HHS website has been forced to admit:

  • Average individual market premiums more than doubled from $2,784 per year in 2013 to $5,712 on Healthcare.gov in 2017 – an increase of $2,928 or 105%.
  • All 39 states using Healthcare.gov experienced an increase in individual market premiums from 2013 – 2017.
  • 62% of states using Healthcare.gov had 2017 premiums double what was measured in 2013.
  • Three states – Alaska, Alabama, and Oklahoma – saw premiums triple from 2013-2017.

Zerohedge made an incredible observation about the obesity epidemic when this report was released

The consequences of the obesity epidemic are devastating: High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke are not only killing millions of Americans annually — the obesity epidemic is also a humongous burden on the American health care system, making up $190 billion a year in weight-related medical bills.

…and summed it up succinctly with another quote:

Luckily, Obamacare socialized the medical cost of these bad habits…so enjoy those McDonalds fries and we’ll all share the cost of your blood pressure and cholesterol medications…it’s just more ‘fair’ that way.

Obamacare has socialized the cost of obesity by refusing to allow insurers to give incentives to customers to remain healthy, and to price customers according to their health risks. A record number of adults are forgoing health insurance in spite of the law’s mandate, and healthy individuals who do not “need” as much medical care as their obese counterparts are undoubtedly fueling the “opt-out” increases from Obamacare.

To be fair, the ACA didn’t start the obesity epidemic, but the law is without any cost impetus to change unhealthy behaviors.  The law has all but thrown gasoline on the obesity problem, by bringing the costs of insurance for obese individuals down, and greatly increasing them for their healthier counterparts.

Of course, this fact is likely lost on Obamacare’s liberal defenders, most of whom likely have top-tier employer healthcare to insulate them from the reality of Obamacare’s failures.  

 

Comments

Golden Phoenix Oct 18, 2017 5:08 AM Permalink

This article is based on the idea a longer, more pleasant lifespan isn't incentive enough to eat healthy and/or lose weight but a mandate from the government and an insurance discount is. The author is a shitty libertarian.

DIGrif Oct 18, 2017 4:18 AM Permalink

Obamacare has socialized the cost of obesity by refusing to allow insurers to give incentives to customers to remain healthy, No shit dumb asses. The government wants you to work until you are about 1 minute before drawing SS and then drop dead. When you are old, and the older the more true this statement, you are viewed as a liability to the government. Your days as a tax mule are over. They have no further use for you. So, if we would all be so kind as to work hard, pay taxes (the more the better) and then drop dead at about the age of 60 the government would be much appreciative. In short, they only want you to live long enough to be useful, not into old age. Enjoy the fries.

abgary1 Oct 17, 2017 9:38 PM Permalink

Eliminate sugar and simple carbs from your diet. (junk food, processed food, bread, potatos, rice, pasta)Instant weight loss. Good bye diabetes.Also known as an Atkin diet or paleolithic diet.

redmudhooch Oct 17, 2017 8:51 PM Permalink

I can't smoke cannabis but everybody can eat McDonalds "cheeseburgers"McDonalds "cheeseburgers" kill more people daily than cannabis has in the history of the earth.

Teletubby Oct 17, 2017 8:16 PM Permalink

I'm from WA, but spent the last thirty years in Wisconsin. It still fascinates me that people in these parts aren't just fat, they're cartoon fat. There are entire cities here that don't have sidewalks. I'm generally a libertarian, but seeing this has made me realize a vast number of American adults are incapable of feeding themselves properly, and need some kind of government intervention, to care for themselves properly. When I have family visit from the west coast, we inevitably do the "zoo tour", for a hilarious interaction with the epic sloths here.

amor terra Teletubby Oct 18, 2017 7:55 AM Permalink

No, they don't need government intervention to care for themselves properly.  They need NO government intervention to make Ho-Hos far cheaper than broccoli or carrots.  They need no government intervention -- to allow them to reap the consequences of their choices.  They need to rise or fall of their own merit and decisions. 

In reply to by Teletubby

Faeriedust Oct 17, 2017 8:13 PM Permalink

No, so sorry.  The reasons we WANTED to eliminate all those insurance questions were that1) Most of them are unavoidable.  I can't change the fact that I was born female.  I could avoid sex, not have kids, and never go to a doctor without being physically dragged unconscious, but I would still be charged more because the AVERAGE woman runs to the doctor for every hypochondriacal complaint.  Meanwhile, my college roomate, who is male, would benefit from the gender preference even though he's on the doctor's doorstep an average of once a month for minor problems that utterly terrify him.  Yes, he's a vegetarian who works out obsessively, but he also teaches high school and plays in a rock band.  He's exposed to about 200 potential airborne disease carriers in a week, while I don't even know anyone directly connected to a small child and visit two specific teenagers twice a year.  But I'm female.  He's male.  So he's riskier, according to the insurance charts.  You see?  The problem is that actuarial devices are just accurate enough to make the insurance companies money, without being FAIR.2) Most of us don't really want insurance companies dictating our lifestyles.  So sorry.  Yes, it's good to eat healthy and get some exercise.  But WHAT kind of healthy, and how much exercise?  Who decides?  Who oversees?  Do I have to get a coupon from my insurance company to eat an ice cream cone twice a year?  Do I get charged extra because my job requires me to sit down at least 4 hours a day,  plus the two hours a day on the commute?  What about my roofer?  He doesn't have to sit on the job, but he's at a much higher risk for a sudden accident.  Most of us really don't want to appoint a profiteering corporation that does NOT have our own best interests at heart, to make intimate decisions about OUR lives.  Hell, I don't want them OR a doctor telling me what to do. And I pay a $17/month extra premium on my insurance for NOT getting an annual sign-off from a doctor, making entries in a Health Goals Notebook, or accepting "nudge" telephone calls telling me to go and get yet another "preventative" diagnostic test so that they can badger me about treatments I don't want to take.Yes, people can have a great deal of control over their health, but that control isn't absolute, and we resent being punished for things that we can't control.  That's why Obamacare outlawed the pre-existing condition clause and a lot of other demographics that again, individuals either CAN'T control or refuse to allow others to demand that they control.  Black people die, on average 15 years younger than white people; shall we legalize charging them higher premiums?  You see what kind of problems actuarial categories can create?The problem isn't that some (actually, the majority) of people have either health problems, or risks, or characteristics that suggest they might have problems some time in the future.  The PROBLEM is that we've allowed the price of healthcare itself to rise into the stratosphere by obscuring it behind the wall of long-term insurance payments.  Likewise, the problem is that once people have paid up-front for "all the medical care that's necessary", they tend to demand whatever care they want, or their doctors want to give them.  Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, flat-fee all-inclusive coverage encourages excess consumption as does the excessive deference paid to professionals whose interests lie in selling their services, whether actually needed or not. 

JailBanksters Oct 17, 2017 8:01 PM Permalink

Eating Crap for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is NOT a Disease !The Disease is the end result of Eating Crap for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.And for Millenials this started in School.The question is: why are they eating so much crap for Breakfast, Lunch and DinnerThe answer is: because it's convienient. 

Twee Surgeon Oct 17, 2017 7:50 PM Permalink

Do not consume more fuel than you burn and watch the pounds fall away and so many things in your life improve.It's not exactly rocket science. Food is Fuel, it's not a hobby or a competition at it's most basic level (Not that there is anything wrong with fine Eats.) But in the end it's all about making it through the next day in good shape, not fattening up for the winter hibernation because it makes you all warm and glowey down in the deep hollow in your soul. Eat to live. Don't live to Eat. Very few people in modern peacetime 'Need' 2000 calories a day other than Athletes and laborers. It just ain't so.

Golden Phoenix Twee Surgeon Oct 18, 2017 5:24 AM Permalink

Untrue. Your linear equation ignores efficiency. If someone is insulin resistant their cells never open to receive energy, their cells are starving no matter how much food they eat, and most calories consumed go straight to fat. It's the quality of the food, not the quantity. I once switched to low carb and lost 75 pounds in a few months eating all the beef, chicken, and other fatty foods I could eat. And my cholesterol profile improved dramatically as well. The problem is carbs and whole grain bread or orange juice is just as bad as soda. For a better explanation read Taubes 'Why We Get Fat'. 

In reply to by Twee Surgeon

Byrond Oct 17, 2017 7:03 PM Permalink

There's no nutrition component to Obamacare. It's all meds. Michelle hyped up healthy foods, but still left out actual nutritionists. Although now that almost every American can own a car, they get almost no exercise, and that's worse than eating some junk food. The economic collapse will likely put an end to that. 

Ben A Drill Oct 17, 2017 6:40 PM Permalink

When a person gets free food stamps every month, it a monthly cycle to keep people passive. Food stamps accepted at all fast food places. Even delivery of fast food is now accepting food stamps.

Sudden Debt Oct 17, 2017 6:37 PM Permalink

Americans do it to themselves.Don't blame anybody else for it. When I order a steak in the US, I also orde a salad which Americans think is a main course.I always need to explain to the waiter at least 3 times that I want those 2 at the same time. You are what you eat. And if you only eat greacy fat unhealthy hamburgers and other crap... well... So, or Americans are to dumb to understand what fat is or they just want to live like a spoiled little kid who only wants desserts all of the time.If you're to fat, and you eat 1 hamburger or more once a month, you should be kicked out of social securit or any health benefits. As a tourist, it's fucking hard to find good food in America. I now have an app for it and the funny part is that when I type in I want a restaurant, I pass 50 burger, taco and other crappy food factories.And sport bars are just the same or even worse. Those aren't real restaurants either.  Anybody who gives his kid McDonals more then once every 2 weeks should be beaten with a stick. 

milo_hoffman Oct 17, 2017 6:23 PM Permalink

Fact— Fat people cost LESS in lifetime healthcare costs because they a) live much shorter lives, and b) usually die from things that do not have long term care costs. If you are pro-government healthcare you should be pro-fatty.

FlKeysFisherman Oct 17, 2017 6:08 PM Permalink

Eat two meals a day, one at noon and another at 6 pm. It's called intermittent fasting and it has a lot of health benefits. If you're a man over forty you just can't eat like a young buck. The exception would be if you work some heavy labor or exercise like a maniac.Doing some push ups and leg lifts doesn't hurt either. No weights needed and it's free.

Golden Phoenix FlKeysFisherman Oct 18, 2017 5:48 AM Permalink

If the food isn't low carb fasting then eating big meals creates dramatic surges in insulin requirements beating the pancreas to within an inch of its life. Some people can get away with that, others cannot. For those who cannot alternation is the worst thing to do, setting up a cycle of soaring and plummeting blood glucose levels. For those who cannot constantly snacking on quality, low carb foods helps maintain much more consistent blood glucose levels helping to avoid problems and preserve pancreatic function for as long as possible. 

In reply to by FlKeysFisherman

no ice FlKeysFisherman Oct 17, 2017 6:24 PM Permalink

You can't exercise away a poor diet.  Yes, movement and exercise are important.  We have legs and arms for a reason.  But, garbage in equals garbage out.  Fasting and intermittent fasting, which is going at least 16 hours without food, are amazing means to curing disease and losing weight.  People eat way, way too much food.  Gluttony is ugly.  Most people see eating and drinking as entertainment for themselves instead of a means to nourish their bodies.  Man has gotten so far away from who he truly is.   In the words of George Carlin, "The world is a freak show, and if you live in America you have a front-row seat to the freak show."

In reply to by FlKeysFisherman

Vilfredo Pareto Oct 17, 2017 6:04 PM Permalink

Of course, this fact is likely lost on Obamacare’s liberal defenders, most of whom likely have top-tier employer healthcare to insulate them from the reality of Obamacare’s failures. No doubt.  My insurance was cancelled by obamacare.  Can you afford $1700 per month for an $8000 aggregate family deductible policy?   I can't either, but the shitheads who did this to me are well insulated in their gooberment and academic jobs. Fuck them all.

moonmac Oct 17, 2017 5:40 PM Permalink

When man interferes with Free Will all sorts of bad stuff happens.Socialism is a disease spreading rapidly to younger generations which is caused by the severe mental disorder known as liberalism.

johnnycanuck Oct 17, 2017 5:40 PM Permalink

Big Gulps fuels obesity.  Fast food empires fuel obesity.  All you can eat buffets fuel obesity.Couch potato sports watching fuels obesity.The list is long.Give me Big Gulps or give me death came the cry! The diabetes epidemic in the US pre dated Obama/Romney Care. And now to today's adult news...  Iraqi gov't defends sovereignty, US lawmakers threaten to cut off  arms and $1 billion aide?? and voice support for Barzani mob independence.

reTARD Oct 17, 2017 5:37 PM Permalink

Healthcare is actually deathcare. It's called practicing medicine and treatment (not cure) for a reason. Get your flu shots and vaccines yet, lol.

no ice reTARD Oct 17, 2017 6:14 PM Permalink

Free Flu shots everywhere!  That in itself ought to make people stop and think.  Why does your government want to shoot you up with the flu or any other vaccine.  Is it because they truly care about your health and well being because they love you so much?  Or, is it because they have another agenda which includes making you ill on many levels.  Next time you're accosted in a store to get a flu shot ask the brainwashed person who wants to give you the shot two questions:  1.  What are the ingredients in the vaccine?  2.  What are the side effects?  True fact: Possible death and possible paralysis are two of the side effects.  We rarely hear about the many people who suffer these side effects.  A former neighbor of mine was paralyzed by the flu shot.  He was newly retired and only in his 60's.  That flu shot ruined his and his wife's lives.  

In reply to by reTARD

brushhog Oct 17, 2017 5:35 PM Permalink

I actually think there is a much greater risk in having insurance coimpanies ( now backed by government force ) begin to dictate lifestyle choices based on perceived risk. In the past, when insurance purchase was optional, it was less of a concern. But now, we can't have people forced to buy insurance and then forced to make lifestyle choices by the insurance industry. This is the slippery slope we go down when we force people to buy a product...then product forces you to to do something else, then something more, etc,etc Until you cant make any decisions for yourself anymore, and then whats the point of living? To provide tax revenue and insurance premium payments?