Annual health care costs are roughly $96 billion for smokers and $147 billion for the obese, the government says. These costs accompany sometimes heroic attempts to prolong lives, including surgery, chemotherapy and other measures.But despite these rescue attempts, smokers tend to die 10 years earlier on average, and the obese die five to 12 years prematurely, according to various researchers' estimates.
Deadbeats pay more when they borrow money. Careless and dangerous drivers pay more for health insurance.
Why shouldn't those with unhealthy lifestyles pay more for health insurance?
Smoking has the most obvious impact. Studies have increasingly shown harm to nonsmokers who are unlucky enough to work or live around heavy smokers. And several studies have shown heart attacks and asthma attack rates fell in counties or cities that adopted big smoking bans.The libertarian in me says we don't need more laws that impact personal freedom, but the capitalist side says that tobacco use is a choice and most obese people became overweight because of personal choice to overeat.
When you make a conscious choice to take on risky behavior you should expect to pay the price.