Ahh, Slippery Slope, welcome back old friend. First - for the smoking thing, what the hell did they do with all that money they got from the Big Tobacco settlement that was *supposed* to be for health care costs ($206 billion over 25 years, shared by the 50 states)? Oh, right, that got redirected into roads and fisheries and all other kinds of stuff having nothing to do with health costs. Scam! If it's *really* all about correlating behavior to health costs (and it's not, but let's play along) then what about taxing people based upon activities? How about a $5 surcharge for every ski-lift ticket, because people that ski are far more likely to have some sort of trauma injury than those that don't. Golf is notorious for what it does to your back and the long term care prospects for those with bad backs is *very* expensive - $10 surcharge on all greens fees (and $15 if you rent a cart, you sedentary bastard!). You ever see what happens to somebody that falls off a bicycle? Oh man, my Iron Man sister got totally messed up when she fell off her bike while training - busted teeth, fractured ribs, all kinds of messed up skin. People that ride bikes are just accidents waiting to happen - so that probably requires, what, $100 annual fee? I mean I love my sister and all but why the hell should I be paying for her health care just cause she thinks it's fun to run/bike/swim? Oh yeah, swimming - did you know that people drown? Well, those people are dead so I guess there's no health care costs for them - but what about all those *millions* of folks getting attacked by sharks (I saw it on TV, so it must be true)? Some of them think WE should pay to sew their arms back on - or whatever it is that got bitten off. Not sure how to tax that one, though - if we tax swimming suits then some of them will just swim naked . . . and, depending on who it is, that could be a really bad thing. Have to give that one some more thought.
Finally, according to the CDC in the year 2000 (cue Conan and Andy) there were ~85K non-fatal gun injuries. That's a lot of shot up but not dead people expecting somebody to patch them up. I figure $500/year per gun should help cover those costs, right?
Or . . . do you really think that the root cause of all of our high health care costs is solely on the shoulders of smokers and fat people?