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Medicine

Arizona Governor Proposes Flab Tax 978

Hugh Pickens writes "The WSJ reports that Arizona governor Jan Brewer has proposed levying a $50 fee on some enrollees in the state's cash-starved Medicaid program, including obese people who don't follow a doctor-supervised slimming regimen and smokers. Brewer says the proposal is a way to reward good behavior and raise awareness that certain conditions, including obesity, raise costs throughout the system. 'If you want to smoke, go for it,' says Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program. 'But understand you're going to have to contribute something for the cost of the care of your smoking.' Coury says Arizona officials hadn't yet finalized how they would determine whether a person was obese or had sufficiently followed a wellness plan, but that measures such as body-mass index could provide some guidance. Estimates for the costs of obesity in America range from about $150 billion to $270 billion a year. According to the latest CDC statistics, from 2009, 25.5% of Arizonans are obese, about 1.7 million people."

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