Obamacare Smoking Penalty of Up to 50% Causes Twitter Stir

Monday, 28 Jan 2013 09:13 AM

By Dale Eisinger

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A provision in President Barack Obama's healthcare initiative that allows insurers to charge a 50 percent premium to smokers on top of what they will already pay is causing a stir.

For a 55-year-old smoker, the huge Obamacare penalty for smokers could reach nearly $4,250 a year. A 60-year-old could wind up paying nearly $5,100 on top of normal premiums.

Younger smokers could be charged lower penalties under rules proposed last fall by the Obama administration, but older smokers could face a heavy hit on their household budgets at a time in life when smoking-related illnesses tend to emerge.

The smoking provision goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and has evoked a flurry of responses on the Internet.

Some argued that the provision weighs on Americans' freedom of choice.

Wesley J. Smith at the National Review asked if the Affordable Care Act costs more for those who smoke, where is the line drawn?

"Living unhealthy lifestyles has become the new Scarlet Letter," wrote Smith. "That’s what happens with centralized health care. But once we go down that road, it won’t end there. Smokers today, the obese tomorrow."

Others agreed with him.

In an online discussion under the Texas Hunting Forum, many gun owners saw the move as positive.

"I'm for that," wrote one user. "Another reason for many of my friends to quit." 

Others on Twitter saw the provision as hypocritical, because Obama quit smoking only about a year ago.

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