Smoking a Pre-Existing Condition for DC Residents Under Obamacare

Wednesday, 10 Apr 2013 02:46 PM

By Michael Mullins

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Insurance companies won't be able to charge smokers in the District of Columbia higher premiums, courtesy of the district's Health Benefit Exchange executive board, which voted Monday to eliminate smoking premiums in its health care exchanges under Obamacare.

The move effectively makes smoking "a pre-existing medical condition," according to Dr. Mohammad Akhter, the board's chairman, the National Review reported.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, states are permitted to impose a 50 percent surcharge for people who have used tobacco at least four times a week over the last six months, reported the Washington Times.

Special: Should the Supreme Court Legalize Gay Marriage? Vote in Urgent Poll.

With the ruling, the District of Columbia joins the ranks of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont which have already eliminated smoking premiums in their health care exchanges.

According to an Institute for Health Policy Solutions study conducted in June 2012, such a surcharge would have a disproportionate effect on the district's older and poorer populations.

To illustrate the findings, the study presents a hypothetical situation of an elderly couple over the age of 60 whose earnings were at 150 percent of the federal poverty line. In the example, in which both individuals' smoking habits qualify them for the Obamacare surcharge, the couple could potentially face a health care premium equal to 48 percent of their total income.

The study prompted Akhter to conclude such smoking surcharges were "basically unaffordable."

While just over 21 percent of Americans smoke regularly, in D.C. the average is slightly lower at 20.8 percent. Among black residents in the district, however, the smoking rate is significantly higher at 30.8 percent.

The move was applauded by the American Cancer Society.

"Just because people have become addicted to a terrible drug is not a reason to turn our back on them in providing health care," said David Woodmansee, associate director of state and local campaigns for the American Cancer Society.

Urgent: Obama or GOP: Who’s to Blame for Budget Crisis? Vote Now

As noted in the Health Policy Solutions study, low-income individuals are more likely to smoke, reported The Washington Times.

"This is the population that needs health care the most," Woodmansee said. "We are anti-smoking for sure, but we are not anti-smoker."

Related stories:

Congressional Report: Obamacare Leads to Skyrocketing Premiums, 200 Percent Possible

McConnell: Worst Fears Coming True on Obamacare

Tobacco's Out, but Pot's OK in San Francisco Smoking Ban

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
 
 
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved