Arizona governor seeks to fine smokers and overweight people

You’ve perhaps noticed that many of my post titles are provocative in some way: bad puns, double entendres, inflammatory hyberbole. When the title is straightforward, it’s usually because any lunacy in the topic speaks for itself and doesn’t need “gotcha!” embellishment.

Jan Brewer, who once claimed that her father died fighting the Nazis in Germany even though he was never in the military and died of lung cancer 10 years after World War II ended, has already learned worldwide notoriety for signing into law SB 1070. A fan of vacuous anti-abortion legislation, she is now looking to fine Medicaid recipients who smoke or are overweight $50.

Ms. Brewer’s surcharge would apply only to only certain childless adults: Those who are obese or chronically ill, and those who smoke. They would need to work with a primary-care physician to develop a plan to help them lose weight and otherwise improve their health. Patients who don’t meet specified goals would be required to pay the $50, under terms of the proposal.

In Arizona, 25.5% of residents were obese as of 2009, according to figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ranking it about in the middle among states. About 46% of Arizona’s Medicaid enrollees smoke daily, according to a 2006 survey by the state’s Medicaid agency.

Fine, so Arizona is flat-ass broke (it did away with its version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program last year) and smoking and overeating are bad news. But why target poor people? Because their “income” is straight from the government? And why are Medicaid recipients with children exempt? You’d think a government intent on rewarding healthful choices would be concerned about parents who set poor examples for their kids. The rest of us should be able to smoke and eat our merry way straight into downtown Hell.

How about this, Jan: Target all smokers and all fat people, or none at all. Tax the shit out of cigarettes if they’re so damned nasty. Enforce a statewide surcharge on anyone who makes use of any government funds, including schools. Got a fat kid or two in the public education system? That’ll be $100 per child, thanks much. Passing through a toll both on a state or federal highway and looking a little too bloated? An extra dollar for you or you can turn that lardwagon around. And if you are a government employee in any way and have a bad fattitude or are known to light up, great! But 5% of your salary goes back into the kitty until you shape the fuck up. It would also help matters if Brewer is fined $10,000 every time she is caught lying to the public.

Also, isn’t the cry of “no more nanny state!” supposed to emanate from the Republican side? Or are these kinds of impositions okay when their targets are easily envisaged as drug-addict layabout minorities?

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