Oh hai blatant discrimination!
Rose tipped me off to some fat discrimination going on over in North Carolina. According to this policy document, the North Carolina State Health Plan (for teachers and state employees) will soon be divided into two sections: one for the "good" folks who don't smoke and have BMIs under 40 and one for the "naughty" smokers or people with BMIs 40 or above. Of course the good folks will receive more coverage at less expense than the naughty ones. Participants in the health plan are required to fill out a form every year that attests that they fit into the good group and they also agree to be subjected to mandatory random screenings for smoking and for BMI.
I am both appalled and terrified by this idea and the precedent it creates. First of all, does this mean that an NCSU employee is subject to being weighed and measured at work whenever HR deems it necessary? What about personal privacy? What about a person's body being their own property and not for their employer to judge? What about an employee being compensated on their performance and NOT their body size? Because no matter how this policy was initially intended, this ends up being another way to pay fat people less for doing the same job, as if that weren't happening enough already.
I hate the idea of the smoking thing as well on the grounds that what I do in my off time shouldn't be any of my employer's business, but at least that's a behavior that can be stopped. A fat person can't just stop being fat, despite the world's erroneous belief that all you have to do is just try a little harder to eat less and exercise more and the pounds will magically melt off. No one has been able to find a method of weight loss that works permanently for more than the tiniest percentages of people, which means that fat people are likely going to stay fat no matter how many crunches they do.
Let's not forget that the mainstream jury is still out on fat and health anyway...even Newsweek isn't sure whether fat=unhealthy anymore. Even if it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that fat people are definitely going to get sick, the whole point of a group health plan is that some people are going to get sick and some aren't. By buying into it you acknowledge that you are going to pay the same amount whether you get sick or not and whether other people get sick or not. If we're going to just weed out the people we think are going to get sick, what's the point of group health then anyway?
On TOP of that, what this plan is doing is funneling the people who are (supposedly) the most likely to get sick into a group that gets less coverage! Those who will likely need health care the most are all of a sudden going to get the least amount of assistance from their health insurance company! If this doesn't prove clearly how much more interested health insurance companies are in profits over actually providing health care, then I don't know what will.