Should your healthcare be dependent on your lifestyle?

A survey of European fertility specialists suggests that forty percent of them think IVF treatment should not be offered to fat women or to smokers.

But what about other treatments? If you’re a heavy drinker, should you be first in the queue for a liver transplant?

Should the obese be forced to pay extra for their medicine?

And what if your lifestyle is “healthy”, but dangerous. Say, you’re an extreme sports enthusiast and something goes wrong, should you have to pick up the bill?

26 Responses to “Should your healthcare be dependent on your lifestyle?”

  1. 1 Dennis
    July 25, 2008 at 13:54

    It depends on what kind of healthcare is Required, then yes…

    I.E. “ivf” treatment then lifestyle choices should be look at in the serious lite.

    Syracuse, New York

  2. 2 Dennis
    July 25, 2008 at 13:56

    extreme sports players, health care should be look at in those cases also….

    obseity should be look at in the situation…

    Syracuse, New York

  3. July 25, 2008 at 14:10

    Oh most certainly health care cost should be determinant on your lifestyle. Why should I pay as much as someone who weighs 300lbs, doesn’t exercise, eats fast food every day, starbucks for breakfast and smokes or drinks a pack a day?

    I know it sounds harsh, but I shouldn’t have to pay as high of health care costs if I live a more responsible life and take better care of myself than someone else who doesn’t.

    It’s not PC, but all people and lifestyles are different. Health care coverage and costs should reflect that.

    Car insurance companies give those with slower, safer cars lower rates, as well as those who drive them as such. Those with fast, overpowered cars who drive them irrepsonsibly pay more.

    Age is the one of the only problems with this model. You cannot help your age and as you age you will require more healthcare; How do we avoid a rise in cost as age increases to stray away from variables which are out of the patients control or ‘lifestyle’.
    Another problem is patients with pre-existing conditions which affect their ‘lifestyle’ and the way they can live it. Or genetic conditions. Theres alot of variables. But for those who are fully functioning individuals and still choose not to take care of themselves, they should have to pay more for it than those which spend time and effort to keep themselves healthy.

  4. 4 Melanie Chassen
    July 25, 2008 at 14:17

    I think the short answer to this question is ‘no’. I agree that there are many arguments (especially in terms of transplants) against this – as it is common practice that an alcoholic will not be eligible for a new liver. I am not sure I agree with that entirely, but then again, it is not my decision to make. In terms of fertility treatments, obesity, or extreme sports enthusiasts, I do not think these people should have to pay more for their health care. In essence, it is making a decision of who is more ”worthy” of certain treatments. So a person who is an alcohol abuser is not as worthy of a new liver as someone else even though both are dying? I know the argument could be that the alcoholic brought their illness on themself so they have to suffer the consequences. However, when one is deciding who is more ”worthy” to carry a child – with respect to the European fertility specialists – is this because the chances of success are slim due to lifestyle choices and the medical treatments would be better spent on someone who was a nonsmoker/within their healthy weight range? I don’t believe that anyone should have the power to make such a decision for someone else. What else do we possess and have control over if it is not our own bodies? True, some people make very poor decisions about how to take care of themselves, but as soon as any sort of health care is being limited, that is, in my opinion, not too far away from discrimination. And who would decide what kinds of people should get medical care and who should not? Isn’t this very similar to profiling? As extenuating circumstances will always exist, I think this is something we should stay away from. But I’m curious to see what other people think about this…

  5. 5 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 25, 2008 at 14:26

    There are other health issues other then smoking or being overweight. What about people who are diabetic, have had cancer, or have MS. What about people who are blind or deaf? I feel that all should have the right to have a baby. If money is there to help them with IVF that should be given to all parents that qualify financial. Aige may be an issues and that should be the only factor. I have a friend who is diabetic and heavy and she had a very healthy baby girl.

  6. 6 steve
    July 25, 2008 at 14:40

    I’m curious why the state would even pay for this. Why not pay for plastic surgery as well?

    I’ve always felt people should be licensed to have children. There are lots of really messed up people having messed up kids, who will then lived messed up lives and raise more messed up kids. If you need a licsense to drive, a license to fish, a license to serve alcohol, then why not license something far more important? There will be accusations of nazism, but if you need a license to open a business that serves the pu blic, if they can search your premisis to make sure it meets health codes, then why not license parents? It’s not like a store can grow up to be an adolf hilter or can ruin peoples lives. There’s a SERIOUS problem in the west, I can only put my finger on it, people make bad decisions that not only impacts them, but others. Think of daddy issues with women. It makes them incapable of having relationships, so they screw over some guy, eventually have kids with some guy who shouldn’t be a father, and then messes up the lives of her kid and herself, then that kid continues the cycle.

    I don’t think the state should be paying for IVF anyways, at least for the cases of old people who selfishly want children at ages when nature simply won’t let them. Perhaps if you were of normal, healthy child bearing age, but you weren’t fertile, then maybe the story would be different.

  7. July 25, 2008 at 14:40

    Yes! Healthcare can be dependent on our lifestyle, But more than that depends on service available and economic condition.

  8. 8 I. R. Nee
    July 25, 2008 at 15:13

    I absolutely agree that healthcare should be dependant on your lifestyle. If you choose not to take care of your body by eating fast food, even though the majority of obese people in America are also some of the poorest and it costs more to eat healthy, then you should have to pay higher premiums. And there’s cetainly no reason to support them for IVF. Not to mention that the obese die younger and would therefore be leaving behind children that the state have to pay for! The world is overpopulated as it is!!

    As for smokers it shouldn’t matter if they are a one cigarette or two pack a day smoker. They absolutely ought to pay more for things like their asthma medicines or cancer treatments for lung caner. We all know that you can only get lung cancer by being a smoker, it says so right on the government subsidized packs. And let them pay full price for products that are supposedly going to help them beat their “addiction”. Same thing with alcohol. It shouldn’t matter if you have one drink a day, like those “doctors” tell you is good for you, or if they’re a so-called alcoholic. We all know that cigarettes and alcohol aren’t addictive so the healthy masses shouldn’t have to help pay for their treatment. Since they did it to themselves and are therefore not worthy of the life they are so obviously throwing away.

    As a completely healthy vegitarian who bikes six miles a day, doesn’t watch any TV or spend time on the internet, and never gets in a car, i know that I don’t have to worry about getting sick. I am tired of the American government just GIVING AWAY medicaid to anyone who asks for it. I can’t believe what people who in a country with nationalized healthcare must feel. To have to pay for someone ELSES healthcare? Hey, I have myself to worry about here.

  9. 9 I. R. Nee
    July 25, 2008 at 15:26

    Steve- I don’t normally agree with you but this time you are completely right. The government absolutely should that kind of power and control over our lives. The people in government are a lot smarter than the proletariat and they know what is best for us. There should be a whole bureu dedicated the regulation of parenting, just like (as Steve pointed out) there is for cars and fishing. Since they are the government we know that we won’t have to worry about things like corruption or abuse of the system. It’s working for China right? And now all those parents who lost their only child in the earthquake can apply to have a new one to replace the one they lost.

    In fact wouldn’t it just make more sense for them to tell us who to marry in the first place? I know a lot of you are going to attack me for this but it makes logical sense. Like Steve said- “There‚Äôs a SERIOUS problem in the west, I can only put my finger on it, people make bad decisions that not only impacts them, but others. Think of daddy issues with women.” Well we could get rid of this problem by having the government set up our marriages so that we DONT make bad decision on who to marry. This way husbands will stop leaving or abusing their wives and all kids will be raised in efficient homes with ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. What gives you the right to decide whether or not you can have kids? It’s really selfish in my opinion.

  10. July 25, 2008 at 15:34

    absolutely! why should a responsible individual who is conscientious about maintaining their health pay for someone who totally abuses their health. interestingly, barrack obama smokes cigarettes, but expects healthy non-smokers to pay for his health care which will probably involve lung cancer!

  11. 11 viola
    July 25, 2008 at 16:00

    This is a timely question for me. Yesterday we learned that our wonderful neighbor down the road has been diagnosed with terminal, incurable lung cancer and has only a few weeks of life left. He is a chain smoker. I would unequivocally recommend that his life be saved if it were possible. If he were cured and then continued to smoke with a recurrence of cancer, then cut him off treatment.

    I am reminded of a saying that if you see a person with no clothes, you don’t demand that he cover himself before you help him. You offer him something to wear.

  12. 12 Will Rhodes
    July 25, 2008 at 16:40

    No an absolute NO!

    Why, in the late 20th, beginning of the 21st centuries are we all on this “punishment to keep in line/make normal” kick? What is wrong with people?

    Sweet Mary – I have said I won’t do a long post, but this is the time when I wish I written this reply first. Whatever happened to education? Educate people – make it so the large corporations cannot make such crap food – governments should take on them not punish the population.

    I do despair sometimes at what people write.

  13. 13 theinterested
    July 25, 2008 at 17:48

    Every human being has the right of being alive and of physical integrity – no matter what they have done before. That is what is determined by the Geneva Convention and therefore has to be obeyed. That means everyone should get free access to medical care, even if they have caused their injuries themselves. Would you let someone die when you have just found them with bleeding wrists? Would you say to them, ‘I am sorry I cannot help you because you are responsible for your injuries yourself’? Now, you could say that they tried to commit suicide because of a mental illness. But isn’t addiction to alcohol or cigaretts a mental illness, too?
    Another thought about this issue: Let us assume someone has been addicted to alcohol for ten years. Now scientists can say that drinking too much alcohol can cause cancer, but ten years ago they did not know about that. (This is only an assumption to demonstrate a dilemma situation and not based on real facts.) Our person has cancer now and the doctors are sure it was caused by alcohol. Would you allow that person to receive medical treatment for their cancer in the same way you would allow someone who has never been addicted to alcohol?

  14. July 25, 2008 at 17:48

    Hey All,
    I guess the issue of healthcare should be universally affordable. People have conditions and diseases they aren’t responsible for. Are we saying these people should be placed in categories even if they can not afford it? Lol. Lets be reasonable here.

  15. 15 Justin from Iowa
    July 25, 2008 at 18:30

    Actually, funny story… I forget where I read the study, but if all the smokers out there stopped smoking or never smoked, our health care system would be brought to its knees because these smokers DIE EARLY and thus are less of a burden on the health care system, even with their illnesses.

    So, if you want to save the USA health care system… Smoke a Cigarrette, Be a Patriot!

    Also, health care allready is more expensive in the US if you live like a slob. Insurance premiums are higher, especially once your body starts failing (heart problems, etc).

    So what exactly are we talking about?

  16. 16 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 25, 2008 at 19:25

    Dosent mattet what kind of treatment & medical system you have this is Universal truth that you diet always plays a master role in your health & fitness.

  17. 17 peter mose
    July 26, 2008 at 09:06


    i read most of the comments it seems that most if not all fell into the trap ,
    the gov knew we were going into recession so it was time to find a reason for some money saving in the health service,

    over weight people are a good one /you can put out well befor hand programs/documentry,s and news reports pointing out that over weight people
    are bad news,=get them used to it,

    people who smoke thats a good one,get the adds out, plenty of publicity,throw in
    some nhs programs to give up /some adverts showing kids copying mum smoking


    even though you have paid in all your life, AND THEY TOOK THE MONEY,

    ever noticed in a hospital how overweight the employees are, some are massive
    some of the managers would not qualify for treatment in the nhs but they get it,

    look at the politicians ever seen a thin one ,most of them are are well overweight
    but they get treated on the nhs




  18. 18 Pangolin-California
    July 26, 2008 at 09:09

    It seems that access to a computer selects for a lack of compassion, or medical knowledge. Obesity is largely genetically determined and can also be strongly influenced by things like your grandmothers exposure to certain chemicals.

    Risk-taking also has a large genetic component, so does susceptibility to certain addictions. When you consider how much of our health is determined at birth or pushed by environmental conditions beyond our control (like the diets we were fed before our majority) then rationing due to such conditions is futile.

    Conversely health care should have a good chance of success for the investment expended. IVF treatments for the morbidly obese seems rather futile.

  19. 19 Shakhoor Rehman
    July 26, 2008 at 12:35

    I find this a curious question since it is patently obvious that the two are inextricably linked.

  20. 20 John in Germany
    July 26, 2008 at 14:13

    If a patient has paid the health insurance then he or her should be entitled to all treatment available.
    If a patient cannot pay the health insurance through no fault of their own they should also have all treatments possible.
    If a patient has been warned by his doctor not to smoke-drink- eat to much, and so on, and they ignore this advice. then no matter what circumstances arise, he or her should have their case considered by a commission, and a decision made as to what treatment they should receive. Basicly why should those that do not care about their health, penalise those that do.

    John in Germany

  21. 21 Oh my you people should live in china!
    July 26, 2008 at 15:46

    To all of you people who think you should be treated differently for lifestyle choices.

    1. Smokers and drinkers pay a huge amount of tax. You want to treat them differently in healthcare then remove the taxes. Then put up your taxes to pay for everything else.

    2 Next time you get into a car (possibly one of the most dangerous things to do statistically) Make your case for treatment when your car smashes into a tree.
    Petrol tax ? ok give you that.

    We are all individual. We all have different problems. Stop trying to punish people for there lifestyle changes. It will come to you one day. (I saw him eating a sausage roll officer !! Make him pay)

    This country is falling apart because everyone is blaming everyone else. Stick together.

  22. 22 John in Germany
    July 27, 2008 at 12:53

    @ oh my you people should live in China.
    Who wants to live in China?. The Chinese? ok.
    It has nothing to do with life style, but the responsibility to take care of one of the most important things in our lives, our health.

    Time changes the knowledge that is obtained about our way of life, medicines , and our health, we must learn to adapt ourselves to the new knowledge. We know that Smoking causes many serious illnesses, and don’t come the “my granddad smoked, and he lived until he was 90” bit. It does not even fall into the good excuses to abuse your body with all of the bad’s that are in cigarette smoke.

    According to you, style of life is equivalent to the right to abuse your body at the expense of others. Which will occur if you ignore medical advice, and systematically kill yourself.

    John in Germany

  23. 23 Shirley New York
    July 28, 2008 at 15:05

    Some people like being in a hospital, or at the doctors as a hobby. They will drag their poor children for unnecessary visits too. Such, need talk therapy

    If Health Insurance , national or private worked by way of need for expensive visits, procedures, those that eat right, exercise, will not need to bare the sins/luck of others.

    If by the time, one is 50, the person is healthy by way of blood work and EKG then they should be a category A. Category A are those that keep their annual visits and use OTC(Over the counter) meds for minor adjustments

    Category B, are the people, by way of Bad Luck, they have hormonal imbalances or metabolic disease. They pay more than Category A but not as much as category A

    Smokers, dont need doctors but because they will eventually, they can be a Category C..paying more, than the Cat. Bs so when they get COPD or cancer, their rates dont need to increase tremendously.

    If a person needs one surgical visit or more every other year by the time they are 35, they should be on a different expensive scale, Eg-Category D, These are also people who are back for rechecks every year more than 3 times a year for 3 years in succession,

    The overweight, tending to be obese with no intent on correction of their life addictions should be Category E. A qualified doctor can put them in whichever category she deems right except cat A. Ofcourse, if they see a doctor only when they are diabetic, cannot walk and have difficulty breathing breathing, then they are Category E plus.

  24. 24 Patrick Foster
    July 29, 2008 at 03:46

    The design of the human body is so wonderful in its complexity that anyone that wilfully attempts it’s degradation deserves the consequence.
    So do some people believe that if you can’t afford health care that’s your problem – a policy followed in many parts of the world today:
    the principle of evolution that nature has always followed suggests that the consequence of over-population will be extinction;
    If doctors recalled their Hippocratic oath to support life to its NATURAL END there would be far fewer repositories of souls waiting to die;
    What if people were not afraid of death – we could do away with all these categories.

  25. July 30, 2008 at 13:18

    @ Oh my you people should live in china!

    2 Next time you get into a car (possibly one of the most dangerous things to do statistically) Make your case for treatment when your car smashes into a tree.

    As I said earlier: Car insurance companies give those with slower, safer cars lower rates, as well as those who drive them as such. Those with fast, overpowered cars who drive them irrepsonsibly pay more.
    Thus the analogy you used fails to acknowledge that there is a discrepancy in the amounts paid based on the driving styles by auto insurance. So why not the same for health insurance?

    We are all individual. We all have different problems. Stop trying to punish people for there lifestyle changes.

    How about you either a) stop punishing those who take care of themselves by having them help foot the bill through higher healthcare costs to accomodate those who live irresponsibly with regard to their health. Or b) reward those who take good care of themselves and their health.

    This country is falling apart because everyone is blaming everyone else. Stick together.

    Exactly! Stop blaming everyone else… Like “Im fat because of fast food, I didn’t know it was bad for me! *gasps*” Take responsibility for your own actions. This includes your lifestyle choices, don’t blame anyone else that you have to pay more in healthcare because you drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney and hence require more healthcare than someone who takes care of themselves; And certainly don’t expect others to help foot the bill to fix your body because of your poor choices.

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