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Arizona's $50 Medicaid Fat Fee

Governor Jan Brewer has been threatening to cut Medicaid ever since she got re-elected, but since there would be a huge backlash if that did happen, she's now threatening to charge fat people, smokers and the chronically ill on Medicaid a $50 fee. To avoid the fee, fat people would have to follow a doctor-supervised diet regimen. This proposal will target only childless people, so they don't only want to shame fat people, but fat people who chose to or can't physically have children. Way to go Governor Brewer!

What happens if this doctor's diet plan doesn't work and the patient is still fat? Also, how are they going to judge how fat someone has to be before they charge this fee? What about the number of fat people who have none of the diseases correlated with being fat, such as diabetes, heart problems and joint issues?

There's no way this plan could work and it shouldn't even have been considered. For a lot of poor people who have Medicaid as their only medical insurance, this is really going to put a lot of strain and stress on them. Once again, the fat population is shamed simply for their size by a dodo who thinks all fat people are unhealthy, dieting works, and weight loss will magically solve everything.

Story here, in the Wall Street Journal: Arizona Proposes Medicaid Fat Fee

Also covered on Fat Chicks Rule.

Lonie McMichael: But it’s for my health!!! | Ancel Keys Starvation Study Discussed in Psychology Today

AndyJo's picture
April 6th, 2011 | Link | Why we permit this..

We permit this because we fatties are not all on the same page.

Most fat people in this country have totally bought into the Fantasy of Being Thin (TM) and are hammered every day in every way with the "health" messages they have come to believe it. As many in FA have pointed out, we are certainly not immune from that. If a divinity-of-my-choice held a gigundo lottery, and the winner got to be thin overnight, I can't say that I wouldn't buy myself a ticket. It's the same reason why the stomach bonsai patrol is so successful, and the dieting companies are the world's best investment almost.

The hard part is to change your mind. Change starts within us. Sonia Johnson (a Mormon woman who was expelled from her church and who ran for President back in the 70's/80's - I don't recall exactly when) wrote a book called "Going out of our Minds". There's a lot of magical thinking in it, so I wouldn't make it a life model, but the base concept is that to change the world you need to change the self. I read it aeons ago, but that stuck with me.

While we are changing our minds though, I want to reflect on this. Even if the FA Fairy made FA the norm rather than the exception in the next 20 seconds, we still would see a whole bunch of folks who would flock to the WW's and the Jennny Craigs of the world. In that alternate universe, we would have to take care to make sure that we did not repeat the same mistakes and we would need to treat them very differently than we ourselves are treated.

--Andy Jo--

richie79's picture
April 6th, 2011 | Link | I suppose this fits in with

I suppose this fits in with the current post-recession trend of scapegoating and punishing poor people, fat people, disabled people (surely covered by 'the chronically sick?) and other groups lacking the political clout to oppose the media's character defamation of them. It's a very convenient way of deflecting attention from the fact that the bankers who caused the crisis are being allowed to carry on as before, taking risks with other people's money, paying themselves enormous bonuses and all the rest. But then, our government continues to insist 'we're all in this together' and must 'share the pain'. I hope sanity prevails and this bill goes the same way as Mississippi's wrong-headed proposals to ban fat people from restaurants, but if not I wonder whether the well-known limitations of the BMI would be good grounds on which to launch a case against its increasing use as a criterion on which to ration access to goods and services.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

pani113's picture
April 6th, 2011 | Link | I am not so sure there is

I am not so sure there is not an economic agenda behind this, if Brewer is involved. I am sure we have all heart of AZ hateful immigration law. Well it turns out, it was written by the private prison industry, with the help of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. (The same group behind Wisc anti union legislation.) The private prison industry sees big bucks in detaining so many people with the draconian immigration law. So they got the pols to pass it, and used hate and bigotry to sell it to the Ariz public. It will probably end up costing them more money in the long run. Here is a link from NPR

Now lets think about this. How much money will it COST medicaid to have all these patients make an extra trip to their doctors? Will the weight loss program just be diet and exercise? (Which will not produce dramatic results.) Or will these docs start prescribing pills and WLS?

Certainly the stats ABC used were very deceptive. They trotted out their obesity spending BS (I don't remember the exact numbers), but I did notice it was almost 2x as much for women as men. That tells me they were including weight loss products in there, rather than just diseases that are allegedly caused by obesity. So they count all the diet products sold, use that to inflate how much obesity costs us, and then push more obesity spending. At some point the public needs to start catching on!

"Fat can be beautiful. Intolerance is ALWAYS ugly!"

DeeLeigh's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | Oh, that explains it. I was

Oh, that explains it. I was puzzled by the whole thing because I was thinking "that's going have higher administrative costs than the $50 a year fee they want to charge."

fatfairy April 6th, 2011 | Link | I read some of the comments

I read some of the comments in the Wall Street Journal, and a number of them said that people "choose" to be on Medicaid or be on disability and if they don't like the rules they can leave. That's just ridiculus,bigoted and wrong, because most people with disabilities did not make a choice to be disabled. People do not "choose" to be born with a disability or a genetic predisposition to illness, to be run over by a drunk driver, to be exposed to germs or toxins. in general, people also do not "choose" to be poor and have to ask the government for help.
There also seems to be a double standard. Government should intrude on the lives of the poor but not the rich.
Also, is the decision about who is "obese', "non-complient" , et c., going to be made by each person's doctor, a government beaurocrat, or what?

DeeLeigh's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | There also seems to be a

There also seems to be a double standard. Government should intrude on the lives of the poor but not the rich.

Or anyone self supporting, really.

Actually, some people in government would love to intrude on everyone's lives, but without economic dependance, they have no leverage in a free society. If someone is unfortunate enough to be dependent on government aid, then they become subject to greater government control, like a child who's dependent on a parent. It's a horrible situation to be in, I agree.

Bree's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | Controlling those on

Controlling those on government assistance seems to be a recurring theme of the Republican/Tea Party this year despite their cries of smaller government. Besides the Medicaid fee, conservatives in Minnesota actually proposed a law that would restrict those using food stamps to carry only $20 cash on them. So if someone was out carrying, say, $70 to go pay a utility bill, or going Christmas shopping for their family, they would be breaking the law. If I were in MN and this law actually passed, this would affect me since I get food stamps (even though it's only $16 month become of my income). It's ridiculous how extreme some of these politicians will go to keep the poor (and fat) in "their place."

DeeLeigh's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | Holy crap. What's that

Holy crap. What's that supposed to accomplish?

vesta44's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | And what about the bill (I

And what about the bill (I don't remember where it was being proposed) that says if you're on food stamps, and a union worker, and you go on strike, you could lose your food stamps? If you don't lose your food stamps, they won't be increased because of having less income from being on strike. Talk about punishing people - this is not the way to work it. I'm sorry, if a union worker qualifies for food stamps, then their wages aren't all that great to begin with and they have every right to strike for higher pay, as well as benefits/better benefits.
I'm so sick of the people who have a lot of money saying people who don't have a lot of money should just suck it up and make do with what they have or go out and get better jobs. Yeah, the people with the money are the ones who aren't creating jobs with better pay/benefits because they prefer huge profits over giving their employees a livable wage. Keep on stomping on the ones who pay the majority of taxes and do the majority of the work in this country and there will be a revolution and it's not going to be pretty when it happens.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

DeeLeigh's picture
April 7th, 2011 | Link | Seriously. If they qualify

Seriously. If they qualify for food stamps, I can see why they'd be on strike. Head -> desk

richie79's picture
April 8th, 2011 | Link | Deeleigh, the only possible

Deeleigh, the only possible motive I can suggest for such a draconian law (apart from an apparent desire on the part of the political classes to repeatedly kick the poor and disenfranchised at every possible opportunity) is that the rapidly expanding private prison industry has lobbied for it and the similarly pointless criminalisation of other harmless activities as a cynical method of generating more business for themselves. By some accounts they now spend considerable sums doing just that, cozying up to politicians in order to oppose the repeal of legislation which has little or no public benefit and agitating for new laws and harsher sentences which bring more ordinary people and minor miscreants into contact with an increasingly profitable custodial system. (On the other hand it could just be my tendency to see conspiracy theories everywhere, projecting the sort of ulterior motives so beloved of the diet and obesity industries onto other powerful and influential organisations and companies in society).

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

vesta44's picture
April 8th, 2011 | Link | If you stop and think about

If you stop and think about it, Richie's right. Just as an example - what has the "war" on drugs really accomplished? It hasn't gotten drugs off the streets or out of the hands of children, nor has it put the big-time movers/shakers/dealers behind bars. What it has done is criminalize use/possession of very small amounts of all kinds of drugs, and who are the ones who end up in jail for dealing/using those drugs? Not the big-time dealers but their underlings and their users, who are mostly people of color and mostly poor (and isn't it odd that the big-time dealers are not mostly people of color?). This serves to keep the prison industrial complex going, keeps the CIA/FBI working and in need of funding and manpower, and keeps the citizenry in a panic about the drug cartels taking over the country. And where is the blame for all of this placed? Why, on the poor people who are dealing/using these illegal drugs instead of on the culture that makes it next to impossible to climb out of poverty and improve one's life.
Scapegoating is alive and well in the world, and fat people have joined the ranks of drug dealers and crime syndicate bosses as the reason everything is wrong with the country today, mainly because our "sins" are visible, in the form of our fat, while the same "sins" committed by thinner people don't show up on their bodies as readily. If fat people would only walk more, use public transportation more, carpool more, eat less, be more energy efficient with everything they do, why, the country would be doing just fine - never mind that thin people don't walk all the time, don't always take public transportation, don't always carpool, can be gluttonous pigs when it comes to food, and can be wasteful as hell with all kinds of energy. Those thin people aren't fat and their gluttony doesn't "show" on their bodies like our supposed gluttony "shows" on our bodies. Hypocrisy - thy name is humankind.

WLS - Sorry, not my preferred way of dying. *glares at doctor recommending it*

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