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State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed May 22, 2013 12:41 pm

When Walker first ran for governor, he told those who opposed the ban on smoking in bars that he would work to overturn that law. He was just pandering to that voting block. After being elected, he said he changed his mind.

Now he is proposing the smoking surchange on state sponsored health insurance. Guess he doesn't need those voters any more.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby talagaster » Wed May 22, 2013 12:44 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:When Walker first ran for governor, he told those who opposed the ban on smoking in bars that he would work to overturn that law. He was just pandering to that voting block. After being elected, he said he changed his mind.

Now he is proposing the smoking surchange on state sponsored health insurance. Guess he doesn't need those voters any more.


I doubt the Tavern League cares what happens to state employees.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby dave esmond » Wed May 22, 2013 12:45 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I know on my brother's health insurance, you get a discount if you belong to a gym.


In which case you'd just need to provide a receipt. Which really isn't proof you're using the gym just that you want the discount.

If you knew you would get a discount, would you not share medical records if it showed you having good health. The opposite would not be true if you were a smoker or generally unhealthy.



I don't want anyone having access to my medical records. But then I'm not sure I like the grocery store knowing about everything I buy when I use their club card. So maybe it's me.


My question tho' is how is this gonna work in a real world way. Is it gonna rely on self reporting? Because I sure as hell don't want the state having access to my medical records.

Let's say they do get access. What's gonna stop someone from asking their Dr to just keep all the bad stuff out? Or worse not telling their Dr the truth because they don't want to be punished.

I mostly don't like the invasion of the privacy parts of this whole thing.

And I don't see any way to make it actually work.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed May 22, 2013 12:46 pm

talagaster wrote:I doubt the Tavern League cares what happens to state employees.

I assume some state workers go to bars.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 12:50 pm

dave esmond wrote:I mostly don't like the invasion of the privacy parts of this whole thing.

And I don't see any way to make it actually work.


That's basically how I feel about the surcharge. I was asked which I would prefer and it was the healthy lifestyle discount, but in the end I agree with you. Proof is pretty damn hard and people are going to play the system so why bother.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby rabble » Wed May 22, 2013 12:57 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Proof is pretty damn hard and people are going to play the system so why bother.

It's one of those "feelgood" countermeasures that Sandi, Meade, and Bludgeon are complaining about on the energy and AGW threads. They seem to be fine with this one, though.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby dave esmond » Wed May 22, 2013 12:58 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Proof is pretty damn hard and people are going to play the system so why bother.


It also pisses me off that seemingly no one bothered to ask "So how would this work...exactly?"

Because it didn't take us long to figure out it's just gonna get gamed.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 22, 2013 1:04 pm

dave esmond wrote:It also pisses me off that seemingly no one bothered to ask "So how would this work...exactly?"


That's what I found when I looked into other states doing this. They have all these penalties for lying and none of them were enforced.

From a previous article:

Georgia’s surcharge started in 2005. From January 2007 to this January, the number of workers paying the fee dropped from 46,459 to 25,850, the spokeswoman said, suggesting the fee might have helped curb smoking rates.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/heal ... z2U2tp8qOn


Uh, I'm suggesting people just started lying because they found out they weren't enforcing the penalty.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed May 22, 2013 2:10 pm

dave esmond wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:I know on my brother's health insurance, you get a discount if you belong to a gym.


In which case you'd just need to provide a receipt. Which really isn't proof you're using the gym just that you want the discount.


I've never seen an insurance discount for a gym membership where they didn't track you actually going to the gym. Sucked for me our gym did not have a partnership with the insurance company. Alternatively we could get USB Heart monitors and report our workouts that way.

It makes sense from a business sense for employers to encourage healthier living but it does reek of big brother watching you when they do it through insurance. Not sure how else they could encourage it though.

I asked about the reduced cost for a making a good choice vrs an increased choice for a bad choice because I really don't see the diference (if you see chosing not to smoke as a good choice). Either they will set the rate higher and offer a discount for the good choice, or set the rate lower and add a fee for a bad choice.

Honestly thought I'm leaning more towards the "we don't care if you smoke, just don't do it on company time" theory since proving it any other time seems iffy at best. In which case it's actually a $50 a month fee to take several breaks during the work day, which doesn't really offend me.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Zoti Bemba » Wed May 22, 2013 2:11 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:They probably would have been smarter to raise the insurance premiums then offer a discount for non-smokers, but the effect is the same.


Unless the objective was to demonstrate that the Legislature can pass any dumb law they please and state workers can't do anything about it (except break the law, of course, proving that public sector employees really are the lying scum that Republican shills keep saying they are). Honestly trying to get responsible adults to voluntarily change their behavior requires first treating them with some respect. Can you imagine such an attitude from our current state leaders?

I notice that the public safety unions are losing most health care bargaining rights as well. Guess someone figures their political support is no longer needed. A dozen mining engineers are sufficient background for the State of the State address, it seems.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Meade » Wed May 22, 2013 2:36 pm

Zoti Bemba wrote:I notice that the public safety unions are losing most health care bargaining rights as well. Guess someone figures their political support is no longer needed. A dozen mining engineers are sufficient background for the State of the State address, it seems.

You noticed wrong. Read the article again.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby penquin » Wed May 22, 2013 4:57 pm

Meade wrote:Read the article again.


Which article are you refering to?

This one says that "Republicans included a provision in the 2011-2013 state budget that barred police and firefighter unions from having any say in the design of their health insurance plan" and that the courts have upheld that law, while this article states that the budget committee "Backed a provision to let public safety workers collectively bargain over their health insurance premiums but not other costs of their plan"

Can you please link to the article you read which states public safety unions in Wisconsin are allowed to collectively bargain in regards to most aspects of their health insurance plans?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby rabble » Wed May 22, 2013 5:25 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:I've never seen an insurance discount for a gym membership where they didn't track you actually going to the gym.

Dean. They'll give you $200 per household per calendar year if you mail or pdf them them a membership receipt for over 200. No other questions asked.

If the object is to encourage people to exercise, I don't see where forcing them to show gym usage helps. If the object is to pretend to encourage while increasing everybody's paperwork, then I can understand it.

Where's the advantage in purchasing a gym membership just to get the discount if you're not going to use the gym? You're still spending your own money.

We buy a yearly dual membership. Some months, like most of this winter when we were both recovering from falls, we don't go. Other months we use it more, others less. But it's there when we want it and with the discount it's cheap enough that we can afford to keep it available and not worry about it every month.
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby john_titor » Wed May 22, 2013 5:47 pm

gargantua wrote:If one is voluntarily engaging in behaviors that are likely to increase healthcare costs, why should those costs be spread among people who do not choose unhealthy lifestyles?


100 percent of the people with sports-related injuries got those playing sports. I have never blown out an ACL playing basketball or broke a leg snow-boarding or damaged my knees running.

Why do I have to pay for these people that make these risky lifestyle choices?
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Re: State Workers to be Charged for Smoking

Postby Meade » Wed May 22, 2013 6:15 pm

penquin wrote:Backed a provision to let public safety workers collectively bargain over their health insurance premiums but not other costs of their plan"

That's the one.

For the record, I'm opposed to this legislative proposal - the $50 smoker surcharge - even though $50 really isn't much, something less than 2% of the annual cost of smoking a pack a day for the typical Wisconsin smoker - $2900/yr. - which is about 5% of the median Wisconsin household income. Of course, that is gross income. After tax income is less than that. So a typical pack a day Wisconsin smoker is spending closer to 7 or 8% of his spendable income on cigs.
Last edited by Meade on Wed May 22, 2013 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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