'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Millions of smokers could be priced out of health insurance because of tobacco penalties in President Barack Obama's health care law, according to experts who are just now teasing out the potential impact of a little-noted provision in the massive legislation.
They're young, healthy and flat broke _ and now the government says they have to buy thousands of dollars' worth of medical insurance. What should tapped-out twentysomethings do?
Several provisions in the federal health care law work together to leave older smokers with a bleak set of financial options, said Pollitz, formerly deputy director of the Office of Consumer Support in the federal Health and Human Services Department.
"If you are an insurer and there is a group of smokers you don't want in your pool, the ones you really don't want are the ones who have been smoking for 20 or 30 years," said Karen Pollitz, an expert on individual health insurance markets with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "You would have the flexibility to discourage them."