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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Michael H. Shapiro
States are wrestling with how to treat smokers under the new health care law as they navigate the thorny issue of providing coverage for those who knowingly engage in harmful behavior and how much taxpayers should pay for those folks' choices.
And smoking is a voluntary action that "hugely increases risk on a large scale and is, arguably, justifiably focused on to the exclusion of other risks," said Michael H. Shapiro, a bioethics and constitutional law specialist at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
"Not all 'singling out' is unjust or unfair, and it is often just the opposite placing costs on those who create risks for others by unnecessarily increasing the costs of health care," he added.