I love beer ... and ice cream ... a lot.
And I don't go for the low fat ice cream. I want my ice cream to be crammed with tasty ingredients. There isn't a Ben & Jerry's flavor that I don't enjoy. The same with beer. No lite stuff for me. I want a beer that's a meal by itself. The microbrew explosion has been a boon for me.
Eating delicious ice cream and drinking a robust brew are delightful and pleasurable experiences. I make a conscious choice to eat ice cream and drink beer even though they are not necessarily the most healthy foods for me. My weight yo-yos constantly. Up in the winter and down during the cycling season in summer. 30 pound swings are not good. And yet I continue to eat my ice cream and drink my beer.
And if my blood pressure goes up there is a possibility that I might need to take a medication to bring it under control. So far it hasn't been necessary, but there could come a time when it might become more difficult to lose weight and I might need to take the medication so that I can continue to enjoy my beer and ice cream.
You may ask why I don't stop with these unhealthy choices. The simple answer: I don't want to. These are simple pleasures that make my life more enjoyable.
Now here is the interesting thing. Doctors and wellness experts may criticize me and advise me to change, but yet they will still prescribe the medication if I need it regardless. And my insurance will pay for it. If my lifestyle choices cause a stroke or heart attack, my insurance will cover my hospitalization, medicines and care.
And I am not the only one. A significant percentage of insurance payments are for people who need it due to life style choices. Smokers are covered. Problems due to obesity such as diabetes are covered. We have entire industries devoted to encouraging us to make poor health choices and when we make those poor choices we are covered by insurance.
Only when it comes to women's contraceptives does there seem to be a problem. Some folks are outraged that companies should pay for insurance policies that cover contraceptives. Some of those women might be using birth control because they enjoy sex but don't want to become pregnant.
Oh the horror.
Oh the hypocrisy.
Spare me the "outrage".
I have a proposal for those who feel that we shouldn't cover birth control because sex is a choice. My only desire is to make insurance coverage more fair and equitable. It is a simple proposal:
The only people whose blood pressure medication will be covered by insurance will be those who can prove that their high blood pressure is not due to life style choices.
Are you a smoker? Pay for your own medication.
Are you overweight? Too bad. You chose to enjoy that New Holland Oatmeal Stout. Pay for your own pills.
Is work stressing you out? You have choices to make. Find a less stressful job or pay for your own meds.
Once we have eliminated those folks from coverage, I am sure that there other areas of coverage that can be cut because they cover problems created by life-style choices. Perhaps we can require people who live in cities with high air pollution to pay for their own asthma medication. After all, they can move. It's their choice to live there. Why should I have to pay for it?
Onward and upward.