A study published earlier this month in the International Journal of Obesity has found that our common wisdom about the relationship between obesity and the risk for cardiovascular disease is possibly overstated. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been considering rules that would, in effect, allow health insurers to charge obese people more for coverage if they fail to lose weight. This recent study strengthens the argument against the obesity penalty. But whether the risks of obesity are, or are not, overstated is the least of the issues raised by the EEOC considering allowing weight to determine insurance rates. Penalizing the obese for a medical condition and charging them more for medical coverage is contrary to two of the prime tenants of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): The coverage of preexisting conditions and access to all. But more than being contrary to ACA core values, it is contrary to American values by institutionalizing prejudice and blaming the victim.
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