Health Care

Arizona Gov. Proposes Medicaid Fat Fee

Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer is bringing new meaning to the term “health-care rationing.” Brewer proposes levying a $50 fee on obese Medicaid enrollees who don't follow their doctor's weight-loss plan. The proposal would also charge smokers $50. "If you want to smoke, go for it," said Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program. "But understand you're going to have to contribute something for the cost of the care of your smoking." If approved, the fee would be the first time Medicaid has charged people for behavior deemed unhealthy. The proposal is intended to get enough money for the state's cash-starved program to allow it to resume coverage of organ transplants, which Arizona limited last year. In Arizona, 25.5 percent of residents were obese as of 2009, and 46 percent of Medicaid enrollees smoked daily in 2006.