Blogger and diabetes advocate Allison Blass responds to an Arizona state initiative that seeks to fine “unhealthy” citizens.

There are so many problems with this initiative that it’s hard to know where to start, but consider… why is it OK for the rich Arizonians to remain fat?! If it were so important for the state to use punishment to motivate behavior change, why wouldn’t they charge the wealthy-unhealthy proportionately?

I agree with Allison that this “fee’ is punitive but I already know that this not about improving the health of anyone. It’s about money.

A spokesperson for Arizona’s Medicaid, Monica Coury, says “We want to stretch our dollars as far as we can. Part of that is engaging people to take better care of themselves.”

This seems a lot like earlier misguided initiatives to tax products like soda and pizza.  It is more about providing additional revenue to a cash strapped state than about improving the health of Arizonans.  State governments tried taxing cigarettes out of existence and people  just kept smoking.  States got used to the tax revenue.  I mean, if taxing cigarettes was really about public health, why couldn’t the government just make the sale of tobacco illegal?

Maybe instead of cutting gym class at schools or making fast food so appealing to children (Happy Meal toys anyone?), Arizona should cough up money for Weight Watchers programs and diabetes education, to name a few.

Exactly!