Interesting article on the BBC website today stating that a poll of more than 2,000 people by private health provider BUPA found 34% supported charges for treatment for people who smoke, drink or are obese.
Various quotes from medical bods said "There is clear evidence from this study to support the view that individuals feel they should be accountable for their own health and well-being." and "We have a health service that is free at the point of need, and you can't start changing the rules just because you don't like somebody's lifestyle."
This is an interesting point to debate - while I thoroughly agree that smokers and drinkers should pay more, not so sure about obese people, as their obesity can be caused by other factors apart from just a love of chocolate. If doctors could somehow prove that the obesity was caused by eating all the wrong food all the time, then yes - charge them more for the treatment.
Like these people on "You are what you eat" who openly admit to loving cakes, fry-ups, late-night bags of chips, and pizzas. "But they don't know any better, its how they were brought up", the do-gooders say - erm EVERYBODY KNOWS that eating fruit and veggies is better for you than a pizza! Supermarkets sell fruit and veg, bookshops and the internet provide information and recipes - it's up to YOU to make the choice. If you choose to eat crap and get fat then you should be billed for it when you need a hip replacement or your arteries de-clogged.
Other people would argue about the drinkers, and say that alcoholism is a "disease" and can be caused by other factors like a hard life, abuse etc etc. But if that person was proven to have failed in numerous alcoholic treatment clinics etc, then what - do you charge them? Or would people say "it's not easy to stay on the wagon so not fair to charge those who keep falling off it". A good example is George Best, still drinking on his new liver and now costing the health service £££ to try and keep him alive as his whole body shuts down.
Smokers however have no excuse. Smoking isn't triggered by a hard life or abuse, you choose to buy those packs, you choose to inhale smoke and carbon monoxide into your healthy lungs turning them black and sticky, and costing the NHS billions when you get older and start coughing your guts up.
The NHS has been crippled for years now and it will only get worse in our culture of fast food, sugary crap, chemical processed junk, and lazy people who can't be arsed to cook. We can't carry on supporting these people, we will HAVE to charge, there is no alternative.
Or maybe these people will know that ultimately we as a nation would never leave someone to die in the gutter just because they can't pay for their medical treatment, so they will go on abusing themselves safe in the knowledge that the State MUST pick up the tab. So then what - do we reposess cars and houses? Introduce complex repayment schemes that require layers of bureacracy? Raid the kids Uni funds to pay for dad's 50 a day habit consequences? Then do we have to deal with someone sueing the State because they are homeless thanks to the NHS reposessing their bungalow to pay for Auntie Joan's liver transplant??