What is Fair?

Happy Hospitalist says, “Life isn’t fair,” then argues that he want things to be fair for himself.  Because he chooses to live a healthy lifestyle and has had good luck with his health, he wants to be rewarded monetarily.  Why?  Because it’s fair to reward people for healthy lifestyle choices.

And it’s not fair for Happy to pay a higher insurance premium when he’s not likely to reap the benefits.

If life were fair, when Joe down the street smokes like a chimney and is going to cost the insurance company extra money, then Joe would have to pay more for his insurance and Happy wouldn’t be saddled with the expense of paying for people who’ve made unhealthy choices.  That’s what Happy wants, because that’s what would be fair.

If, however, you make healthy choices, but get hit with bad luck anyway, you no longer qualify for Happy’s lifestyle reward because life’s not fair.

Am I the only one who sees the irony here?

You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t ask for fairness when it benefits you, then say there is no such thing when it doesn’t.


See the post (and my lengthy comments) at Is Lifestyle Insurance a Solution to Healthcare Finance?

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One thought on “What is Fair?

  1. It gets worse! His blog was re-posted with the title, Should Personal Responsibility Be Rewarded With Lower Insurance Premiums? at Better Health. You miss out on all the comments there, though.

    What’s so funny is that I don’t disagree with insurance rates being lower for those who choose to lower their risk factors. What I take exception to is the reasoning. He is simultaneously saying, “be fair” and “life isn’t fair.” Valid arguments require internal consistency (among other things).

    I think the general idea has a lot of merit, although it would be a lot more palatable if different terminology were used. Charge everyone the same, then offer a healthy-lifestyles discount. Where we differ is in our compassion. I couldn’t charge people more money just because they get sick and can’t exercise due to their illness. Happy appears to have no problem with that.

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