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Arizona proposes Medicaid fat fee

Arizona's governor on Thursday proposed levying a $50 fee on some enrollees in the state's cash-starved Medicaid program, including obese people who don?t follow a doctor-supervised slimming regimen and smokers. The plan, if approved by the Republican-dominated legislature, would mark the first time the state-federal healthcare program for the poor has charged people for engaging in behavior deemed unhealthy. Some companies have insurance surcharges for employees who smoke, but they aren?t a staple of government-administered health programs. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer proposed the idea as part of a broader plan to raise money that would allow the state to offset recent cuts she engineered to its Medicaid program. If ratified, the measure would revive coverage of organ transplants, which Arizona limited last year as a way to save money. It would also reduce the number of childless adults disqualified from Medicaid to 135,000, compared with the original proposal of 250,000.

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