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Lose weight, quit smoking or lose Medicaid benefits?

by Dara Kam | February 16th, 2011

Sen. Joe Negron wants fat Floridians and smokers to get healthy or else.

Included in Negron’s revamp of the state-federal Medicaid program – which Negron will release tomorrow – is a component aimed at what senators are calling “personal responsibility.”

Sen. Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who helped craft Negron’s bill, said Medicaid patients have to take control of their health care just as he had to do when his doctor told him to lose weight.

“We’re saying that an individual who’s been diagnosed as morbidly obese needs to be on a medically-directed program of weight loss to manage that health care problem that could turn into an increased taxpayer liability. The same thing with smokers,” Gaetz said.

The bill would require smokers and alcoholics and drug addicts to get treatment, Gaetz said.

Negron said his bill would include incentives for Medicaid patients to lose weight, quit smoking and stop drinking but did not give details about what they would be.

If they don’t get thinner and put down the smokes, Negron said their coverage could be cut off.

“It’s possible,” Negron, R-Stuart, said.

He said the Medicaid program currently includes a seldom-used provision that would allow the state to boot patients out.

“If you are non-compliant with your appointments, if you reject medical advice, there is a system in place under current law, which is rarely used but it has been used, …where someone would no longer receive services,” Negron said.

Healthier Medicaid patients will save the state money, Gaetz and Negron said.

“They not only compromise the quality of that person’s life they compromise the efficacy of any medical care that might be rendered but they drive up costs that are then shifted to the friends and neighbors who are actually paying the health care bill for the individual who is smoking,” Gaetz said.

The system can no longer tolerate someone “who is an alcoholic and wants to offload the medical consequences of alcoholism to the taxpayers of Florida,” Gaetz said.

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38 Responses to “Lose weight, quit smoking or lose Medicaid benefits?”

  1. Ray Barboni Says:

    If your are obese you should be baker acted and put into a fat insane asylum. Until you lose your fatness.

    Same if you are a democrat or republican you should be locked up in an insane asylum.


    he should be lockup .he not ln his right mine

  3. Not a bad idea Says:

    There can be other factors involved with obesity other than poor diet and laziness so I think more thought needs to go into that, but I think it’s a great idea as far as smoking goes. As for alcohol you should be given rehab once, if you don’t get it under control then…. you’re out too. People need to be held accountable for their own actions.

  4. No mo' blacks Says:

    I thought it was mandatory that hospitals MUST treat people who come to the ER. So fat, smoking, drunk patients in need of medical help are sent outside to die on the sidewalk? How is this threat supposed to work?

  5. throbo Says:

    He is on the right track but forced treatment is a waste of $$. Jacking up there rates is easier and more motivating.

  6. NotSoNice Says:

    Funny a Senator from Niceville that help create the bill I guess he is not so nice. Plus it would be nice to see if there are pictures of Negron or Gaetz smoke. If they do maybe they should lose their insurance benefits.

  7. Rich R Says:

    Ok, I’ve heard it all now. This is insane.

    Now, government wants to tell you want you can and can’t do.

    Last week it was the governer wanting to slash unemployment benefits and make it harder to get.

    I have a better idea to save money.

    Let’s say that if a politician makes promises during the campaign and does not perform after they’re elected, we all should just stop paying taxes to FORCE them to comply.

    After all, they want to FORCE us to do what they want us to do but at the same time they lie, cheat and steal from us.

    How many florida politicians are in prison right now?

    Only in Florida would you expect this. I guess that’s why Florida now has a reputation as being the “Cesspool by the Sea”.


    Grew up in florida and left in ’05 and never looked back. FL used to be such a nice place. But back then, people in Florida spoke english.

  8. Brotha Brotha Says:

    I can’t believe this negron, wassup with that?

  9. Tom Says:

    As far as I am concerned they can stick the benefits up there a s s. I will do what ever I dam please and still go to a hospital if I want to go.

  10. Richard Cranium Says:

    This guy is the perfect “head” of this penis shaped state. He should really go back to Universal Studios and re-join the Blueman Group. What a freak. And to the 2 million plus that voted for him, I guess the old saying “The Masses are Asses” is true here.

  11. nemo Says:

    While his idea is good in theory, it can also be done by raising the insurance rates of the “morbidly obese”, although I don’t know if those people are covered by insurance.

    If someone is “morbidly obese”, smokes to acess then they also have other health problems. Sounds as if the action proposed by this guy are too little, too late.

    I can understand his point because he’s attempting to force people do do something that is “good” for them. Other posters say this govt. does not have the right to force good health onto someone. Perhaps they are correct, but on the other hand why should the public pay for a lifetime of poor choises. There must be, or let’s say, I hope there is some type of middle ground.

  12. vindicated Says:

    Rich R (#7) hit the nail on the head. If these pols fail to make good on all their campaign promises, they should not be paid. If they happen to get re-elected and do it again, they go to jail. That would make them think twice before running their yaps!

  13. Bito Says:

    To no mo blacks, this is what is called the death panels, to Negron, Do you remember who came up with that accusation about the dem`s??? You repubicans are pretty sick, now we have some MORON in montana who is fixing to loose to a dem, saying that a certificate of live birth does not qualify you to be president, the guy was born in MONTANA, that is what they give you there, talk about insanity…

  14. Dawn Ortiz Says:

    How about adding, if you have more than 3 kids you can’t obtain benefits. If the parents are illegal they can’t get benefits. If they buy a new vehicle they can’t get benefits. Let’s start investigating these people, visit their homes and see that they do not need benefits they are only scamming the taxpayers. I would rather pay to have the investigation than continue to pay for people that do not need benefits or do not deserve them.

  15. Oreally Says:

    Posters on the internet never cease to amaze me. Reading comprehension doesn’t seem to be a strong point with some of you. Rather a knee jerk commentary with no thought appears to be the order of the day.
    Nothing in the article said anything about denying emergency services.
    It appears that some of you feel that the other tax layers owe you something no matter how you act. Its to bad you can’t criminalize irresponsibility but our state can definitely offset costs in other ways. Make people work for it. If you get a check or some assistance services from the government then you should have to work it off. Mowing lawns picking up trash whatever. Who says anyone deserves a free ride.
    Some of you are the same rabble who complain when government limits what you can spend your welfare checks on.

  16. Kevin Says:

    This should not be a problem since they are also cutting off their food stamps. The bottom line is if you are unemployed, incapacitated, a single parent, a veteran, undereducated, over educated, overweight, underweight, cigarette smoker, non Christian, illegal drug user, ex con, black, brown, yellow, or work for the government in any capacity the Republican party would like for you to die. If you don’t do it fast enough they will help you out with their policies. Florida Republicans are equal opportunity haters.

  17. PBC Resident Says:

    I actually spoke kindly of Negron when I heard he wanted to abolish fishing licenses. This medicaid idea is nuts. It’s none of governments business if one chooses to smoke or become fat. Many who are obese and smoke and have perfect health.

    Yeah, I get the part about taxpayers picking up the tab. The solution however is to abolish medicaid altogether. Let these people find a way to be responsible for their own health.

    It’s scary when we start penalizing people for lifestyle choices. Keep liberty and government separate. Don’t provide social services nor try and engineer society….

  18. Bito Says:

    To Oreally, the fool here is you, the comment about the emergency services was hypothetical, but it could become reality under these nutcases, it doesnt matter to me either way, I am a VET, and he can not take away my benefits, about working for unemployment, we paid in to it for years incase this would happened, thank GW for putting us in this situation, and the ones that voted for him, you people need to stop voting for the party and listen to the meaning of what they are saying, they just dont make any sense….

  19. sanctified digits Says:

    Is Obama still smoking?

  20. mike Says:

    Now are these Elected Politicians against the “mandate” included in Obamacare?

    If so,the hippocracy is there for everyone to see.

    This nation pays 700 Billion dollars in “invisible foreign aid” by being the only large major industrialized nation on earth that place price controls on big Pharma or the Medical device makers.

    It’s like everyone else in your condo making deals on their maintenance with the condo board except you leaving you as the only one who gets the “assessment”.

  21. PBC Resident Says:

    It just shows how hypocritical these politicians are. I’m sure Negron was aginst Obama’s health care bill. But, Negron is using the same excuses for his bill.

    Negron is saying that citizens bad health is costing us money. That we can reduce our deficit by forcing citizens to do certain things. That’s Obama logic. Negron just endorsed him.

    Negron is saying, “We are paying for those on medicaid. They should be responsible”. How is that any different than Obama wanting to force us all to have insurance so we can “be responsible” and pay a penalty if not so others don’t “pick up our tab”? It’s the same absurd line of logic.

    You don’t fix government errors by dumb laws like this. You fix it by never allowing things like socialized healthcare/social security to ever happen.

    Negron and Obama BOTH need to stay OUT OF MY LIFE!!!!!

  22. TED Says:

    that would mean only the rich will be able to be obese selfish pigs…

    doesn’t sound like a lot will change

  23. Brian O'Donaghy Says:

    What’s wrong with this picture? I thought his political party was against overly controlling government dictating how citizens should go about their personal lives.

  24. mike Says:

    Correction to post 20

    “that doesn’t place price controls”

  25. larry Says:


  26. cj Says:

    I can see the point of this. If you smoke you are spending $5 per pack and if you are obese you are spending lots of money on food. If you can afford either of these two things than maybe you do not need public assistance. Also anyone with drug/alcohol issues should be taken off public assistance.

  27. mike Says:

    Typial right wing tactic. Go after the user. How about going after the huge businesses that supply and promote tobacco and junk foods. They (t-gopers) dont want government telling big business what to do, but they sure want to tell individuals what to do. Hypocites! Just like the whack job out west that wants to create a loophole for killing abortion docs. These people make me sick. We need to vote their a$$es out.

  28. SheliaJoy Says:

    This year Florida will be known as the state with DUMB IDEAS! If the people cut from medicade receive no medical treatment then your hospitals will fill the pain.

    Second this coming from the govenor (lower case on purpose) who did not want a pill registry because he did not want “big brother” watching. So the citizens can find all the prescription drugs to take but food intake will be looked at.

    This adminstration is tooo funny.

    Make this thief a one term govenor.

  29. vindicated Says:

    Hey Larry (#25), What the hell is a “FEEN”…and do they smoke a lot??

  30. caisonbobby Says:

    I have read somewhere on the news that something like “Wise Health Insurance” is offering lowest health insurance rate for low and middle income families so search online and find them.

  31. Clint Says:

    In the first place Sen. Negron has a point but his way is too drastic, it’s like ironclad hand. If only he can think of “democratic” way of disciplining his people maybe he can gain votes for that.

  32. vindicated Says:

    What Negron is proposing is the republican version of “death panels”… the government deciding who does and who does not receive health care!!!!!

  33. Kathryn Conard Says:

    As a smoker, I want my MONEY back. I pay health insurance, and I pay into Medicare/Medicaid. Looks like my money is dirty, so I guess you don’t want or need it. I want every dime returned that I have paid over the past 40 years because I absolutely refuse to pay one dime to care for the NAZIS that demand such policies. GIVE ME MY MONEY!

  34. Kevin Says:

    This concept of “preventative medicine” is nothing new. Hitler was nominated to Nobel for his identical Healthist game plan. It is a way of destroying community confidence from within. “The fifth column”, by sponsoring hatred and bigotry among an eventually severely divided community.

    If you buy into the plan, you give up your own rights to self autonomy and declare yourself too immature to make decisions on your own,in the governance of your own body. Leaving those rightful choices for your betters to dictate. Basking in the ultimate bubble wrapped protections of “the precautionary principle”, while a paternalist government dutifully protects the helpless children of all ages. Irrespective of the fact that saw the current aging population, already surpass the most healthy and long living generation that ever walked this planet.

    In the end your servants become your over paid masters. If you extend the lives of the elderly among an aging population, negating their right to ever retire, in hopes that they can produce more earned wages and consequently more income taxes. Cost savings is a myth. If you suceede in reducingh one death this year it will re-emerge next year because there is no escaping the inevitable.

    The many hateful slams against the elderly and the innocent by wide brush in this forum, are more than obviously the paid stooges of whom ever is paying to promote this latest stoke of insanity. Because people are naturally protective of each other, unless we are to believe that so many sociopaths came here to play at the same moment.

    The proposal is one of pure hatred and well deserving attachment to the Nazi mindset that inspired it.

    Try to remember the names at election time, get off the couch and vote, before this kind of worthless scum and his paid stooges, actually find a route to legitimate power, over you and yours.

  35. jsidney Says:

    Why doesn’t Sen. Negron propose a bill to crop dust the state of Florida with Champix and eliminate the smoking population altogether?

    All the smokers who don’t go crazy and shoot themselves will quit smoking. Billions in healthcare costs saved!

  36. Magnetic Says:

    The denormalization/stigmatization of smoking/smokers and indoor and outdoor smoking bans was planned in the mid-1970s (see the Godber Blueprint ), years before even the first study on secondhand smoke. It continues the eugenics antismoking tradition of early-1900s USA and Nazi Germany. Much of the “evidence” since the 1970s has been tailored to fit the agenda. Many medically-aligned groups (e.g., Office of the Surgeon General) were already committed to a “smokefree world” by the 1970s. It is the medically-aligned that are venturing – again – into social engineering just as they catastrophically did in American eugenics (early 1900s) and Nazi eugenics (which was an extension of American eugenics). Eugenics, with an unhealthy definition of “health” is a demonstrably dangerous, fascist framework where medicos and their hangers-on attempt to rule society.

  37. Chuck Says:

    When the government starts excluding people from a system they’ve paid into in good faith(and often against their will) for their whole lives, based purely on saving money (with a little puritanical disapproval thrown in) then we have big trouble. By that logic, we should realistically consider denying services to healthy people, those self-absorbed lowlifes who take good care of themselves their entire lives, because we end up paying more for them as they collect social security benefits for 35 years at the end of their lives. The logic that denies benefits to smokers, the obese and various other people because they selfishly indulge, can also be leveled at the healthy for selfishly extending their own lives and costing the system so much more. Government is becoming a con game. Rake in as much money as possible and then find whatever reason possible for not awarding any benefits for citizen investment. Negron is like most politicians: an amoral, opportunistic parasite.

  38. Kevin Says:

    The entire Medical Mafia should be held to account for this backdoor and highly unethical promotion. Singing the praises of medical bigotry [preventative medicine], while making it a mandatory condition of employment, to divulge what should be protected information, through medically inspired and endorsed insurance company mandates; that the employer do what the filthy rich medical industry, can not by law divulge directly. Distributing personal medical information, pertaining to their own employees by threat of policy cancellation; to subsequently be used openly by the “protection” racketeers, to gain higher insurance premiums directly. The Corporate world [and medical institutions described herein] are now being forced to divulge those personal aspects of someones medical condition[smoker, drinker, obese, cancer patient, heart attack risk etc], thereby committing a heinous and unjustifiable human rights abuse in the process.

    And no regrets?

    Is there a Lawyer or twenty who are interested in the ultimate in early retirement plans, in the house?

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