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It's the system that's in bad shape

August 03, 2007

Re "Workers are told to shape up or pay up," July 29

Charging out-of-shape workers is an inspired way to help bring health costs under control, but it doesn't go far enough. Why not have employees compete in a 5K run for coverage? Award health insurance to only the top finishers. Once we've eliminated fat people, we can take aim at vegans (that diet can't be healthy), bicyclists (a dangerous lifestyle choice, considering today's traffic) and women (they're always getting pregnant -- very expensive). These ideas are surefire cost-cutters.

In truth, this cruel and shortsighted scheme just reveals how desperately we need universal healthcare similar to that in every other civilized nation on Earth, for the simple reason that profit-driven insurance companies will not stop squeezing patients until they have eliminated anyone who might actually need a doctor.

Sure, go after the fatties. But remember: You're next.

Garrett Soden

Culver City

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Charging employees unless they meet weight, cholesterol and blood-pressure guidelines is an outrage. This approach persecutes individuals suffering from a chronic disease that should be treated with science, not economics.

Obesity is the epidemic of our generation. It is not the result of any singular trigger; it is the outcome of a series of systemic failures that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner.

We owe this to the victims of the obesity epidemic -- children, adolescents and minorities who bear the greatest portion of this burden.

Lisbeth K. Sinclair

Los Angeles

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This is dire news indeed for countless overworked, underpaid wage slaves. Consider that many such people are increasingly required to put in long hours working in an office cubicle. Additionally, because of time and budget constraints, they may well be subsisting on cheap, fatty foods.

It's a bit presumptuous to demand that such individuals be the robust picture of health.

Charles Hoffman

Van Nuys

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