Arizona governor wants to create 'fat fee' for Medicaid

May 10, 2011

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants residents who are obese and smokers to pay a $50 fee to enroll in the state's Medicaid program.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants residents who are obese and smokers to pay a $50 fee to enroll in the state's Medicaid program.

If the fee is approved by the state legislature, it would be the first time the program has charged people for engaging in unhealthy behavior. The Wall Street Journal has dubbed the surcharge a "fat fee."

The fee would apply only to certain people without dependent children, including the obese and smokers. Obese people could avoid the fee by working with their primary care physicians on a weight loss plan, and smokers would have the option to quit.