Should People Be Paid to Stay Healthy?Rising healthcare costs and increasing rates of chronic illness threaten the future of the U.S. healthcare system. In fact, the average cost of employee health care makes up 7.6% of a company’s annual operating budget, and its only going up. As health care costs rise, an increasing number of employers are using financial bonuses or penalties to promote healthy behavior and reduce healthcare expenses. Many employers offer financial incentives that range from cash payments to discounts on health insurance premiums. Some corporations such as Dell and Clarian Health are directly punishing or rewarding employees behavior for changing unhealthy behavior.Early reports indicate that direct financial incentives can effectively motivate employees to change their behavior, but employers are facing backlash from people who claim this to be highly unethical. I completely agree. In fact, I think that these programs should be completely abolished. The primary principle supporting employers use of penalty programs is that employees should be held responsible if, through their voluntary actions, they harm fellow employees. Given that costs are shared, an unhealthy employee will drive up costs for others who are contributing to the collective pool. The impact of unhealthy behavior and its attendant outcomes is significant: health care costs for “moderately” obese workers are about 21 percent higher than they are for normal weight workers, costing employees an additional $670 per employee each year. Similarly, health care costs are 75 percent higher for “severely” obese worker (an additional $2,441 annually). Studies found that paying people with cash rewards made them more motivated to lose weight, but punishes the people who don’t have the economic means to go to the gym and work out a lot or buy healthier food. This creates an even bigger gap between people who are being rewarded by staying healthy and people who aren’t because they already don’t have the means to get healthier.Providing bonuses for the healthy can penalize those who aren’t or can’t. Workers might struggle with staying healthy, but not for a lack of trying. And that is unfair to the worker, especially if they cant control their health problem. Diseases or problems that are genetic or hereditary, such as birth defects, sickle cell anemia, or muscular dystrophy, can make the person unable to “stay healthy.” These programs cannot benefit everyone – and it can only hurt those who can’t benefit from it. People do not voluntarily choose their health outcomes – poor personal health is not a simple product of informed voluntary choices. Biological, economic, and socioeconomic factors greatly affect health, regardless of how the person behaves.Another ethical criticism for penalty programs is the exclusion of penalties for “unhealthy” types of behavior that society acknowledges to be fundamental elements of personal freedom and identity. Holding employees responsible for any type of behavior that would increase health care costs would undermine the liberty of choosing for oneself how to live one’s life. For example, penalties should not be considered for behavior such as child bearing, or most recreational activities and sports, even driving. Although these behaviors might increase risks of health care costs, they are still widely regarded as critical components of free choice, personal identity, and self-expression.Some federal officials insist that the rewards and penalties can be used in an ethical way and that those employees for whom it is “unreasonably difficult or medically inadvisable” should be exempt from penalties. However, holding employees responsible for their health behavior is potentially unfair and that employers have no business prying into their employees private lives.In conclusion, even as health care costs rise, these programs that some corporations and companies have turned to should be completely rescinded, as they are unfair and unethical. I’ll let Lewis Maltby, the president of the National Workrights Institution, say it, because he’ll do a better job than I could. “You are supposed to be paid on the basis of how you do your job, not how often you go to the gym or how many cheeseburgers you eat.”Works Cited—. “Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits.” New York Times, 9 May 2009. Google Scholar, www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/health/policy/10health.html. Accessed 8 Nov. 2017. Pearson, Steven D., and Sarah Lieber. “Financial Penalties for the Unhealthy? Ethical Guidelines for Holding Employees Responsible for Their Health.” Health Affairs. Google scholar, www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/ hlthaff.28.3.845. Accessed 8 Nov. 2017.Dieleman, Joseph L. US Spending on Personal Health Care and Public Health, 1996-2013. PhD dissertation. Google Scholar, jamanetwork.com/journals/ jama/fullarticle/2594716. Accessed 6 Nov. 2017.D.M. Huse , “Obesity in the Workforce: Health Effects and Healthcare Costs,” April 2007, http://employer.thomsonhealthcare.com/uploadedFiles/Cost_of_Obesity_in_the%20Workplace.pdf.