From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013, 3:01 AM
Penn Medicine’s decision to hire only nonsmokers starting July 1 is part of a slow-moving trend that goes back decades and that is still controversial even among public health workers, who often see tobacco as enemy No. 1.
“I’d be much more enthusiastic about them providing programs” – which Penn also does – “to help employees stop smoking,” said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, who was asked about the decision Wednesday during a visit to The Inquirer.
Some large national companies, such as Turner Broadcasting, stopped hiring smokers in the 1980s. Twenty-nine states, including New Jersey, outlawed the practice as discriminatory. As a result, the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s new policy will apply only in Pennsylvania.
Hospital systems, citing their mission of caring for patients and serving as community leaders as well as a need to save money on employee health insurance, have taken the lead with various tobacco policies in recent years. Smoking is now prohibited on all hospital campuses in South Jersey and on most in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Cleveland Clinic was among the first to stop hiring smokers. Among the large systems that followed were Baylor and the Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania.
More at the link; yesterday’s Inquirer article announcing the University’s policy is here. The article continues to note that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which both requires health insurance companies to accept applicants with pre-existing conditions and bars the companies for charging such applicants higher premiums, makes a specific exemption when it comes to tobacco users: though the insurance companies must still accept them, they mat charge tobacco users higher rates, up to 50% higher.
It seems that the Inquirer is finally catching up to what THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL has told you a while ago, as we did on the old site, and back in 2005 on the Intellectual Conservative.
Nor is it just smokers who are going to feel the controlling hand of others; The New York Times noted:
The head of the Cleveland Clinic was both praised and criticized when he mused in an interview two years ago that, were it not illegal, he would expand the hospital policy to refuse employment to obese people.
One wonders if he would have said the same about “transgendered” people, people he knew would require significant amounts of time off for medical treatment and their eventual “gender reassignment” surgery. After all, he would know that such people would cost the Cleveland Clinic significant amounts in lost time and production, and in medical expenses, while smokers and the overweight just might wind up costing the Clinic more money.