Some pretty standard economic reasoning suggests it'd be efficient to allow health insurance companies to charge, say, a morbidly obese smoker a higher premium than a fit non-smoker. But that's against the law, right? Insurance companies seem to think so, yet Health and Human Services honcho Tommy Thompson and the agency's general counsel both say it's totally Hoyle. Are the insurers just massively, expensively confused? Is HHS unclear on the law? Either way, Radley Balko has the story.
Update: Reader Terry Dugan suggests that the problem is state-level regulations.