Want To Lose Weight? Talk To Obama

The White House’s healthcare proposals sent to Capitol Hill include ideas about giving employers tax credits for encouraging a healthy lifestyle, but there are some legal, not to mention political, stumbling blocks before these proposals can become law.

Employers would get tax credits for offering periodic health screenings, health counseling, obesity treatments, and smoking cessation programs, reports HRMorning. Employers could then use the money saved from the tax credits to offer financial incentives to employees to get healthy, which would lower their healthcare costs.

However, “under current laws and tax codes, employers who want to offer greater [than 20 percent] rewards [to employees that quit smoking or lose weight] can’t do so. The Administration and Congress are looking at loosening those rules and letting employers decide the limits of the rewards.” And besides, the issue of whether it’s discriminatory to charge overweight people higher insurance premiums is still being decided.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee is looking at making health insurance benefits taxable, similar to what Sen. John McCain proposed during the presidential debates. Yikes.