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Americans support higher insurance for smokers, say obesity is OK

Staff Writer |
Many more Americans say insurers would be justified in setting higher health insurance rates for smokers (59%) than for those who are significantly overweight (37%).

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That gap has been evident each time Gallup has asked these questions.

These latest data were collected July 5-9 as part of Gallup's annual Consumption Habits poll.

Slightly fewer U.S. adults endorse higher rates for these individuals now than when Gallup first asked the question - in 2003, 65% said higher rates for smokers would be justified and 43% felt the same about significantly overweight individuals.

Much of the decline in perceptions that higher rates for smokers are justified has been along political lines.

While Republicans and independents hold similar views now to what they did in 2003, Democrats have become significantly less likely to find this justifiable - dropping from 64% in 2003 to 55% today.

Similar to views on insurance rates for smokers, Democrats have become less likely to say higher insurance rates for the significantly overweight are justified since 2003 - 42% then compared with 27% today.

Meanwhile, there has been no meaningful change among Republicans and independents.

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