sexual politics

How to Make Health Care Affordable: Tax Barebackers


Indiana State Rep. Steve Buyer (not pictured) has a brilliant idea to keep down the costs of health care: Raise the insurance premiums on anyone having sex without a condom!

Yes, Mr. Buyer is sort of crazypants. But also, we sort of love this idea!

Sure, it could be argued it’s aimed squarely at gays who are doing all that barebacking, and yes, we might have to get a waiver for a certain Oscar-winning screenwriter, but Buyer’s plan isn’t just about un-safe sex. He also wants to raise premiums for other types of risky activity, like smoking, never exercising, or folks who made more than one trip to the McDonald’s drive-thru per day. (Okay, we made that last one up.)

Perhaps you’ve heard: Health care is expensive! But, the common wisdom goes, we want to provide it to as many people as possible. So why not make it more affordable for all by effectively taxing those who voluntarily put their health at risk?

Even if it’s a decent idea in theory, it’s all but impossible to enforce. You could test folks for nicotine levels in their blood to see if they’re smokers, and then raise their premiums, but unless your bedroom activities are being uploaded to the Internet, how will officials know you’re Dustin Lance Black-ing it?