We were talking at work the other day about how after a Patriots night game (aka kickoff after 4pm) it’s hard to get into work the next day.  To paint the picture, a 4:15 game ends at 7:45, back to the tailgate by 8:00.  Grills on, eat supper and watch the night game until traffic calms down (usually halftime).  Pack up and hit the road around 9:30-10 which means pulling into the driveway at 11:30 after you drop off the crew.  Lets not talk about the 8:30 game, too painful.  The question came up: On Monday why can’t you call in sick for a hangover?

It seems so obvious: duh Slappy, you are hungover because you drank too much, it’s your own damn fault and was totally avoidable.  Response: I feel sick as a dog, should it matter WHY and HOW I got to be feeling this way?

Not that I advocate this kind of behavior but the guy has a point.  We work with another knucklehead who smokes like a chimney.  He is away from his desk at least 45 minutes to an hour each day walking downstairs and outside to smoke his cigarettes.  Inevitably, he is going to get sick more than us.  So since he makes a choice to pollute his body and create a situation that increases the likelihood of illness, should we not also question those sick days?  And if you don’t, why do you draw the line at a self-induced hangover?  Would a skiing accident or falling off the ladder of your house be any different (both avoidable)?

I know what you are thinking, this sounds like some adolescent excuse to drink and not go to work, but I think the issue merits discussion about the notion of healthcare and personal responsibility.  Last week Justice Scalia asked why you can’t make people purchase broccoli because it makes them healthier.  The corollary= Should we grant you sick status even when you haven’t taken reasonable steps to keep yourself healthy?

Side note: I predict that Justice Ginsburg will pen the decision (inc Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer) upholding the individual mandate (invalidates the need to rule on separability)with Justice Roberts writing a separate concurring opinion that very narrowly defines the conditions for a 5:4 majority.  It will be her last opinion and she will retire giving Obama one last appointment before the SC term starts in October.  The Senate confirmation will be SO contentious that America will get fed up with Republicans and Obama will get re-elected.

I’d like to see some more conversations about personal responsibility in healthcare.  I know I seem cruel, but fat people should pay more for insurance.  As an adrenaline junky, I should too (offset partially by my regular exercise and diet).  I admitted that I was once diagnosed with asthma and had to pay a higher life insurance premium (I think it is just allergies).  I am at about 10% bodyfat and can run a half marathon in 1:45 but I am a higher risk than a couch potato eating MCDs all day but doesn’t have asthma?  Please.

If we say that personal responsibility has no effect on your risk profile for health insurance then how can we say that personal irresponsibility is not a valid excuse for using your sick days when you actually feel sick?  Yeah I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but I can’t stand the inconsistency with this stuff.  If you believe in a theoretical course of action, then you should follow it through wherever it applies.  If nothing else, it should force people to think through their positions a little more thoroughly rather than just blindly listening to Limbaugh, O’Reilley, Maddow or Maher.

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
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1 Response to Sam = BRILLIANT

  1. DOBOP says:

    I do enjoy reading your posts, this one seem to meander over several areas (started to sound like Ira), but I thought you would appreciate a response. First of all as an employer, if one of my employees wanted to play hard and knowingly miss the next day, it would not be a sick day, I would suggest that they plan for the event and proactively take a vacation day and allow the workplace to proceed without them. segueing into healthcare was a stretch, but I agree, I also think that people that don’t take care of themselves should pay more. measuring and determining how much will take more than an actuarial and a cultural expert. I also saw that Holder had to backtrack on what Potus said in challenging and trying to intimidate the SCOTUS. The 5th court did some great ground work for the Judicial side. I disagree with your prediction on Ginsburg, I do think she will retire, but I don’t think it will affect the election.

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