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Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) offered an eyebrow-raising proposal during the review of health care legislation by the Energy and Commerce Committee, which he serves on.

As originally reported in Roll Call, here’s what he’s quoted as saying: “Someone who smokes, drinks, participates in bad conduct and behavior, unprotected sex, maybe bad things happen to them, maybe they should pay higher premiums ... That is a radical thought, isn’t it?”

It is a radical thought, but not the good kind. This kind of radical thinking is exactly what gets in the way of real solutions to real problems. Punishing people has never been a great motivator. Besides, how would this be enforced?

Prevention is the key to reducing health care costs. What would really be a radical thought is massive federal funding of programs nationwide to educate our society about safer sex and harm reduction.

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