Medicaid patients who are overweight, smoke or have diabetes to pay?

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PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's cash-strapped Medicaid program is considering charging patients $50 a year if they smoke, have diabetes or are overweight.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System says the tax is intended to push patients to take better care of themselves. Monica Coury says the plan tries to stretch dollars and get people to take better care of themselves.

The fee would only apply to childless adults.

One part of the proposal affects people with diabetes. Coury says diabetes patients who fail to follow their doctor's orders to lose weight would be subjected to the $50 charge.

State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix says it isn't fair to charge diabetics $50. Sinema says the fee fines people who may have medical conditions beyond their control.

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