There Are Many Purposes for Conditional Incentives to Accessing Healthcare; Comment on “Denial of Treatment to Obese Patients—the Wrong Policy on Personal Responsibility for Health”

Document Type : Commentary


Department of Social Science Health & Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK


This commentary is a brief response to Nir Eyal’s argument that health policies should not make healthy behaviour a condition or prerequisite in order to access healthcare as it could result in the people who need healthcare the most not being able to access healthcare. While in general agreement due to the shared concern for equity, I argue that making health behaviour a condition to accessing healthcare can serve to develop commitment to lifestyle changes, make the health intervention more successful, help appreciate the value of the resources being spent, and help reflect on the possible risks of the intervention. I also argue that exporting or importing the carrot and stick policies to other countries without a solid understanding of the fiscal and political context of the rise of such policies in the US can lead to perverse consequences.


Main Subjects

1. Eyal N. Denial of treatment to obese patients—the wrong policy on personal responsibility for health. International Journal of Health Policy and Management 2013; 1: 107–10. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2013.18
2. Greenwald AG, Carnot CG, Beach R, Young B. Increasing voting behavior by asking people if they expect to vote. J Appl Psychol 1987; 72: 315–8. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.72.2.315
3. Dubai offers gold in return for weight loss. BBC News [Homepage on the internet]. [updated 2013 July 19; cited 2013 August 20]; Available from