Paying for Healthcare
New taxes are not really appealing to Republicans, but the government must somehow figure out ways to cover the increasing costs of healthcare, both within the government’s budget and in the country. The number one contributor to healthcare costs in this country is obesity. People eat too much.
We already tax cigarettes and alcohol, two other major contributors to health problems, and perhaps we can do more in that area, but dealing with obesity has to be a new focus.
The idea is basic. Those who drive healthcare costs up, pay more for it. Insurance companies have recognized this for years.
What if we imposed a tax on the calorie content of foods as they pass from the distributor/wholesaler to the final retailer? At first the tax would be relatively low, but would be enough to make sugared sodas more expensive than diet soda. High calorie snacks and candy would increase in price as well. If people just begin to think twice about buying junk food, that will begin to help.
Each year the percentage tax increases in an amount announced in advance. This will allow food producers to figure out ways to reduce the calories in their products before the higher tax goes into effect. The result will be that, due to American genius, people will get the same things they’ve always gotten for around the same price, the tax will bring in about the same amount each year, and calorie intake by Americans will decrease. As a result, obesity should decrease. Perhaps, if people aren’t so overweight, they might just get a bit more exercise, but we all know we can never make people get off their butts if they don’t want to.
Rates of illnesses effected by high calorie intake, like diabetes, should improve. Healthcare needs should go down, improving overall costs of care. Add in higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol, perhaps eventually a similar graduated tax addressing the elimination of or increase in other healthcare drivers, and over time the US will become a healthier population, eating tasty, healthier food, that can still be “junk-like.”
It would be easy to put in place and administer. All products now must include calorie counts on the label. Vegetables have low calorie counts naturally, and so will remain comparatively inexpensive. Fruits and vegetables could be exempted entirely, fresh, frozen and canned, so long as there are no additives. Meat producers will work to create leaner beef, pork and poultry.
Make America Great Again, but help make them healthier to reduce the burden of obesity on our systems. The proceeds of the tax can help to cover the costs associated with Obamacare or whatever healthcare bill the government creates down the line.