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CNN Commentary: A fat tax is a healthy idea  RSS feed

 
Dave Miller
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This is probably more on topic than off, but thought this would be the safest forum to post it. 

This makes a lot of sense to me.

[size=20pt]Commentary: A fat tax is a healthy idea[/size]
[size=10pt]
    * Story Highlights
    * Rudy Ruiz: America's obesity epidemic costs the nation billions
    * He says taxing unhealthy food is one way to combat spread of obesity
    * He says government subsidies make unhealthy food more affordable
    * Ruiz: A study predicts 75 percent of Americans will be overweight by 2015

By Rudy Ruiz
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Rudy Ruiz founded RedBrownandBlue.com, a site featuring multicultural political commentary. He is host of a nationally syndicated Spanish-language radio show and wrote a guide to success for immigrants ("¡Adelante!" published by Random House). He is co-founder and president of Interlex, an advocacy marketing agency based in San Antonio, Texas.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNN) -- I recently accompanied my family to one of the top-selling movies in America, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."

All I could think of, aside from struggling ironically to keep my children from overindulging in junk food, was that members of Congress should watch the movie. It might inspire them to add an important dimension to health reform: smarter food policy.

In the movie, a town nearly dooms itself via gluttony. As hamburgers, steaks and ice cream rain down, residents feast euphorically, oblivious to their expanding waistlines -- until a child succumbs to a food coma.

The movie is a thinly veiled allegory for our nation's obesity epidemic. It serves up -- in digestible terms -- the dysfunctional relationship between government, industry and parents in engineering and promoting a glut of food that keeps dollars in our pockets and smiles on our faces in the short term, while rendering us dangerously unhealthy in the long term.

Beyond the movie magic, it's a sobering reality that two-thirds of Americans are afflicted by the obesity epidemic. Our bulging waistline correlates to our ballooning health care budget, accounting for $147 billion a year in medical bills, according to a study funded by the CDC Foundation and published this summer in the health policy journal Health Affairs.

Experts at Johns Hopkins call the trend "a public health crisis," projecting that by 2015, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese. Shockingly, the Center for Children's Health Innovation reports that by the time kids enter kindergarten, over 26 percent are already overweight or obese.

As I surveyed the theater, those stats ceased to surprise. While my children drank water and nibbled on a negotiated ration of candy, their peers lurked beyond enormous buckets of popcorn and towering cups of soda balanced precariously on their laps.

Fast forward to my point. In improving America's health, are we missing a key plotline? Wouldn't the best way to control escalating health costs be to become healthier to begin with? Are rising costs driven not only by corporate greed, but also by self-destructive behavioral patterns?

If the government is serious about tackling our nation's health problems, then it should address food's role in the looming crisis.

To Congress' credit, proposed reforms emphasize increased prevention. But if socioeconomic incentives to consume harmful food persist, unhealthy patient behavior will prevail at monstrous cost to all of us.

The affordability of unhealthy food is at the congested heart of the matter. According to TIME magazine, the largesse of taxpayers enables McDonald's to offer a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for under $5. Our tax dollars underwrite Agriculture Department subsidies to corn farmers.

Cheap, abundant corn enables mass production of economical, aggressively marketed beef and pork. The corn syrup that sweetens soft drinks and candy oozes from the same source. That's why it's so cheap to be fat and -- comparatively -- so expensive to be thin.

In response, a comprehensive preventive health strategy should:

• Shift subsidies away from corn toward the production of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as organic farming, so healthier, more natural foods become as accessible as Happy Meals.

• Tax fast food, soft drinks, and packaged foods high in processed fats and sugars to decrease demand for unhealthy food. A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine recommends a tax on "sugar-sweetened beverages," projecting that for every 10 percent rise in price, consumption of soft drinks would decline a corresponding 8 to 10 percent, leading to weight loss and reduced health risks.

• Regulate youth nutrition marketing, preventing paradoxes like the teaming of "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" -- despite its well-intentioned message -- with Burger King for a promotion heavily advertised on children's TV.

While some will argue that more taxes and regulations are the last things we need and that the government has no place telling people what to consume, precedent exists for both.

We already tax and regulate other harmful products -- like tobacco and alcohol -- because it's common sense to dissuade individuals from nasty habits that cost our entire society. Plus, tax proceeds would help underwrite health reforms and preventive education.

And since the government's current subsidy system enabled our transformation into an obese nation in the first place, why shouldn't the government implement a corrective course of action encouraging families onto a healthier track?

I hate to spoil the movie, but in the end, the endangered town didn't solve its problems by building more hospitals and paying doctors and insurance companies to treat and cover those who overate or were flattened by mammoth meatballs. Instead, the townspeople simply destroyed the machine drowning them in supersized food.

Likewise, Congress must rage against the machines not only of the health care industry tasked with healing us, but also of the food industry making us sick.

Drawing inspiration at the movies, they might even find that in the dark sanctum of the theater, it's easier to reach across the aisle, hold hands, and craft a happy ending that leaves America clamoring for a sequel.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/05/ruiz.obesity.tax/index.html[/size]
 
Brenda Groth
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i am one person that does not believe that the government or anyone else has the right to regulate fat or health...and what do they consider fat..10 # 20 # or more what right do they have to tell you you can't eat this or that..none.

they lie and say that the thin people pay for the health care for the fat people..that is not true..i'm over weight (according to them) as is my husband..we both pay our own health insurance out of pocket.

everyone I know that is overweight(according to them) pays for their own health insurance..the people that i know that don't..are genearlly homeless, drug addicts, college kids, etc.. and most of them are thin..or they are illegals..why are we even allowing illegals to stay here.

ok..you can jabber all you want about fat is bad..there  is no proof that fat is bad..if you believe in religious writings..the fat people were considered healthy and rich..except a few that were seriously obese..even in the centuries just prior to our own, fat was considered not only beautiful but healthy.

we are in the "AGE" of anorexia..people glorify heroin look as model perfect..well i'm sorry, i am NOT a believer.better for the paintings of previous centuries and Jane Ruseel models with some curves...
 
Leah Sattler
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Brenda - are both you and your husband overweight because you eat junk food?

I am not sure where I stand on this. my main problem with a fat tax is who gets to decide who is fat and who gets to decide what is unhealthy food?

at the same time. we have private health insurance also. and the medical costs of everyone with that insurance company are, to some extent, passed on to me. I get a little irritated that I am paying $500 a month possibly because someone else on that insurance chose to eat soda and potato chips and little debbies. so far we have never even come close to racking up enough medical bills to outweigh what we have paid the company over the years. 

there have been an awful lot of oopsies when it comes to figuring out what is good for you and what is bad and alot of grey area too.

personally I like to use full fat dairy products. I think they are healthier then the products that have been robbed of their natural fat content. would there be a tax on full fat cream cheese and yogurt?

I think feeding formula is very unhealthy. I think that any fat tax should include formula except for vouchers in situations where it is really truly needed. is that unethical? probably in the real world situation it would be.

I have to point out that even if an 'unhealthy by choice' person pays their own way as far as health insurance goes they are still contributing to the monetary problem by driving up costs of health insurance for everyone. when the insurance companies have to shell out big bucks for treatment that cost gets passed on to all the customers of that insurance. its not just who pays, what but how much everyone has to pay in general.

although rates are often higher in comparison for private insurance for people that have risk factors, people using group/employee health insurance often get to eat the expense for people who smoke or are obese because of the way the group payment is structured. one reason I am not sure that I am too fond of the employment based healthcare benefits.

this is one of those really hard questions that doesnt' have an answer that is satisfactory to everyone.

what is fat. does the anorexic drug addict get off the hook? sorry, but despite the media hype on it anorexia isn't nearly the problem that obesity is in america.

I don't care how much a bag of chips or can of coke costs because I buy those things so irregularly.
 
Brenda Groth
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No I am not a junk food eater, but that doesn't matter, I still do not think that it should be taxed.

I don't think that anyone has a right to determine anyone elses taxes..period..there is a constitution out there you know !!! No one group of people are to be discriminated against, including fat people.

People assume that fat people don't pay for their own health insurance and that everyone else does..and that is just a lie

I happen to be one of the original founding members of the first natural food co op in the entire northern part of the state, in 1971, and grow my own food, and pay my own health insurance.

I am a responsible member of the community, do not owe anyone for anything, and never will.

Although I am considered obese..my blood pressure is normal, i take NO medications, and get well more exercise than 90 % of americans..

People have no right to judge me.

I breast fed my only child and never bought formula or paper diapers..I am not wasteful and do not use soda or alcolhol or cigarettes..or drugs.

the government has NO RIGHT whatsoever to tax someone on their lifestyale anyway..as that is discrimination..period..plain and simple..that would be like taxing people for their religion or the color of their skin or the area of the country they choose to live in...or for that matter cause they grow their own vegetables or produce their own meat ...or anything else they want to...give em a foot and they'll take a mile..

people are niave to think that this one tax won't lead to something they find precious to themselves..and they will continue to step over their boundaries..until they tax you for breathing..


they are already going to double your electric bill..hey some of us can't afford to pay an extra 25,000 a year for more health insurance or an extrea $1400 dollars a year for electricity..or more..they are going to double the price of gasoline, they are going to add a 15 % value added tax to every single goods and service out there..on top of all the carbon foot print taxes and health are taxes..where do YOU plan to get the money to pay all the taxes..so that they can study whores in Tiawan..
 
Brenda Groth
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another point..I am 58 years old and in the past 30 years I have only been to a dr for the usual pap and mammo tests..i am not contributing to anyone elses raised health care costs..

the children with sniffles, the people with lung cancer, and a lot of other people out getting broken bones and drug overdoses are contritubing a heck of a lot more than me..

I have paid in thousands and thousands and thousands of $ in health insurance..over $7,000 last year alone..and i have not used up a penny of it..so i'm paying for other people's kids to be treated..myself..and so who should judge me.
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Governments aren't proficient in defining/categorizing things:
The Chicago candy tax:
http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Chicago-Braces-For-Candy-and-alcohol-tax-hike56339472.html

Flour makes things food, and absence of flour candy  Chocolate covered peanuts = candy.  Twizzlers = food.  Sheesh!

I guess what gets me over this whole topic are the shows about the super-obese.  I've seen both private insurance AND Medicare popping for Gastic bypass and lap bands.

I think a fat tax would be too much of a control over our daily lives.  I think the gov't wouldn't be able to do it, exampled by the non-sensical candy tax above.  I also don't want to pay for bariatric surgery of others. 

How about a graduated coverage plan?
"I'm healthy (none of your business if I'm fat), and live healthily" - minimal plan
"<Above>, but I think I'll want to see the doc more and don't wan to be nickle & dimed to death" - general plan
"I'm fat and I'll pay for my own fat-related problems" - general plan
"I'm fat and I think I'll need insurance to covery my bariatric surgery" - general + obesity plan
"I have no money" - general-ish plan? (gov't provided?)

Maybe I think too simply.
 
Leah Sattler
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brenda I hope you didn't feel I was directing that at you! I jsut wanted to point out that if you weren't a junk food eater it wouldn't affect you! I think people can be very unhealthy, eat a bunch of junk and still be a 'good weight' and a tax on that junk food would be a bit more fair. just like taxes on cigarettes. someone can be a perfectly "healthy weight" and be unhealthy and  someone can smoke like a chimney and not have lung cancer. likewise someone who has never smoked in their life still can get lung cancer. so you don't tax the "symptom' (being overweight or having lung cancer) you tax the common cause.

this wouldn't be a tax based on discrimination of fat people. it would be a tax based on horrible food. a completely VOLUNTARY tax. people can choose to pay it or not by what they eat. doesn't matter wether you are fat or not.

the term "fat tax" should be changed to something else because it is misleading. 

I am still not of the mindset that in the real world situation junk food couldn't be fairly taxed. based mostly on the inability to distinguish "junk food" from "non junk food". adn the very real possibility and even probability that this would be one more step where you give an inch to the gooberment and they take a mile.

it is still appealing to me though. mostly because I think of whole generations of young children you are raise with junk food and have their health and future eating choices severely affected. that is where my formula comment comes in. I wonder sometimes if it weren't so available in cost (or literally) if more women would make healthy choices for their child.

the age old problem of how do we help those too innocent and helpless to help themselves? I don't really care about the adults except in as much as kids need parents. but how do we stop those people from feeding their kids doritos and diet coke for lunch everyday?

the unfortunate answer is really probably..."we don't"

 
Dave Miller
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Leah Sattler wrote:
[size=10pt]how do we stop those people from feeding their kids doritos and diet coke for lunch everyday?

the unfortunate answer is really probably..."we don't"[/size]

Actually I think it has a lot to do with government subsidies (i.e. your taxes) paying farmers to grow corn to make high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), making "junk" food artificially low in price.  Check your kid's snacks (or your whole pantry) and you will see HFCS is a top ingredient in most processed foods.

Here is more info on corn subsidies: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/kingcorn/bushels.html 

And on high-fructose corn syrup: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/kingcorn/taste.html

I agree that "fat tax" is a poor label, and before any new taxes are issued, we should stop spending tax dollars subsidizing HFCS production.  (Actually I would like to get rid of the IRS altogether, and go with something like the "fair tax" - but I digress).

Here is another graphic that has had me puzzled for a while:

http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/fit.nation/obesity.map/

This shows for each state the percent of adults who are "obese" over time, since 1985.  The increase is startling.  What happened?  Did we eat more healthy prior to 1985?  Maybe a little, but junk/fast food has been around since the 1950's.  Did we exercise more prior to 1985?  I don't really think so.  But clearly there has been some kind of systemic change.  One of the links above says:
[size=10pt]While Americans have been eating sugar in one form or another for centuries, the influx of high-fructose corn syrup into everyday foods—even those not normally associated with sweetness—has helped boost overall sweetener intake by 19 percent since 1970. As a result, Americans now eat about 523 more calories each day. And about 76 of those extra daily calories come from sugars and sweeteners like HFCS. At last count in 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that Americans eat 79 pounds of corn sweetener per year—a four-fold increase from 1970.[/size]


Also, thanks to subsidies, corn and HFCS have become cheaper and so have the foods made from them.   Thus "junk" food has become cheaper, and more and more foods have sweeteners like HFCS in them, increasing our caloric intake with no corresponding increase in nutrition.  Perhaps that is part of the systemic change?

Anyway, tying this back to permaculture, I bet that if we can get rid of some of these subsidies such as corn and oil, farming using permaculture principles will become much more attractive (and put money back in the pockets of taxpayers).

A couple of more links for you.  I have taken these discussion courses and would highly recommend them:

Menu for the Future is a six-session course exploring the connection between food and sustainability.

Healthy Children - Healthy Planet is a seven-session course for the workplace, faith center, or home addressing how the pervasive effects of advertising, media, and our consumer culture can influence a child's view of the world.

 
Brenda Groth
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bigotry against people that the health department considers obese does effect every area of our lives..according to Barak Obama..Fat people (which means 5 to 10 pounds overweight or more) will be put into a totally different category for insurance reasons..

funny thing is..most of the so called obese people I know do NOT see drs..some at all..although they do buy health insurance..

and by the way, the insurance I have does NOT pay for bariatric surgery...I don't know why some people think that most of them do..a lot of them do not.

I have Blue Cross ..which is a top quality insurance..which i pay for completely by myself..

no I do NOT drink soft drinks or eat at fast food joints etc..but that still gives no one a right to think that they can begin to tax this or that just cause they want to..

i don't drink alcohol or used drugs or smoke either..but that doesn't mean that they should be adding "sin" taxes to these things..the Bible doesn't call wine a sin !!!

where are they getting their sin definintion.

and how is there the distinctionb etween HORRIBLE FOOD as you say..as you can make soda at home..people did it before it was afvail in bottles..you can make cheeseburgers at home..people do it every summer weekend..you can even fry french fries if you want to..

what this will do is just create another tax...which i don't believe in.

do you honestly believe that creating more and more taxes is the answer

I remember before bottled soda>...yes i am that old..i remember people buying root beer flavoring at drug stores, and making their own..

remember the crime that the prohibition caused..are we really ready for the al capones of sugar sweetened drinks good grief.

taxation like is happening now is just plain wrong...just more money in the pockets of big government agencies..to spread among their friends to use for corrupt things.

Chicago mafia is behind what you are seeing now kids..and who do you think was behind the bootlegging
 
Leah Sattler
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no i don't believe more and more taxes is the answer. I am halfway playing devils advocate on this because I can see some value in it 

I don't know about obamacare. I am totally against the gooberment getting its sticky fingers into healthcare/insurance except maybe on a very basic basic level. that means something for those folks that will not/cannot pay for insurance. and that has to be funded somehow. and it would be nice if those someones making poor choices had to pay for it somehow themselves instead of leaving the rest of us with the bill as is often the case now and in big government healthcare plans. enter the "junkfood/smoking tax". the same people who are going to make poor health choices are likely going to be unable or unwilling to pay for health care. so. lets consider taxing the unhealthy choices to pay for their diabetes, cancer and and high blood pressure problems they brought on themselves and paid for with their tax dollars in advance, with the choices they made. so that me, you and the rest of the people who shell out bucks for our own healthcare and theirs!


now is this really feasable? I don't know. but on paper it looks pretty good.

I do think that choices people make  should affect how much they pay for insurance. people with medical conditions that are outside their control should not, on moral grounds. often all it takes to cure high blood pressure or diabetes is to lose weight.  my uncle killed himself with alcohol and smokes. heck yeah he should have paid more for insurance. but of course he did it all on the governments dime as most people that destructive would anyway. too bad he wasn't paying more for those cigarettes to build up a little cash to pay for his final days as he ultimately died of lung cancer.


I am talking a bout a tax on food certain food. to continue my devils advocate. homemade soda wouldn't be taxed. neither would homemade french fries, or chips. to me, none of those things are unhealthy if pepared correctly adn eaten in moderation. commercial soda would be. maybe only the soda with hfcs in it. it has nothing to do with targeting "fat people" or bigotry. it is only coined that because a large portion of the younger people who are overweight are overweight because of their eating habits and woudl therefore be the ones to pay most of the tax by choice. these aren't mature adults that put on a few pounds due to lowering of their metabolism with age. these are kids that are going to spend their whole lives overweight because they drink nothing but pop. a massive new experiment with our nations young people. 

I am not for a sin tax. for me it has nothing to do with what the bible says. to me that is just an old book so poorly, written, translated, interpreted and outdated that it has no moral jurisdiction over my life.


 
Brenda Groth
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one point...ok..so they tax soda so that they can bring in $...people say..OK I can make my own soda..so they do..no $ come in on the tax..people have changed their consumption to homemade sodas..health isn't changed..just another tax..just more government control..no revenues..just more control..

so ..ok we didn't make money off taxing the soda..cause people bought sugar and made their own..and they did that with the junk food and the cigarettes (rolled their own from tobacco)...etc..

well guess we..the government..better figure out what we should tax next ..we gotta get $$$ so lets see..people are growing their own food and cooking from scratch..making their own burgers and soda ..so seeing as how the "sin tax" didn't bring in the revenues..lets put a 10 % tax on ALL FOOD..that should bring in some bucks eh?

so one leads to another and eventually we are taxed MORE TO DEATH then we are now..for everything.

i remember..yes I'm that old..that there was supposed to be CAINSO in Michigan so that they would provide all the income for schools..and there wouild be no propety taxes to pay for schools..just casino income..

duh..now  the government is CUTTING BAck ON SCHOOLS CAUSE  the stupid casiino money got spent on other government programs..or whatever..

they say one thing and do something entirely different...if the casinos were going to pay for the schools, the schools would be rich..nope..didn't happen

everytime they add a new tax or program..it falls into corruption..and this will be no different
 
Leah Sattler
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I know people that drink 5-10 sodas a day and no way would they make their own. too lazy. especially kids. and if they did the fact that they had to work for it would seriously cut down on their consumption. they also wouldn't make their own corn chips with the msg coating or actually buy a potato to turn into french fries rather then going to mcdonalds. I know some people that roll their own smokes or smoke pipes but I doubt that many would grow their own tobacco.

I think it is the convenience that makes some things so enticing. are kids really going to make their own pop and bring it to school? nah. but if you stick a vending machine in there they will drink coke all day.

I agree that in reality something like this would fall into corruption. and more scary to me is that they would run with it and take every new crack scientific theory of what is "unhealthy" and tax it. for instance I honestly don't think burgers are really unhealthy. it is only the "saturated fat" crowd that think that. protein, carbs, a few vegies on it it can be fuel for your body in moderation........now soda.......distilled water leaching mineral from bones, hfcs empty empty calories, artificial colors and flavors that likely have long term consequences......that is total "junk food".

I am not a food police. I eat my share of "junk" but serious moderation is key. on occasion we go to a fastfood establishment. my daughter wants (like most kids) chicken nuggets and apples at mc-d. and as usual she wants water to drink. good girl. thats what I order. guess what they tell me? you can't order water with a kids meal! nope. can't do it. have to order the water seperate. they can't include it in the price of the kids meal. well. since I am the obnoxious type when it comes to this sort of thing. I turned a few heads with my loud smart A** remark about why kids are so fat these days.

I think its true. water is almost unheard of for kids to drink! my husband mentioned to my niece, then about 11, about how all that diet soda may not be so good for her. (that is all she drinks and it seems drinks constantly) what does she say? well. my mom makes me drink it. I say. your mom won't let you drink water? she seemed to have this stunned look. like she had never even thought of drinking something other than soda. I bet that kid hasn't had a drink of water in years!

more and more I find that crazy things are associated with the term "healthy food" it seems the lower the fat and calories and the least digestable the better it is supposed to be for you! people are being led to believe that natural food must be altered to make it fit for human consumption. 

 
Brenda Groth
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Leah, because i am against the tax i may appear on here to be an advocate of soda..which I am not.

in the past i have been served soda and have occasionally drank it..and when I have, the next day my feet hurt so bad i couldn't walk on them..

i have a neuropathy problem caused by an overdose of b6 vitamins when i was in my 30s..and it reacts very badly to soda and junk food..esp those hidden artificial foods and sweeteners..so i am totally against them.

however..

i am also totally against any more taxes of any kind at all ..period.
 
Leah Sattler
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I guess my thinking is that if a "new tax" can help us lower an old tax and healthcare expenses and start making the people who are eating up the tax dollars pay that tax....then it sounds ok. if they could put a tax on soda, cigarettes to pay for government health programs and lower our income taxes and alleviate the most burdensome self inflicted sick individuals on the insurance companies (who, often in one catastrophic event or illness drain every dollar they ever paid in from the company) so that we don't have to pay more to keep the profit margins up and the stock investors happy, that sounds just peachy to me. not that it would actually work that way in reality but that is the premise behind it.

making people who are using the system pay for the system. instead of us. alot of the "uninsurable" cant' find or pay for insurance because of their own destructive habits adn teh chronic health problems they created. so lets use those destructive habits to pay their medical bills when they show up at the er or subsidize their healthcare when the insurance companies consider them too big a risk to carry them. we are paying for it already. its just the wrong people paying for it.

people don't just get sick, accept their fate and die at home. in their younger years they may tout how they are just 'living life to the fullest" and spew garbage such as "live hard die young" and "you gotta die sometime" but in reality when they are gasping for air, or facing the amputation of a limb they generally want to continue to live just like anyone else does. when they start to experience the health consequences of their lifestyle they end up at the doctor somehow. and doctors don't and shouldn't work for free. so who pays for it now?

low income individuals make up a much larger percentage of the self induced health problem situation and they are the least able to pay for it. why don't these people buy beans and milk and oatmeal at the store? maybe they need to have a little monetary incentive. if they are really hungry and they get the choice between a 6 pack of coke and a gallon of milk, maybe they will pick the gallon of milk if it is cheaper.

don't take me wrong. on a fundamental level I don't care what people do with their bodies or what choices they make. that is their own business.......until.....those choices start affecting other people in a negative way. and the problem has progressed to the point that their bad choices are affecting our pocket books and our ability to make good choices.....such as carry insurance.

health insurance for us is the single biggest expense after our home. it is almost double my grocery budget. I could buy two newer cars with it. it exceeded our previous house payment.  and even having been to the ob every two to four weeks over the last eight months with numerous ultrasounds and blood work it still hasn't paid for itself this year. yet. the responsible thing to do is have it. one week of a newborn in the nicu or serious pregnancy complications and it would be neccessary. if the mole my husband is going to have removed proves to be less then benign we must have that insurance.

in days gone by many of these problems would simply result in death because we did not have the technology or medical know how to treat them. but now we do. and most people feel a desire to use those treatments when needed even if they can't pay for it. we are in somewhat uncharted waters. we can fix things that we couldn't fix before. but somebody has to pay for it. and most people find the idea of letting someone suffer and die due to lack of money/insurance to be unethical. so we need something.

but it isn't fair (stomping foot) that we have to pay our own way and the way of others who won't make good choices and can't afford their own healthcare costs in proportion to their self induced health problems.


disclaimer to anyone reading....I know that not all tax payers are healthy and not all people with incomes too small to pay taxes are smoking, heart diseased diabetics who drink soda and eat little debbies and doritos all day. jsut talking statistics here.
 
                          
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Remember if you hate taxes and think we should all be responsible for ourselves:

the tax code has long been used to encourage certain behaviors and discourage others.  Right now the IRS gives us a bonus for having kids and being married and owning a mortgage.  (I think we should get rid of the mortage encouragement.)  I don't mind at all if we push the supply-demand graph of purchasing things that are bad for us- especially tobacco and less so alcohol and empty calories- towards less purchases of such stuff.  And if we can aim the money (yes this is a gamble!) at remediating the damage of such use, all the better.

Right now medicare is the biggest US socialized medicine.  Unless one dies before 65 without any SSI qualifying disability our individual health choices end up being paid for by all of us.  Like Leah I think it's cleaner more kosher to tax behavior than status- I can more easily avoid sugar and fat or soda etc than I can being 10-30 pounds overweight- it really IS in my genes.

And if my genetics is such that I can smoke drink and eat tons of HFCS without ever getting any expensive diseases, well, I get to carry the burden of the other 99% of the people who are not so lucky and help discourage them by using these things a little less myself.
 
Dave Miller
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More on HFCS, farm subsidies, childhood obesity, etc.

http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/print_story.php?story_id=131180118104121000
 
            
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Location: California
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The problem with healthcare and health insurance in our country isn't going to be fixed by the government "keeping their sticky fingers out of it". The problem is that the reins have been handed over by the government to Wall Street.. HMO's who run their private institutions (as required by law) to best benefit their shareholders' pocketbooks, rather than the health of their policy holders (their supposed raison d'être). But socialism is a big scary word.. just ask Sarah Palin.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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1. Legislating fitness, legislating eating habits, legislating use of herbs, legislating speech, legislating morality; to me it all adds up to taking away our freedoms.  Taxing behavior, in my mind, is another way to legislate that behavior eventually resulting in a total loss of freedom.

2.Subsidies:  Coke, Pepsi, Monsanto, DuPont, and all of the other giants could not continue to strong arm our economy, our food, our laws and policies if they were not subsidized and given tax breaks that the little guy doesn’t get. 
Capitalism, in its purest form, would create a level playing field and allow us to vote with our dollars.  I’ll bet lots of ‘little guys’, the responsible food producers, would put the giants in the ground.  If that were not the case those corporations would not spend so much money on lobbyists and lawyers to keep the little guys down.

3.Personal choice and responsibility:  I believe that I should have a right to drink, smoke, eat what I want and sit on the couch all day if that is my choice.   I also believe that if I am a doctor I should have the right to refuse to treat someone who is refusing to practice healthy habits.  Currently some doctors who try to refuse to treat such patients are coming under fire.

4. Children:  What a grey area.  Do you want to be told how to raise your children?  No parent is perfect and just because you feed wholesome food and provide a clean and safe home, that doesn’t mean that you are also providing loving arms and a shoulder to cry on.  In North Korea many of the children are just taken and put into a ‘collective’ care where the government determines how they will be cared for; do we want that? 
 
Christina Darling
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
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I say "follow the money." Who is making the money here? Who benefits? I have no proof, but I believe that much of the problem with obesity in this country is due to the ADDITIVES in our water and food AND the empty calorie, processed foods with 'so-called' nutrients added back in. 

Only the researchers and developers of all these chemical, mineral, fungal, GMO and hormonal additives know what they are doing to our bodies and brain chemistry. I think it is all much darker than we know. I believe that along with the real estate debacle, the debt crisis, climate change & carbon tax, chemtrails, factory farming, and on and on, it is all part of a plan to steal the wealth & health of America and reduce the population. In my grandmother's lifetime cancer was rare. Now one in three are PROJECTED to develop it. How could a country that has had men walk on the moon not find a cure after almost 50 years of research and probably billions of dollars?! I want to puke every time I see a pink ribbon!  According to the CIA World Factbook the United States ranks 50th in life expectancy out of 224 countries.

Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like but it is well-known that: the insurance companies, Big pharma, chemical companies (i.e. Monsatan, Dupont, etc.) and the government (FDA, USDA, congress, etc.) who are making the money - either up front or in pay-offs under the table.

I think it is wrong to tax someone because of their weight (I think ALL taxes are wrong), but just hold on, before too long they will be TAXING YOU for the AIR YOU BREATHE and THE WATER YOU DRINK.

PS  You can count on anything coming from CNN as propaganda designed to manipulate public opinion.
 
Robert Ray
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I think CNN should be taxed for stupid commentary.
What would you say to a tax on those that ride motorcycles versus cars.
Bicycles versus cars?
Dangerous neighborhoods?
Cities with a lower safety rating?
People who participate in sports, skiing, skateboarding?
High cholesterol?
Dangerous occupations, police officers? firefighters?
When does it stop?
 
Christina Darling
Posts: 71
Location: East-Central Illinois
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Robert Ray wrote:
I think CNN should be taxed for stupid commentary.


That's a good idea!  I like that tax. 
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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In my opinion, the biggest problem with health care in the US is that it is all about treating an existing condition.  Perhaps, if they spent half as much time to prevention, rather than curing, they would lose money because they would not have enough "sick" people to treat (and charge).  We would then have a surplus of doctors.

It is much easier (and cheaper) to prevent disease than it is to treat it.  Big Pharma would lose billion$ if we lived healthy life styles.
 
Christina Darling
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Location: East-Central Illinois
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Health Care (even the name is a lie) is a big business. It's all about keeping us sick, but not too sick to work. Contaminated and denatured food, contaminated water (flouride), contaminated vaccines, contaminated air (chemtrails) is the status quo. It keeps their coffers (and our coffins) full. Then when we are old enough or sick enough we can go to hospice where they help you die. I know, I've been there and beat the odds!  LOL   I have had a disease since 1996 that was most likely caused by contaminated polio vaccines (I just can't prove it conclusively).  The US Government allowed known contaminated polio vaccines to be given to children for YEARS!
Check these out for yourself:  http://www.rense.com/general3/polio.htm, http://www.tetrahedron.org/articles/vaccine_awareness/Stunning_Admissions_on_Contamin.html, http://www.mindfully.org/Health/Monkey-Virus-Polio-Vaccine.htm, http://www.vaccinetruth.org/page_13.htm.  All I can say is STAY AWAY FROM VACCINES and the Doctors who promote them. The government knew what was going on, just like they know about the chemtrails.

"Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket." -Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i dont wanna type a book on this, mostly cus i feel it would be a waste of time so all i will say is

IT WILL BE A SAD DAY WHEN THE FALSE IDEA THAT MAN CAN FORCE OTHERS TO PERFECTION INFLICTS THE POPULAS TO THE POINT OF A TAX SUCH AS THIS
 
wayne stephen
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Subsidize corn so we can have cheap high-fructose corn syrup , then tax those who consume it to persuade them to eat healthier. It's enough to make a man vote Libertarian!
 
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