Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taxing Unhealthy stuff to fund health care

The WSJ reports today on the beginnings of a great idea: Taxing unhealthy stuff to fund health care. From the Journal:

Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

The taxes would pay for only a fraction of the cost to expand health-insurance coverage to all Americans and would face strong opposition from the beverage industry. They also could spark a backlash from consumers who would have to pay several cents more for a soft drink.

Proponents of the tax cite research showing that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and other ailments. They say the tax would lower consumption, reduce health problems and save medical costs. At least a dozen states already have some type of taxes on sugary beverages, said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Don't stop there! A comprehensive program of taxes on bad stuff would make us eat healthier, and provide funds for health care provided by those who are being the least healthy. And then, let's legalize drugs and tax them for the same reason, instead of wasting billions a year on a war we can't win. There is enough money there to finance a health care program, and make us maybe as healthy as the French, who pay about half what we do in health care but live longer.

Of course, we should also do away with taxes on beer!


Becky said...

They're getting their new tax ideas from NY aren't they?

Budd Bailey said...

Would you consider beer "bad stuff"?