Should Calories Be Taxed?
As we move into unprecedented levels of obesity, diabetes and disease, it is worth asking how the buckling healthcare budgets will manage to suffice in the future. As other aspects of healthcare are examined it must be considered how the social policies could potentially influence or at least finance what will be a huge healthcare burden in the future due to obesity related disease. So with more and more states in the United States lurching towards populations that one-third of which are obese (BMI over 30) how will these societies prepare to pay for unprecedented demand for healthcare for the burgeoning type II diabetes population, increased needs for cardiovascular treatments, CPAP machines, insulin injections, ER visits for stroke and kidney failure and cancer treatments all obesity related.
One proposal that has emerged and as was discussed recently on national public radio on the Diane Rehm Show, is taxation on calories or carbohydrates or some specific nutrients. The logic goes something like this: unprecedented costs arise from obesity. Obesity arises from excess consumption of calories, specifically carbohydrate calories. Therefore taxation on the consumption of these calories may both curb behavior in a healthier direction and lays funds to support the demand for medical services.
Is this just? Is it fair? Does it make sense?