Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

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Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » October 21st, 2009, 7:16 pm

In my recent philosophy of politics article, Ways to Lowering Health Care Costs, I explained my top 5 suggestions. Please use this thread to specifically discuss the first suggestion about taxing unhealthy behaviors.

Do you agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would lower health care costs? Do you agree it would reduce the amount people engage in these behaviors?

In the article, I suggest taxing the following list of unhealthy behaviors or commodities: cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, television, speeding, fighting, candy, soda, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, sugar substitutes, and carcinogenic ingredients. Are there any other unhealthy behaviors or commodities that you would add to the list?

Thanks!
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Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors



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Post Number:#2  Postby Belinda » October 22nd, 2009, 7:11 am

Certainly I agree with taxing unhealthy behaviours. Carrot and stick, I favour prevention rather than cure where there is a choice.
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Re: Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

Post Number:#3  Postby Nick_A » October 22nd, 2009, 12:48 pm

Scott wrote:In my recent philosophy of politics article, Ways to Lowering Health Care Costs, I explained my top 5 suggestions. Please use this thread to specifically discuss the first suggestion about taxing unhealthy behaviors.

Do you agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would lower health care costs? Do you agree it would reduce the amount people engage in these behaviors?

In the article, I suggest taxing the following list of unhealthy behaviors or commodities: cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, television, speeding, fighting, candy, soda, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, sugar substitutes, and carcinogenic ingredients. Are there any other unhealthy behaviors or commodities that you would add to the list?

Thanks!
Scott


Yes, and it should begin with taxing congress for the unhealthy behavior of lying and corruption. Add this to a tax on hot air emmissions from all the BS congress produces, the tax would become so high that America would gradually become debt free.
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Re: Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

Post Number:#4  Postby Scott » October 22nd, 2009, 1:08 pm

Nick_A wrote:Yes, and it should begin with taxing congress for the unhealthy behavior of lying and corruption. Add this to a tax on hot air emmissions from all the BS congress produces, the tax would become so high that America would gradually become debt free.

:lol: That's funny, Nick. And I agree Congress is filled with corrupt liars who produce more BS than a portapotty.

But, seriously, what do you think of increasing the taxes or fines on unhealthy behaviors like eating cigarettes, doing recreational drugs and eating candy?
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Re: Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

Post Number:#5  Postby Nick_A » October 22nd, 2009, 1:26 pm

Scott wrote:
Nick_A wrote:Yes, and it should begin with taxing congress for the unhealthy behavior of lying and corruption. Add this to a tax on hot air emmissions from all the BS congress produces, the tax would become so high that America would gradually become debt free.

:lol: That's funny, Nick. And I agree Congress is filled with corrupt liars who produce more BS than a portapotty.

But, seriously, what do you think of increasing the taxes or fines on unhealthy behaviors like eating cigarettes, doing recreational drugs and eating candy?


I really think this is a direct avenue into Big Brother's domination. I believe in personal responsibility. I also believe that it should be motivated not by secular government but by relgious affiliations.

The trouble is that secularism is doing a good job of killing spiritual significance leaving the job to the state.

For example if people "understood," in the real meaning of the word, why the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we wouldn't have the problem we do. We no longer understand so pump anything possible into our systems to fill a psychological void. All the government can do is to increase governmental dependence in the attempt to compensate for our loss of understanding which must lead IMO to an eventual breakdown and loss of a free society.
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Post Number:#6  Postby Juice » October 22nd, 2009, 2:01 pm

Taxes are just a means by which the government controls the lives of the individual. Any tax, sintax, is just another means to that end.

A more pragmatic evaluation is to examine the futility if such taxes which would just be a percentage or flat rate for those subjective "sins". Granted people who engage in unhealthy activity are at greater risk for health problems but they also have shorter lives. Healthy people or people who subjectively and supposedly live healthier lives live longer. The longer one lives the more health care he needs.

This is a created fallacy by which part of the social justice system operates. Wealthy individuals will have no difficulty paying for their "sins" while less wealthy people will have more of their income effected by such taxations. In the end who benefits? Just a government who will then cut care to those who follow the "rules" and have the temerity to live longer. Extensions in retirement age which will only affect the middle class. What next "health police"? Brown shirts invading a persons home looking for contraband, purchase checks at stores who inform the government of your activities. The creation of criminal enterprises, smoking speakeasies. Do we tax people who engage in risky sexual behaviors, let's tax abortions, homosexuals, people who contract AIDS, hospital employees, heavy machine operators, mountain climbers, new drug testers. Where does it end and who decides whose at risk, I ride my bicycle without a helmet!!
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Re: Lower Health Care Costs by Taxing Unhealthy Behaviors

Post Number:#7  Postby whitetrshsoldier » October 22nd, 2009, 2:45 pm

Scott wrote:In my recent philosophy of politics article, Ways to Lowering Health Care Costs, I explained my top 5 suggestions. Please use this thread to specifically discuss the first suggestion about taxing unhealthy behaviors.

Do you agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would lower health care costs? Do you agree it would reduce the amount people engage in these behaviors?

In the article, I suggest taxing the following list of unhealthy behaviors or commodities: cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, television, speeding, fighting, candy, soda, and foods containing high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, sugar substitutes, and carcinogenic ingredients. Are there any other unhealthy behaviors or commodities that you would add to the list?

Thanks!
Scott


How about we just allow insurance companies to continue charging [rates/premiums] according to "life choices" like they already do. How is permitting government this privelege any LESS evil than allowing private companies the same right?

Of course you have to charge people for the risk they pose. If you do not, they will bankrupt the system. But "TAXING" them just means that the money goes to an inept handler of business [government] instead of a competitive entity!

Are you people serious?
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Post Number:#8  Postby Scott » October 23rd, 2009, 12:34 am

Okay, so many of you oppose the idea. Though I know taxes on things like cigarettes are some of the most popular taxes, so you who oppose it are in the minority.

Regardless, do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would reduce health care costs by discouraging people from engaging in these activities (like smoking cigarettes)?

As for it being "a direct avenue into Big Brother's domination," would you all agree that it is less of an avenue to Big Brother's domination to pay for the massive amounts that the government already spends on health care with the taxes of people who engage in unhealthy behaviors rather than with income taxes? Would you say that it is fairer and less authoritarian to pay for government spending on health care with taxes on unhealthy habits (such as smoking cigarettes) as opposed to income taxes?

Indeed, some would say they wish the government didn't spend anything on health care, even if that would lead to higher costs overall. But that's a separate issue, one I'd love to debate in another thread.
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Post Number:#9  Postby Nick_A » October 23rd, 2009, 1:07 am

Scott wrote:Okay, so many of you oppose the idea. Though I know taxes on things like cigarettes are some of the most popular taxes, so you who oppose it are in the minority.

Regardless, do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would reduce health care costs by discouraging people from engaging in these activities (like smoking cigarettes)?

As for it being "a direct avenue into Big Brother's domination," would you all agree that it is less of an avenue to Big Brother's domination to pay for the massive amounts that the government already spends on health care with the taxes of people who engage in unhealthy behaviors rather than with income taxes? Would you say that it is fairer and less authoritarian to pay for government spending on health care with taxes on unhealthy habits (such as smoking cigarettes) as opposed to income taxes?

Indeed, some would say they wish the government didn't spend anything on health care, even if that would lead to higher costs overall. But that's a separate issue, one I'd love to debate in another thread.


What is an unhealthy behavior? I would suggest that virtually anything in moderation is fine while virtually anything to excess is harmful.

Use alcohol as an example. In moderation it is not only helpful but increases the power to wish. This is the ancient basis of a toast.

Because alcohol to excess is harmful, you are suggesting a sin tax. The trouble is that alcohol in moderation is healthy.

How would you define harmful behavior that should be taxed as opposed to the normal joys of life that should be encouraged?
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Post Number:#10  Postby Scott » October 23rd, 2009, 1:50 am

Nick_A wrote:How would you define harmful behavior that should be taxed as opposed to the normal joys of life that should be encouraged?

I would define unhealthy behavior as activities that can be statistically shown to increase the average cost of providing health care to one who engages in it. I think things like smoking cigarettes, eating McDonald's food, drinking coca-cola and speeding clearly fall into this category. (Incidentally, I try not to say things should be done or should not be done because I think such moral terms are unclear.)

Maybe smoking a cigarette once every month and having one glass of wine with dinner at night alone will not be significantly unhealthy. Surely the tax on one cigarette or one glass of wine is similarly negligible to almost everyone. Anyone who notices the few pennies in extra tax they are paying on a single cigarette would probably enjoy the reminder of the health danger it poses. If it is that much of a concern, then the government could offer a tax rebate to people who only drink one glass of wine a night for the pennies they paid, but I don't think such a complicated law would be worth the ink it takes to put it on paper, and I think most infrequent wine drinkers would agree. Either way, it would be fairer than paying for health care with income taxes, right?

Anyway, Nick_A, I apologize for asking the same question, but do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would reduce health care costs by discouraging people from engaging in these activities (like smoking cigarettes)? Specifically, do you think creating or increasing a tax on cigarettes would decrease health care costs? A tax on alcohol? A fine on speeding? A tax on fast food? A tax on soda? A fine on not wearing a seat-belt? Regardless of whether or not you would support the tax or fine, on what do you think we could create or increase the tax or fine to lower health care costs?
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Post Number:#11  Postby whitetrshsoldier » October 23rd, 2009, 3:23 am

Scott wrote:Okay, so many of you oppose the idea. Though I know taxes on things like cigarettes are some of the most popular taxes, so you who oppose it are in the minority.

Regardless, do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would reduce health care costs by discouraging people from engaging in these activities (like smoking cigarettes)?

As for it being "a direct avenue into Big Brother's domination," would you all agree that it is less of an avenue to Big Brother's domination to pay for the massive amounts that the government already spends on health care with the taxes of people who engage in unhealthy behaviors rather than with income taxes? Would you say that it is fairer and less authoritarian to pay for government spending on health care with taxes on unhealthy habits (such as smoking cigarettes) as opposed to income taxes?

Indeed, some would say they wish the government didn't spend anything on health care, even if that would lead to higher costs overall. But that's a separate issue, one I'd love to debate in another thread.


Just thought I'd mention, that so-called criminalization, even in the miniature sense [taxation] of almost all substances/past-times, has led to the underground criminal enterprise of many different things.

Consider the alcohol of the past, the Marijuana of the present [er ... nevermind ... it's "legal" now, in case you hadn't heard from A.G. Eric Holder (even as he was busy busting Mexican drug cartels) and "mr." Obama lately], cigarettes [smuggled into places like New York where they often cost more than $10/pack], gambling, etc.

If people did not attempt to regulate these things to such ridiculous degrees, they might have prevented the gangs and mobs who arose to commit the murders, "wars", and other civil clashes that occured solely because of their 'criminalization'.

As to Scott's point of their taxation necessarily decreasing health-care costs; I'm sure it would. So would outright outlawing them. I'm sure if we outlawed cars and all other means of public transportation, people would walk more, too. If we made fast-food illegal people would be more healthy. If we criminalized television people might be more mentally/socially/emotionally "well", also.

Remember, "Cubans" are more healthy than we are. They also don't have what we have. I'll take my Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza, a 6-pack of Pale-Ale, a flat-screen T.V. in every room, a Computer to type on whenever I'd like, and a comfy couch to sit on ANY DAY!!!

So a question for you, Scott. Do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would effectively deprive [to at least a financial extent] people of their constitutionally guaranteed right to "pursue happiness" as they saw fit? Because I can sure tell you that it strips me of my ability to pursue mine!
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Post Number:#12  Postby Nick_A » October 23rd, 2009, 11:24 am

Scott

Anyway, Nick_A, I apologize for asking the same question, but do you at least agree that taxing unhealthy behaviors would reduce health care costs by discouraging people from engaging in these activities (like smoking cigarettes)? Specifically, do you think creating or increasing a tax on cigarettes would decrease health care costs? A tax on alcohol? A fine on speeding? A tax on fast food? A tax on soda? A fine on not wearing a seat-belt? Regardless of whether or not you would support the tax or fine, on what do you think we could create or increase the tax or fine to lower health care costs?


I don't think it would lower health care costs since it would serve to create worsening attitudes that will lead to more unhealthy behavior and potential higher costs. The question then is if you want a strong dictatorial government to further force its desired behavior?

It is only the religious influences that can sustain a healthy psychological attitude that keeps government at bay. This is why it is imperative for the Obama administration to destroy the value of marriage and the nuclear family. The greater the destruction, the more problems that invite the government to establish further control.

Why do you think the new reulatory czar seeks to abolish marriage? Doing so increases the opportunity for further controls?

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=113802

The U.S. government should abolish its sanctioning of marriage, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama's regulatory czar.

Sunstein proposed that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.

Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.

"Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government," wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, "Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness


Do you really believe this would improve decisions about health, wealth and happiness? It cannot and IMO only causes more harm. Health care costs will increase inviting further governmental controls furthering the agenda of control.

It is true that when people are healthier, costs go down. The trouble is admitting what would invite America to become collectively healthier. Do you believe it is through governmental dictates or once again becoming open to the importance of obligations that the religious influence allows us to feel as opposed to the current obsession with rights normal for secular dominance? Part of our personal obligation concerns respecting our bodies. Substituting for this respect through taxation just furthers disrespect and all the problems associated with it.
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Post Number:#13  Postby whitetrshsoldier » October 24th, 2009, 11:51 am

Nick,

What's all this crap about man needing religion to be healthy? I've always worked out 5x/week, eat right, and seldom engage in risky behavior [I'm pro-sexual conservatism, i.e. monogamy, but I consider a personal decision and not a mandatory one that has been FORCED upon me].

Man does not need religion to be healthy. He only needs a rational mind.
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Post Number:#14  Postby Nick_A » October 24th, 2009, 3:39 pm

whitetrshsoldier wrote:Nick,

What's all this crap about man needing religion to be healthy? I've always worked out 5x/week, eat right, and seldom engage in risky behavior [I'm pro-sexual conservatism, i.e. monogamy, but I consider a personal decision and not a mandatory one that has been FORCED upon me].

Man does not need religion to be healthy. He only needs a rational mind.


A rational mind can see the good sense in maintaining a healthy body. However how many of our actions are based on rational thinking? The force for doing things comes from our emotions. The essence of religion admits the corruption of our "feelings." The mind by itself has no force. Help for the heart doesn't come from rational thinking but from becoming open to a higher quality of "feeling." This help for our emotional intelligence which can add an additional perspective with critical thinking allowing them to compliment each other, comes from the essence of religion.
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Post Number:#15  Postby whitetrshsoldier » October 24th, 2009, 3:56 pm

I don't know about you, Nick, but I can say that I endeavor to ensure that ALL of my actions follow reason. If they don't, I don't consider them worth acting on.

*** NOTE ***

I'm including my personal faith under this requirement.
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