Free Markets, Free People

Someone Has To Pay For Health Care “Reform”

Today’s “Health Care Reform” day.

One of the myths Democrats are going to try to continue to promote is that 95% of Americans are getting a tax cut. Of course that means they’re politically prohibited from raising income taxes. But that certainly doesn’t mean that they must refrain from other taxes and fees which will impact 100% of Americans and, by the way, if they’re like the following, will be highly regressive:

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.

The proposal is also being touted as something which will help pay for “health care reform”:

The Congressional Budget Office, which is providing lawmakers with cost estimates for each potential change in the health overhaul, included the option in a broad report on health-system financing in December. The office estimated that adding a tax of three cents per 12-ounce serving to these types of sweetened drinks would generate $24 billion over the next four years.

Of course the article goes on to state that lawmakers aren’t considering the tax at present, but then the vast majority of our legislators don’t write or read the legislation they pass so saying they’re not considering it doesn’t mean it isn’t being considered by those who will write it (like the CSPI) or won’t be in legislation.

This sort of tax is also seen as a means of modifying behavior because a certain group considers the product it wants taxed as “unhealthy”.

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.

“Soda is clearly one of the most harmful products in the food supply, and it’s something government should discourage the consumption of,” Mr. Jacobson said.

Given that government is now seeking entry into the health care arena in a much bigger way than at present, and its stated goal is to make health care less costly, this fits supports the goal and gives the argument credibility that it wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. Note the phrase I’ve put in bold – it should send shivers down your spine. What sort of precedent would that set? And, what would be next?

Well, here you go:

Health advocates are floating other so-called sin tax proposals and food regulations as part of the government’s health-care overhaul. Mr. Jacobson also plans to propose Tuesday that the government sharply raise taxes on alcohol, move to largely eliminate artificial trans fat from food and move to reduce the sodium content in packaged and restaurant food.

And that’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The premise that it is the job of government to modify behavior through taxation (especially if it saves money) has obviously been swallowed whole.

Back to the original point about the myth of the tax cuts for 95% of Americans:

The beverage tax is just one of hundreds of ideas that lawmakers are weighing to finance the health-care plans. They’re expected to narrow the list in coming weeks.

But you can bet that the list won’t be too narrow – someone has got to pay for this. And, with mommy government deciding what you can and can’t eat, you might actually lose some weight. Not because you are necessarily eating healthy food, but because you can’t afford as much anymore. That’s because the one thing you can count on is your wallet will definitely lose weight as this “health care reform” abomination moves forward.


14 Responses to Someone Has To Pay For Health Care “Reform”

  • Oh, trust us, it pays for itself from cost savings.


  • Jeebus – so what happens if they put the tax on soda and consumption goes down?  Where will the money come from then?  We saw this with the damn gas taxes.  Raise the price high enough and people stop using something.  Then the whining begins ‘but we have less money now than before!  We’ve GOT to tax something!’

    • Whenever they do that crap, realistic adults recognize they don’t want you to actually stop, they WANT you to continue to use the item in question and shut up and pay the tax

      Everything else is just hand waving justification for why you ought to pay extra to:  smoke, drink alcohol, drink sugar beverages (and as Yul Brenner, King of Siam,  would say – “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera”).  I’m sure there’s a tofu hugger out there that really believes it will stop people, but the guys writing the tax bill and budget know damn well they don’t WANT you to stop having your Coca-cola.

  • Maybe Soda tax will wake more Americans up. Maybe Tea parties aren’t the way to go but Soda Parties are.

  • The Sugar Act was passed by Parliament on April 5, 1764,[1] and it arrived in the colonies at a time of economic depression.

    History repeats itself

  • You guys are all missing the target.

    What are the Republicans going to do about it?
    For better or worse, the public obviously wants something done about it.

    Bitching about the Dem’s tax and spend philosophy are akin to farts in the wind.  And unless you can control playing with yourselves… Angels and ministers of grace, defend us… because the Right is merely satisfying themselves with useless frothing.

    Ideas.., assh*les.


    • How many of the public wants the government to DO something about it?  I’m supposed to trust the media who wants to talk about Michelle Obama’s arms and the White House dog, or the government who wants to control things?  Not so much.

      The basic insistence that the public wants government to DO something about it concedes an automatic loss because whether done by Republican or Democrats, it’s still government. 
      Slow train to hell vs fast train to hell.
      Once government gets their hands into the patients guts they aren’t going to walk away, and it will become an ongoing avalanche (slow motion, or full speed, depending on the party in power) like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Spanish American War Telephone Tax.   Over time no matter who starts the snowball rolling it’ll have the same result in the end once they think they can ‘help’.

      Government run health care.

      What I want the Republicans to do is STOP it completely.  There’s no ‘plan’ needed other than convincing the public we don’t NEED government to help.

    • But as an observation about what I want – refer to Cnut’s  ability to command the tides.

    • Mine is in the post below. I don’t even like my own idea that much, but I think the populace is so freaked out by healthcare insurance and the threat of losing their insurance when they lose their job that this issue won’t die.

  • CSPI is synonymous with junk-science and political posturing.

    Always has been, looks like always will be.

    • Yeah, and ACORN is neck deep in fraud and the SEIU is a collection of union thugs yet they and the CSPI all appear to have a seat at the table right now, don’t they?

  • I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again: Universal Health Care is coming to America.

    The most market friendly folk can hope for is that if you can afford private care, you will be allowed to buy insurance for it.   Here in Canada, it’s illegal. Because, wait for it…in a caring society, one’s income should not allow “queue jumping”, natch.  

    A progressive society lets people die on waiting lists instead.  We are not allowed to die because we can’t afford the treatment. 

    The question I want to have answered, is exactly when will your health care reform rein in million dollar malpractice awards? Surely the American tort system is driving up medical costs…but I have yet to hear a whisper on how Obama’s health care plan will deal with the trial lawyers.

  • The economist had an article about healthcare in India and how the lowered their costs. 
    Note that in India healthcare is private not public, so savings were done out of profit motive – mainly lowering their costs to attract more customers.

    They had innovations like companies that only did eyes, and used remote kiosks, etc.

    Now, see I am okay going to Walmart for my cold, or using a remote kiosk if I were paying for it myself. But if it was nationalized healthcare I would demand to see a doctor, damn it!