Government urged to tax fat people

Discussion in 'Fat in the Media' started by Iannathedriveress, Feb 12, 2016.

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  1. Feb 12, 2016 #1

    Iannathedriveress

    Iannathedriveress

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    http://caribbeannewsservice.com/now/government-urged-to-tax-fat-people/

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 11 2016 – A concern that Barbadians are eating too many unhealthy foods is fuelling calls for them to pay for their overindulgence.

    During last night’s town hall meeting on the financing of health care, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Dr Alafia Samuels was among those arguing strongly that Government should “tax the fat”.

    Many participants also expressed the view that the combination of an aging population and rising obesity placed an added strain on the public health care system.

    However, while getting old was unavoidable, the general sentiment was that non-communicable diseases were the result of unhealthy habits and therefore should be taxed.

    “We need to put on a fat tax,” Samuels told the meeting, while warning that “all of this deep fat fried food that we are eating is leading to heart attacks and strokes.

    “So if you eating it now, put down a little money to pay for the heart attack down the road,” she said.

    Samuels also painted the scenario of a portly man, who had reportedly suffered a “sudden” heart attack.

    However, “somebody said it wasn’t sudden, he worked on it for years,” she said, arguing that self-indulgence over the years was a build up to the medical emergency.

    “So while he is working on his heart attack, we need some of his money to put down to supplement your national health insurance scheme, so we can have more cash to pay the bills, because the bills are going to be significant,” Dr Samuels told the gathering.

    Last night’s meeting at Queen’s College was organized by the Ministry of Health.

    Samuels, who was a panellist, also expressed support for the creation of a Government-run health insurance scheme, while saying that the proposed tax on fat would not only help to create an environment that promotes healthy living but take money from those who were deemed to be “high risk” to add to the financing pool from which payments are made.

    She also complimented the Freundel Stuart administration for its introduction last year of a ten per cent tax on sweet drinks, although she was of the opinion that the beverage levy should be higher.

    “However, as we increase the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, we need to drop the tax on coconut water,” she suggested, adding, “I don’t know if we tax coconut water, but we need to find a way to subsidize it so that coconut water can become cheaper and the sugar-sweetened beverages can become more expensive.”

    In terms of the health insurance proposal, which would be funded by contributions from all workers, the Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Epidemiology argued that everyone would benefit, since “sickness is not something that you can predict. . . [and] you don’t know at what age you are going to get the sickness and you don’t know how much it is going to cost.

    “So you may feel that at age 20 you are just contributing in order to subsidize the 65-year-olds [but] you are also contributing in case you get something bad,” she said.

    In support of her comments, one audience member said: “We’ve been trying to be politically correct and we only putting the fat tax on the sweet drinks. Put the fat tax on the people.

    “It is not a case of rich versus poor, it is irresponsible versus responsible,” he said.

    His advice to Government was: “Start talking about cost reduction, rather than acquiring more money,”. The vocal participant also called for more measures to encourage behavioural change among Barbadians, which he said would lift the current burden on the state-run health system.

    “If you shift the paradigm from cost reduction, you’ll find it is much easier to do that,” he added.

    Chairman of the Diabetes Foundation Dr Oscar Jordan also stressed the need for a lifestyle change.

    “We have to start with children, we have to promote healthy lifestyles . . . 30 per cent of the school children are overweight,” he told the gathering.

    “And we need to introduce systems in the school where we ensure that adequate exercise and attention to proper meal-taking are instituted,” he added.

    One audience member complained that too many Barbadians drive to work and sit in their offices all day.

    “At some point in time we need to encourage our population to ride a little bit more, simple things like cycling to work . . . There are some of us who live very close to work who need to put down the car and cycle to work,” he argued, adding that adults should also be “encouraging our school children to ride to school”.

    He recommended a “United Kingdom programme” of giving financial incentives to doctors who were successful in getting their patients to lose weight.

    However, he complained that there was a lot of “hypocrisy” in the system since “we speak about weight loss and healthy lifestyles, but some of the people who talk about weight loss and healthy lifestyles need to engage [and lead by example]”.

    The meeting, chaired by Danny Gill, was the second of three town halls planned to get public opinion on an appropriate financing scheme to meet Barbados’ ballooning health care costs of $732 million annually.

    “How are we talking about financing health care through universal healthcare reform, when I have not seen any document which indicates that there has been a thorough review of the practices of the Ministry of Health?” asked Alan Corbin, who further questioned, “Where is there any figure that clearly outlines where the money is spent and what return we’ve got from it? Where is the analysis?”

    In response, Gill, who is the Director of Planning in the Ministry of Health indicated that there was such a document. However, only members of the head table had copies, but Gill said members of the public could obtain copies upon request.

    There nonetheless appeared to be general agreement that costs were escalating, and the option of a pooled health insurance system that takes minimal contribution from all workers on the island seemed to be accepted as a reasonable idea.

    But, this apparent acceptance of pooling also triggered discussion on penalties on those whose lifestyle habits encourage obesity, leading to avoidable illnesses that pressure the health care system. (Barbados TODAY)
     
  2. Feb 13, 2016 #2

    FatBarbieDoll

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    I'm so sick (no pun intended) of arguments like this that imply the value of a human being is dependent on how my much money they cost and whether or not they're healthy.

    Human beings have inherent worth just as they are. Part of living in a civilized society is paying for things for which you don't necessarily agree. Don't like it? Move.

    Thin people also eat junk food, and remain sedentary, so this is little more than appearance-based bigotry relying on stereotypes.

    We all want to be loved for who we are, and the message of fatphobia is that, if you're fat, you are not worthy of love -- and that's a load of crap.
     
  3. Feb 13, 2016 #3

    wrestlingguy

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    Yes, because it's worked so well before.........

    http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/denmark’s-fat-tax-disaster-the-proof-of-the-pudding

     
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  4. Feb 14, 2016 #4

    PolarKat

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    Strange that there's no calls for a tax on people who are "statistically" supposed to live longer and get to suck extra years worth of pensions, social aid, medical expense etc..
     
  5. Feb 19, 2016 #5

    a4c4

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    Doesn't work that way.

    See for example:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickung...n-healthcare-costs-than-smoking/#4bf61a2818c5

    Gov'ts, especially those that are financially involved with healthcare have a huge incentive to eliminate obesity and the consequent health effect.


    Sooner or later some sort of biotech fix is going to be found, and that'll be it.
     
  6. Feb 20, 2016 #6

    PolarKat

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    Yup it does.. example a Canadian citizen.. who never ever worked a day in their life starting at 67 years old (probably will return to 65).. earns about $1200/month in OAS and GIC

    Fat folk die 14 years earlier
    http://www.boston.com/health/2014/0...study-shows/MPz9pzIqzZ8MIWiNavJ3EP/story.html

    So in pension alone (not even counting ailments of the old like Alzheimer, hip replacements etc.) we're talking about $200K delta going to the "normal weight" person..

    Now if it were true that i used (male.. very fat) $1152 more in medical spending.. average life expectancy is 80-14(fatdeath)=66.. to be fair.. the fatty won't start racking the medical bills until they reach at least 20.. so 46 years.. so..

    Male Fatty=$1,152*46years= $60K in added medical expenses over lifetime
    Female Fatty=$3,613*50years= $150K in added medical expenses over lifetime
    Not Fat person =$200K in added pension expenses over lifetime (not including ailments that people of very old age get, and fatties who die earlier will not add those expenses)..

    So they also have a much larger incentive to also either abolish pensions or make people work and pay taxes until they die.. or implement a Logan's Run style "Carrousel".. yet not a peep from anyone (but some economists)
     
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  7. Mar 6, 2016 #7

    Mack27

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    You 2 are talking about 2 different things. Yearly costs are more for working age obese, but lifetime costs are higher for the long-lived (who for the most part aren't obese.)
     
  8. Mar 6, 2016 #8

    PolarKat

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    Talking the same thing.. It boils down to consuming public money and targeting a demographic that takes more than others.. they limited the scope to a time frame, that purposely shines a negative light on the obese.. I changed the time frame to look at all people equally, since they will all consume public funds from birth to death..

    no-one complains when about the long lived consuming resources and trying to tax them for it..

    Example.. change the view to children aged 0 to 16 and they just leech from society and give nothing at all.. we should tax them and their parents MORE.. because they take more from the system.. yet we offer tax breaks for people with kids, subsidies.... everyone pays school tax regardless if they have offspring etc.. etc.. etc.. even when we look at children "Yearly".. they still cost society a lot...

    I know.. in the future the better off they are, the more they'll pay in taxes.. so it's a trade off.. well same can be said for fat people.. fat today.. no pension or 24 hour care later as a burden.. meanwhile.. the long lived.. just drain society at both ends of the spectrum.. an no-one speaks a word...
     
  9. Mar 6, 2016 #9

    lucca23v2

    lucca23v2

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    thing is..health factors for fat people are the same as for thin. Fat people as well as thin people get heart attacks, cancer, have bone issues, mobility issues, etc. All of the things they point out as being "fat related" health issues, thin people get as well.

    The fact of the matter is, the government wants to spend less money on health care.. and they are targeting a group (fat people) because they know "society" will back them up.
     
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  10. Mar 16, 2016 #10

    HereticFA

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    The problem then is "they" (the arbiters of the public money systems) will then argue that we fat folks didn't pay as much into the public coffers during our working years as the thinner folks (due to well studied and documented lower incomes), thereby offsetting the differences in financial expenditures.

    All this underscores the underlying flaw of public safety net systems - human jealousy. The feeling of one group that some other group is taking an unfair share of the pooled resources, a sense of entitlement, or that they are forced to contribute more than they should have to. (Whether true or not.)
     
  11. Mar 23, 2016 #11

    Tracii

    Tracii

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    Another way for the governments to control you.
    Good for the common good of everyone................where have I heard that before?
    Karl Marx,Lenin etc.
     
  12. Mar 24, 2016 #12

    bigmac

    bigmac

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    Yes, but it remains a fact that these issues can be much harder to deal with when the patient is very fat.
     
  13. Mar 24, 2016 #13

    bigmac

    bigmac

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    Actually this is not true. The burden just comes earlier (and can last longer). Its not at all unusual for extremely obese people to spend many years dealing with increasingly expensive medical issues and disabilities. Its the number of years a person lives in a debilitated state that drives costs -- not the total number of years a person lives. A person who goes into an assisted living facility at 50 and dies at 60 costs more than a person who lives independently and dies at home at age 80.
     
  14. Mar 24, 2016 #14

    bigmac

    bigmac

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    I have no problem with sin taxes. A tax on soft drinks and chips isn't really any different than taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
     
  15. Mar 27, 2016 #15

    lucca23v2

    lucca23v2

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    Honestly, A fat person has medical conditions that the doctors would have to work around and doctors have to do that with thin people as well. As far as the medical thing, when it is a persons time to go, it is their time to go,fat or skinny. If you were meant to live past 80, you will do it whether you are 105lbs or 300lbs. Skinny and fat people can both have heart issues and blood pressure issues and diabetes, etc. That is where the medical costs will come into play.

    It is a matter of how fat people are viewed. in the 50's when it was perfectly ok to be of ample size, the doctors would constantly tell skinny people they had to gain weight because they would have difficulty with their health later on in life. Now that the tables are turned, it is bad to be fat because there will be consequences later on in life. The fact of the matter is, medical opinions change according to what society wants. There are scientific studies that show being thin is better and there are scientific studies that show that being skinny is a bad thing too. People have to learnt o listen to their own bodies. There is a perfect weight for everyone. For some it is at 110, for others their body feels the best at 200. Whatever weight it is that your body feels the best (most mobile, active and you have the most energy) at, that is the weight you should be at regardless of what the doctors and society say is the weight you should be at.
     
  16. Mar 28, 2016 #16

    bigmac

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    Yes thin people get sick too. But lets not bury our heads in the sand. Treating a sick and/or disabled 500 pound person can be a very difficult and expensive proposition. Doctors can and do deal with patients as they present themselves. However, that doesn't mean the work arounds are easy or cheap.
     

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