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Let's Tax the Unhealthy to Pay for Healthcare Reform

2 Readers' Comments

Posted by: Emmett Brown

06/22/2010

Note also that the Epstein et al study  shows that you can increase the intake of vegetables with subsidies, which can  be matched on a "countervailing" basis to taxes on unhealthy foods.

Posted by: Emmett Brown

06/22/2010

Surely the main point of taxes on unhealthy behaviors is to reduce the incidence of that behavior by shifting incentives, not to force people with unhealthy behaviors to self-finance later care. Taxes on tobacco have been highly effective in reducing smoking rates, and recent studies show that price hikes reduce the consumption of sugared sodas and other unhealthy foods (reviewed inPowell et al. Food Prices and Obesity: Evidence and Policy Implications for Taxes and Subsidies. Milbank Quarterly, 2009; 87 (1): 229 DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00554.x, and see recently Duffey et al, Food Price and Diet and Health Outcomes: 20 Years of the CARDIA Study. Arch Intern Med, 2010; 170 (5): 420-426; Epstein et al, The Influence of Taxes and Subsidies on Energy Purchased in an Experimental Purchasing Study. Psychological Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/0956797610361446 ; and Block et al, "Point-of-Purchase Price and Education Intervention to Reduce Consumption of Sugary Soft Drinks", Am J Public Health, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.175687 ).

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