Last year, I went to Cape Coral, Fla., only to discover that KFC actually has all-you-can-eat versions of their restaurants — as if America really needs a no-limits fried chicken and mashed potato buffet.
It’s exactly this kind of gluttony that has Senate leaders considering imposing taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of our health-care system.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the medical costs for obesity alone are estimated to be $147 billion. That’s 9.1% of U.S. health-care expenditures, with half these costs paid for publicly through Medicare and Medicaid.
President Obama was recently quoted as saying, “When it comes to health-care spending, we are on an unsustainable course that threatens the financial stability of families, businesses and government itself.”
With that much money being spent on a line item so preventable, it makes one wonder why we’re debating health-care reform in Congress and not dietary reform at our dinner tables.
The report in the medical journal also states that revenue generated from a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would be considerable and could be used to help support childhood nutrition programs, obesity-prevention programs, health care for the uninsured or to help meet general revenue needs. A national tax of 1-cent per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages would raise $14.9 billion in the first year alone, according to the report.