Additional taxes on soft drinks may lower health insurance rates

A new report published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that adding state taxes to the cost of soft drinks may not only lead to fewer health problems, but also cut the amount of money spent to cover those medical issues through Medicare and Medicaid programs.

A new report published by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that adding state taxes to the cost of soft drinks may not only lead to fewer health problems, but also cut the amount of money spent to cover those medical issues through Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Many studies referenced in the report explicitly linked the consumption of soft drinks to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes among other illnesses. One Nurses' Health study that followed 88,520 women found that the risk of coronary heart disease among those who consumed one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per day increased by 23 percent when compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.

Additionally, having two servings or more per day increased the risk by 35 percent.

The study also found that medical care associated with obesity cost an estimated $147 billion, accounting for 9.1percent of U.S. health care expenditures, and that half of the costs were paid through Medicare and Medicaid.

The taxes proposed in the survey, which would either add an excise tax of one cent per ounce for beverages that have any added caloric sweetener or tax beverages that "exceed a threshold of grams of added caloric sweetener or of kilocalories per ounce," would allegedly reduce caloric intake by up to two percent per year and have a "marked impact on health in all age groups."

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Posted: September 18, 2009

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