Let’s tax junk food to fund health care

Universal health care, as it is provided now in Canada, is unsustainable if we consider the changing demographics of baby boomers becoming a tsunami of seniors.

Universal health care, as it is provided now in Canada, is unsustainable if we consider the changing demographics of baby boomers becoming a tsunami of seniors. Consequently, all levels of government will have to struggle with hard decisions about what to cut and what to keep. But rather than just looking at the cuts, are they also looking at pro-active methods of reducing health care costs, by reducing junk food consumption?

Just imagine if junk food were taxed at the same levels as gas for your car?

What if the government slapped on a 30, 40 or 70 per cent health tax surcharge on pop, chips, candy, burgers, fries? What if eating junk food became phenomenally expensive instead of being the cheapest and least healthy option out there.

And what if nutritious food purchases were tax deductible?

Just imagine being able to write off a few thousand dollars worth of fruits, vegetables, dairy produce and meat every year – just imagine if there were additional incentive deductions for buying Canadian!

Obesity leads to many chronic conditions, and chronic conditions cost the system a fortune.

Almost one fourth of Canadians are risk of these due to obesity and “people with chronic conditions use health-care services more often and more intensively than do those without, and the intensity of service use increases as the numbers of conditions go up.

The problem with the present health-care system is that there is no built-in contract of personal responsibility for your own health. Therefore, a person can smoke or drink or drive like a maniac all they want – eat burgers every day of the week, wash it down with big gulp drinks that can feature up to 52 spoonfuls of sugar (five times the daily recommended dose of sugar), and then when they get sick or have joint problems due to obesity – hey, it’s up to their fellow taxpayers to finance their wellness program.

And unfortunately, the medical system does not provide wellness programs for chronic abusers of health.

It provides drugs, stitches, surgery, recommendations and more treatments. But there is little or no behaviour modification program built in to the “wellness plan” of the health service consumer to train them to act in a more responsible, healthy way.

Whoa, you say. That would be infringing on a person’s civil liberties, but why should other taxpayers have to finance the consequences of reckless diets?

I do not believe that this was the intent of the originators of our health care system.

It was understood then, that people would generally be healthy, and if not, they would be helped without financial burden.

But today, almost the reverse is true. Most of our eating and exercise habits contribute to poor health – but the health care system is the only body responsible for fixing it.

With our nanny state mentality, we believe that big government and big health care have to make us all healthy, no matter what our ailment, and certainly no matter how much we may have caused it.

Of course, many unfortunate people fall ill or suffer from conditions that have nothing to do with their lifestyle or actions – but these are in the minority when compared to those who actively ruin their health by pumping their mouths full of sugar, salt and fat.

Michelle Stirling-Anosh is a Ponoka freelance columnist.

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month