Sugar Tax may help pay for health care reform - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/16/09

Sugar Tax may help pay for health care reform

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By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A tax on sugar may help make America healthier by drinking fewer or smaller sodas.  The New England Journal of Medicine has published a report suggesting that just a penny an ounce tax on sodas and sugary drinks, even juices, could raise nearly $15-billion a year for health care reform. 

Dr. Walter Willett, who is for the tax and author of Harvard School of Public Health said, "It's only fair that people consuming these beverages help share the cost of the diseases that they're putting upon themselves."

On the opposing side, Susan Neely, with the American Beverage Association says, "The sale of regular soft drinks has been going down over the last ten years, 9%.  At the same time, the obesity rate has been rising, so I don't see the corollary."

Arkansas and West Virginia already have sugar taxes, but still have one of the highest obesity rates in the country.  Even so, proponents of the tax believe that just like cigarette taxes have encouraged less smoking, taxes on sodas will reduce consumption.

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