Opinion

Staff Editorial: The rich can’t buy everything

Health care is going to be expensive and the rich are going to pay for it. Taxes will rise on households making upwards of $250,000, and those making over a million will have to pay $46,000 a year by 2013.
Although it may be hard to sympathize with these wealthy individuals, they should not have to pay for the strain of the uninsured on the country’s health care system. These wealthy CEO’s are after all the ones running businesses paying millions of salaries, and are now expected to pay for their insurance, too. Will they be expected to set up government-mandated college funds for the less fortunate next?
Further, a leading cause of health complications is obesity, which has increased dramatically in the past 20 years, according to the Center for Disease Control. Coupled with inactivity, obesity is the main cause of diabetes, which cost Americans $12,000 a year in 2007, totalling $178 billion.
This is not to say that rich people do not have unhealthy habits. However, wealthy individuals should not be held responsible for the health deficiencies caused by lifestyle choices of others.
A way to more fairly distribute this tax would be by raising taxes on less nutritious foods like candy or fast food items with  certain fat and cholesterol contents.
As a result the people who routinely indulge in health hazardous choices and in effect cost the most in the health care system, will have already paid for a part of their treatment in advance.
This could be expanded to include taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, allotting the money for the treatment of diseases such as lung cancer and liver cirrhosis.
Taxes have been proven effective with cigarettes; a ten percent increase in price lowered consumption by three to five percent.
Another possible long-term benefit of raising these taxes is   discouraging people from consuming the taxable unhealthy foods, leading to healthier choices.  A healthy diet is a preventative treatment that doesn’t cost anything and reduces future complications.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.

March 24, 2010

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.