Marco Wanderwitz, a conservative member of parliament for the German state of Saxony, said it is unfair and unsustainable for the taxpayer to carry the entire cost of treating obesity-related illnesses in the public health system.Wanderwitz would create a backwards system that provides healthcare to all then capriciously limits care to lessen the cost burden to the state. the state is the master and state objectives supersede individual freedom. To keep costs low, the government would tax one unhealthy behavior, weight.
"I think that it would be sensible if those who deliberately lead unhealthy lives would be held financially accountable for that," Wanderwitz said, according to Reuters.
Obesity adds to an individual’s health risk, but what about eating too much salt, riding motorcycles, engaging in unprotected casual sex. I could go on; exactly half of our activities are more medically costlier than average. Higgins quotes Jurgen Wasem who makes just this point.
Health economist Jurgen Wasem called for Germany to tackle the problem of fattening snacks in order to raise money and reduce obesity.Wasem taxes get closer to a socially optimal solution if all citizens are homogenous, but they are not, and if one believes that the state has the responsibility to prod, prick and poke citizens to conform to state objectives. Higgins continues
"One should, as with tobacco, tax the purchase of unhealthy consumer goods at a higher rate and partly maintain the health system," Wasem said, according to Germany's English-language newspaper The Local. "That applies to alcohol, chocolate or risky sporting equipment such as hang-gliders."
Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, described the idea of a fat tax as "not humane." He told AOL News that lifestyle is not the only factor in obesity, with both genetics and urban environments playing major roles.Assuming that the average citizen knows as much about health risks as government regulators and more about their own risk characteristics, a market system of healthcare better prices all discernable risk. The government, with the consent of its citizens could still maintain the flexibility of markets by establishing medical savings accounts backed up by a catastrophic insurance policy for all citizens. While the freedom of individuals to spend their own earnings is violated, at least the violation would minimize the loss of freedom and the cost to the taxpayer.
"It's not fair to tax somebody just for being obese," Willett said. "Most people who are obese would prefer not to be so."