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Report: ‘Cutting the fat’ with new tax may help healthcare costs


NEW YORK Health experts have long since pinpointed obesity as a major culprit in such chronic diseases as hypertension and diabetes. But obesity burdens non-obese people as well, and a new report by a Washington think-tank proposes a fat tax to counteract the problem.

The report, by the Urban Institute and the University of Virginia, notes that workers with private health insurance pay $26 billion more in premiums due to costs generated by their obese coworkers, and half of the $200 billion in healthcare costs spent on obesity every year falls on taxpayers.

The report’s authors suggest imposing an excise tax on fattening foods, requiring restaurant chains to include nutrition information on their menus and banning the advertising and marketing of junk food. This, the authors wrote, would help bring down the cost of health care and raise $530 billion in revenues over the next 10 years.

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