Nets Advance Taxing Big Soda to Pay for ObamaCare
Published: 7/27/2009 11:45 PM ET
In highlighting a new study which found $147 billion a year is spent on obesity-related health care and obese people spend $1,400 more a year for health services, ABC and CBS on Monday night couldn't resist interjecting a plug for imposing a tax on soda to bring in revenue to pay for ObamaCare.
ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi asserted "health officials seem to like the idea of a federal soda tax" since "adding a tax of three cents a can to high-calorie sodas could generate $24 billion over the next four years," and while "opponents argue Americans won't tolerate another tax," supporters "say it could cut health care costs and America's ever- expanding bottom line, all at once."
Following a full CBS Evening News story on the obesity report, anchor Katie Couric set up a story on the tax idea: "Now, some believe another way to help pay for health care reform is to put a tax on one of the causes of obesity: soft drinks full of sugar. Nancy Cordes has more on that." Cordes began: "Americans consume roughly 250 more calories everyday than they did in the '70s and half those calories come from sugary drinks, which is why some health advocates are urging Congress to help pay for health care reform with a tax on non-diet sodas..."
NBC Nightly News managed to run a full story on the obesity report without mentioning putting a tax on soda.
Of course, if the tax did lead to less soda consumption, tax revenue to pay for ObamaCare would fall
From the end of Alfonsi's July 27 World News story on the obesity study:
....Health officials seem to like the idea of a federal soda tax. They say we consume about 250 more calories a day than we did just 20 years ago and most of those calories are from the soda can. Adding a tax of three cents a can to high-calorie sodas could generate $24 billion over the next four years. Opponents argue Americans won't tolerate another tax. Still, supporters say it could cut health care costs and America's ever- expanding bottom line, all at once. Sharyn Alfonsi, ABC News, New York.- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center