Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Combat obesity with fat tax (NOT!!!)

 Combat obesity with 'fat' tax (Not)

My reply to Combat obesity with 'fat' tax :
Dr Lam must be Sinkies politician, always finding excuses to use the stick to make $$$. Can I suggest an annual reward (/carrot) system like for NSmen IPPT but physical fitness test is run by private companies: if a certain grade is met, then a certain cash stipend is paid. This grade can be in the form of cholesterol levels, diabetes state, smoker/nonsmoker, blood pressure, BMI, time taken to run 2.4km/ swim 1km or stationary cycle 20km/ sit ups in 2 minutes or skipping 3mins/ wheelchair spinning 2.4km etc: a total score (lab test plus fitness test) stratified according to age. Everyone gets the same stipend, ~$300/annum, however, only those with good results get it in cash, the rest/ absentees get it as medisave top-ups vs cash with medisave top-ups in greater proportion. Those with spectacular results (top 33%) get a small cash bonus e.g. $100 more for their efforts and setting a good example for the rest.

Three chances to take the physical test and the annual blood tests at polyclinic are FOC, anything else is chargeable and people take the physical fitness test at their own risk (just pon the thingie if afraid, then all cash 'health incentive' goes 100% to medisave)

Those who cannot do any of the aerobic activities including the wheel chair option perhaps shouldn't object to the medisave top up. Guess if medisave is topped up to certain limit, than Edusave is topped up and eventually the guy gets (unlikely) overflow in $$$.

All food is taxed already under 7% GST, difficult to impose sugar/ fat vices tax: ICA already has problems stopping people from sneaking in, don't give them extra headache.

With this preventive health scheme, $300 from medisave p.a. can be claimed on preventive healthcare reform including authorised gym membership and fees for other health activities: e.g. $20 sponsorship of sports activity/ 100% payment for govt dietitian/ physio visits etc.

Budget expense $$$ calculations:
SG population (2013)= ~3.313million, PR=531,200. Suppose each Singaporean receives $300, upper 1/3 get $100 bonus, PR get half of anything Singaporean gets,
Population strength value= 3.5786million.
Total annual budget cost= 3.5786million X $333 = $1191.6738million.
Healthcare spending to hit S$12b by 2020, says Tharman
The government's projected healthcare spending is expected to triple to S$12 billion a year by 2020, up from S$4 billion in 2011. Healthcare spending, he said, will reach S$8 billion in 2015 -- a year earlier than what had initially been projected.
Given that gahmen healthcare spending is set to "hit $8billion by 2015", I guess spending $1.192 billion on preventive healthcare is perhaps peanuts in this respect, (rather than hit "S$12 billion a year by 2020")
The Straits Times, Published on Apr 01, 2014
Combat obesity with 'fat' tax
ONE in eight people in the world is undernourished, yet people in affluent nations like Singapore are wasting food, at the retail and consumer stages, at an alarming rate ("More food going to waste"; March 19).
Another big problem is overindulgence in food, leading to obesity.
The obesity epidemic has become a worldwide phenomenon. Singapore has not been spared - our adult obesity rate increased from 6.9 per cent in 2004 to 10.8 per cent in 2010.
Obesity is a major cause of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. If the obesity epidemic is allowed to grow unfettered, it will take a toll on our health-care system.
The weakest link in our fight against obesity is complacency - mainly because the condition does not kill someone quickly and easily.
The Health Promotion Board has done its utmost to encourage healthy eating through public education and collaboration with the food and beverage industry to provide healthier options.
But gorging is still common in food centres, fast-food outlets and eat-all-you-can buffets.
In tandem with existing efforts, a "sugar" and "fat" tax of at least 20 per cent to 30 per cent ought to "shock" Singaporeans into changing their eating habits.
Taxes on vices are not new - we already have high tobacco and alcohol taxes.

Taxing unhealthy food, such as sugary drinks and junk food, will hopefully induce people to opt for healthier food, which needs to be cheaper than unhealthy food.
The marketing of unhealthy food, much of which are addictive, also needs to be controlled, similar to measures against the advertising of cigarettes and alcohol.
Food supply chains need to adhere uniformly to health guidelines.
Singaporeans must be convinced that reducing the prevalence of obesity will significantly cut their future medical costs and universal health insurance premiums.
Let us learn the lessons of tobacco use - the ill effects of smoking were discovered 50 years ago, and it was only decades later that our Government took action - rather belatedly.
In short, take the scourge of obesity seriously - now.
Edmund Lam (Dr)
Copyright © 2014 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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