Monday, September 15, 2008

Lib Dem health policy... to tax the poor?

The latest wheeze from the LibDems is for tax breaks for people leading healthy lifestyles. I assume that this is to penalise those who don't follow them, so why do the LibDems think this moves them away from a 'Stalinist' approach?

Norman Lamb seems to be looking for health care taxation that is heading towards insurance based systems.

Health and healthy lifestyles are correlate closely with wealth, i.e. the richer you are the healthier you will be and the more likely to have the appropriate health behaviours that will attract lower taxes. Lamb is talking about a points system for check ups, screening and exercise taken.

This seems completely regressive, and while I'm sure the Lib Dems think it will change behaviours (and it would have a small effect initially), this tax regime would predominately give tax breaks to the rich. The rich get richer and the poverty gap widens from its already yawning chasm.

Poor health is influenced heavily by the relative gap in wealth. Widening it will make the health gap bigger.

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