Health Conscious People Deserve a Tax Break
I think we have a very good health care system and it has been very good to me and most people I know. The problem is that it is really not a health care system but more of sickness care system.
A large majority of the people who frequent health food stores are very careful about getting the healthiest nutrients in their diet. They spend extra money to obtain the very best organic fruits and vegetables; they supplement their diet with good quality products from the health food store such as Vitamin D, multivitamins and omega-3 fish oils; they may spend extra money to belong to a gym and work out on a regular basis; they make a concentrated effort to manage their different conditions such as arthritis or digestive problems with natural supplements rather than use expensive prescription drugs and by doing this they have a lot less visits to their physicians. And yet, in spite of the fact that these people are much healthier than most and use the health care system the least, are any of these extra costs incurred by them paid for by our government? Of course not. But I ask you why not?
Did you know that the people who do take very good care of themselves, exercise regularly, eat good food and purchase supplements represent only 10 per cent of our population. The other 90% are the ones that really run up the costs of illness and sick care in this country.
They don’t exercise, don’t really care about what they eat, cannot be bothered to try health supplements and many of them even smoke. I’m not saying that these people should not receive excellent care for their conditions, but I am saying that the rest of us should get a tax break for not abusing the system.
Most of our health care dollars are spent on people with Type 2 diabetes, a disease which is totally reversible with a good diet and exercise. They spend decades taking more and more medications for their blood pressure, their blood sugar and their cholesterol and they only get worse and worse. Eventually the kidneys become damaged and this affects their heart. Their eyes get worse and worse from the diabetic neuropathy and all of these conditions require not only regular physician visits but many specialist visits and even stays in the hospital. We cover low income people and seniors for most prescription drugs, the majority of which do nothing but prolong illnesses. If a pill can control your blood pressure, why should you change your diet and exercise? Just take a pill. If two pills can control your blood sugar levels again why should you diet and exercise? The system does not encourage you to make yourself healthy because if you do there is no immediate reward, except good health in your aging years. Unfortunately, for the majority of people, the prospect of being very healthy without the use of drugs is just too much work. They will not look down the road. I think it is time for a change to our tax system.
A New Taxation System
If I were running this country, these are some of the changes I would make. I would look at the population the way life insurance companies do and provide incentives for being healthy.
In the first place, all of us non-smokers should get an automatic tax deduction. Smokers cost the system billions to repair their hearts with bypasses for clogged arteries and all the aneurisms they incur and the cost of taking care of them when they come down with lung cancer. Insurance companies give non-smokers a better rate. Our government should appreciate how much less we use the health care system because we do not smoke and give us at least a $1000 deduction.
If we had a good year and had less than 3 emergency room visits and just saw our physicians for check- ups and tests then we should get another $1000 deduction.
The total cost of all our supplements should be deductible from our income tax because most of us use very little prescription drugs. Our gym memberships should be tax-deductible because they also keep us in good health.
If your BMI (body mass index) was less than 28, take another $1000 deduction because this means you are not obese and not likely to be afflicted with all the illnesses of the obese.
If Barry’s new tax code would come into effect, it would not just mean less taxes for the healthy but it would provide an incentive for the rest of the population to make an effort and get healthier. If you could save yourself thousands of dollars in income tax you would make a concentrated effort to quit smoking, eat healthy, lose weight and get in shape. Our whole society would be healthier, live longer and the cost of sickness care would go down by billions of dollars. There would be a lot more dollars in the system to pay for mental illness which actually affects 20% of our population. Of course with all these healthy people living longer, our government will be paying out Canada Pension and Old Age Security for many more years. But isn’t that a better way to spend the money?
As we gather our receipts and T-4’s and T-5’s this time of year, we can dream about how nice the world would be if Barry’s tax code was adopted by our new government.