Incentives for Unhealthy Lifestyles

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Bucking the national trend of providing incentives for healthy lifestyles, my home state New Jersey recently passed a new state budget that includes a tax on health club memberships, among other revenue generating tactics.

Never mind the political reasons why there is a revenue shortfall in New Jersey (mostly attributed to home rule) and that this will only cost me about $50 a year. I still find it reprehensible. While the rest of the country is putting more healthcare responsibility in the hands of consumers, New Jersey is making consumers pay for it.

Where’s the logic here? Healthcare costs are increasing in large part due to chronic conditions that are caused by lifestyle choices. Why increase the cost to consumers for choosing to engage in activities that can only improve their health? Why not tax cigarettes, alcohol and high-fat foods? To me that’s a whole lot more digestible.

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