Fat people were first, let’s talk about the rest

In the spirit of the Valentine’s Day season I have decided to continue the discussion of my last article about people who store too much chocolate in their stomachs 365 days of the year and other people like them. My previous article ‘Time To Tax Fatties?’ was one of those pieces that sparked all three wonderful parts of the open market of free ideas: there were people who laughed and loved it, people who joined in the discussion around the topic, and people who criticised. But now, I am back to “bring more cancer to society” with another article, as one commentator on my last article elegantly put it.

The foundation for why I disagree with our current public healthcare system is based around the idea of why I, or people who reside in New Zealand, should be forced to pay for the negative consequences of others’ actions that lead them to a hospital bed. 

Why should we have to pay for a fatty’s heart condition when they’ve been filling their cupboard with Tim Tams and lollies?

Why should we have to pay for a criminal’s injuries when they crash a car while running from the police?

Why should we have to pay the hospital fee for a drug addict after they overdose when they’re using an illegal substance?

Why should we have to pay for someone’s lung cancer when they’ve been smoking for most of their life?

Well… actually, for the last one, smokers pay for themselves. How do they do this? They do this by paying large amounts of taxes on the tobacco and cigarettes they buy. These taxes make up three times the amount smokers cost in the healthcare system. So, essentially, they’re helping to pay for your hospital bill.

This time I would like to shine a broader light on the unjustifiable things we, as New Zealand residents, have to pay for in the public healthcare system. Then, in my next article, we will get down to some solutions for this daunting and costly obsession our government has with taking our money and giving it to someone else, and paying for the consequences of their choices.

You might be wondering how little these unjustifiable bills land on your doorstep each year, but the numbers may surprise you.

Between 1 June 2014 and 1 June 2015 just under 5000 people were admitted to hospital for alcohol or drug-related reasons, from liver disease caused by consuming copious amounts of alcohol to overdosing on cocaine.

Obese people exhaust over $700 million in the healthcare system per year, which is over 4% of the total healthcare budget.

80 people in 2016 alone were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when crashing their cars. 28% of those crashes were fatal. Why should I, or the New Zealand people, pay for the healthcare costs of anyone who chooses to drive illegally?

I want to be more thorough discussing a solution in my next article but, for now, I’ll give you some points to ponder.

The blubber guts of our country cost the taxpayer over $700 million per year. This is obscene. It could very well be time to invoke a fat tax in this country to offset the costs, just as we do with smokers. I would propose that we do as the Japanese do: create our version of the ‘metabo’ law, which takes an annual waist measurement of 40–75 year olds and taxes them accordingly if they’re overweight. This would not only remove the financial burden on the New Zealand people, but would also promote these walking meat rolls to become a reasonable size.

We could even tax someone who’s been in a car crash while intoxicated, after the incident happened. This would allow them to pay back what was spent on their recovery. The New Zealand people would then become a loan policy, rather than a net to fall on. Although, I would still need to pay the same amount in taxes to provide that net.

There is one more solution, which would allow the people of New Zealand to take responsibility for themselves, while reducing the tax rate to put more money in your back pocket. But, I’ll discuss that in the next article.

Helping our neighbours and putting each other in front of ourselves is the New Zealand way. We pride ourselves on our willingness to help others, and we see faces of surprise when people from other countries come to visit and see our willingness to do so.

But, my concern is that we are being taken advantage of. People know that we’re willing to assist, and because of this they don’t feel the need to take personal responsibility. It’s like saying, “We will take care of you with our tax money, no matter what you need, and pay for the negative consequences of your actions,” instead of encouraging you to take responsibility yourself. I don’t find this acceptable. Do you?


-James Davidson

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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.