Taxing Soda and Pizza to Combat Obesity?

This courtesy of Reuters today:

“CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. researchers estimate that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda can push down U.S. adults’ calorie intake enough to lower their average weight by 5 pounds (2 kg) per year.The researchers, writing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday, suggested taxing could be used as a weapon in the fight against obesity, which costs the United States an estimated $147 billion a year in health costs.”
We had written about this proposal once before here at the Allen School Online blog, when the proposed tax was put forth in New York State.  Now it seems the idea has taken hold nationwide.  I can sort of see the value in taxing sodas, which contain ungodly quantities of sugar in a single serving.  I might suggest taxing all items that contain high fructose corn syrup (but that will never fly because our government pays huge subsidies to corn farmers to produce this deadly sugar.)  Furthermore, soda is sold by all restaurants and groceries so a tax on soda would at least be equitably distributed across all foodservice and sales businesses.  However, I draw the line of fairness at singling out pizza for additional taxation.  What, do obese people not overeat fried chicken?  Chinese food buffet?  Ice cream sundaes? Why discriminate against pizzeria owners for this new tax?  Eating pizza specifically is not the only driver of obesity.I could live with a soda tax,but to start singling out individual foods for additional taxation is a very bad idea.  What do you think?

Obama Lifts AIDS/HIV Immigration Ban

aids080It was announced today that President Obama has reversed a deeply immoral and perverse policy that has been in effect for the last 22 years.  For the last two decades, if you had AIDS or HIV, you were precluded from entering the USA.  This neanderthal policy, according to Obama, was at odds with our efforts at becoming thought leaders in the fight against HIV.  In light of advancements in treatment of HIV and AIDS it was even more silly for the US to continue the ban.  It kept us in the company of notoriously regressive countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya.  I support this change.  How do you feel about this?  Sound off in the comments.

Woefully Inadequate Healthcare Reform Bill Passes in Senate

pigs_troughI am disgusted with the passage of the Senate healthcare “reform” bill over the weekend. Besides the inclusion of severe restrictions on womens’ rights to abortions which sets back womens’ rights by 25 years, it also passed without any public option or Medicare buy-in. What’s left is a giveaway to the pigs at a trough that I like to refer to as the “death by spreadsheet” industry. Trying hard to believe the spin from Democratic leadership that this is an historic advancement and not a steaming pile of unmentionable garbage? Follw me over the fold for proof that the American people have just been royally screwed over. Continue reading…

Don’t Let Heartburn Hurt Your Holidays

Guest Blogger – Zippi Dvash, Asst. VP of Public Affairs for Long Island College Hospital

heartburnHeartburn is a “burning” problem for over 60 million Americans each month. Recent surveys show that 66% of people experience heartburn symptoms after splurging on food and alcohol, such as the large meals, rich desserts and alcohol consumed around Christmas and New Year celebrations.  Do you suffer from this problem?  Follow me below the fold for some useful information. Continue reading…


Vaccinated Burger With Cheese Anyone?

in-n-out-animal-styleAccording to the New York Times, the beef industry has initiated no less than 52 recalls of beef for contamination with E. Coli and other harmful bacteria.  It seems like we hear stories with more startling regularity about how our food supply is inadequately monitored leading to sickness and death.  Remember the tainted spinach last year?  The deadly burgers from Jack in the Box the year before?  Well, there are some interesting developments on the horizon that may make your double double “animal style” a little less likely to kill you.  Follow me over the fold for the “meat” of this story (sorry, couldn’t resist on a Friday afternoon). Continue reading…

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Blood!

blood-driveGuest Blogger – Zippi Dvash Asst. VP of Public Affairs Long Island College Hospital

Our blood supply needs constant replenishment, since the need for blood never takes a vacation.  Statistics say that nine out of ten people will need blood some time in their lives and that one out of every ten hospital patients requires a transfusion. 

Long Island College Hospital, in conjunction with the Brooklyn /Staten Island Blood Center will hold a blood drive on Monday, December 7th, 2009.  More information about times and locations after the jump. Continue reading…


Music Video Supports Breast Cancer Awareness

pink-glovesEmily Somers created, directed and choreographed this awesome music video in Portland last week for her Medline surgical glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help promote their new pink gloves. I don’t know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot of fun doing it. Follow me over the fold for a really groovy video… Continue reading…

Get Your H1N1 Vaccine NOW

h1n1-vaccineGuest Blogger – Zippi Dvash Asst. VP of Public Affairs Long Island College HospitalYoung, healthy people don’t get sick very often.  But the flu is different.  In fact, the difference between a little bit of fever and a flu is like the difference between a bird and a gorilla.  This flu, the H1N1 virus, has claimed more young victims than any other in recent memory.  So if you hadn’t considered getting vaccinated before – think again.  Follow me below to read why you ought to vaccinate and where you can get it today.  Continue reading…

Follow the Money Redux

goldman_sachs_logo_0411A while back I posted several pieces here and here about how an observer could gauge the relative chances of significant healthcare being passed by Congress, simply by looking at the share prices of publicly traded health insurance companies like Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, United Healthcare and others. Well, if anyone doubted that Wall Street was actually in a position to influence these things, follow me over the fold for iron clad proof that Wall Street wants reform to fail. Continue reading…

Forbes Publishes “Most Toxic Cities in US” List

polutionForbes Magazine published a list of the most and least toxic cities in the US to live in.  As a New Yorker and something of an environmentalist, I was surprised to learn we are not on the “Most” list.  Even more surprised to find us on the “Least” list.  Anyway, for those considering a move after graduation or a new city to launch your new career, keep this in mind when weighing quality of life against availablity of employment.  List after the jump… Continue reading…