OBA: Track Whether Legislation Improves Health

October 3, 2018

World Diabetes Day is on November 14 and Minister of Health Kim Wilson “should proclaim this day as the launch of a national health screening programme funded with proceeds of the Sugar Tax,” according to Shadow Health Minister Susan Jackson.

Ms Jackson said, “The Customs Tariff Amendment [No. 2] Act 2018, better known as the Sugar Tax, was applauded by the Minister as a means to reduce sugar consumption and ‘tackle Bermuda’s obesity and chronic disease epidemics.’

sugar drink TC Bermuda Oct 3 2018

“The Minister stood in Parliament and proclaimed: “As the Government has indicated in the Budget Statement the additional revenue collected from the Sugar Tax will be earmarked for expanded, health promotion and disease prevention activities to encourage healthy lifestyles.’

“The Minister has further stated: ‘I can’t emphasize enough that these preventable, lifestyle-induced chronic diseases are crippling our country both physically and financially. We have to take action. Government is absolutely committed to leave no stone unturned to improve our people’s health.’

“Government’s Budget also stated that ‘a portion of the revenues from the Sugar Tax will be earmarked for educational programmes to improve health outcomes’. The tax starts at 50 percent and will rise to 75 percent and Government has estimated that in at the full rate, $10 million will be collected.

“A total population screening, prevention and management programme as suggested by a local expert would demonstrate government’s commitment, raise awareness and empower every person with a full understanding of individual health risks such as; heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, asthma, blindness, amputations and certain cancers.

“Additional examples of community investments for the sugar tax revenue might include; school athletic programmes and community recreational areas. Our Minister of Health is expected to advocate for the funding to ensure the sugar tax revenue is invested back into the community as promised in the Budget.

“However, it is no good setting up a programme without being able to measure it and, as I stated in the House, there should be a committee or council to ‘follow the data’ and track whether the legislation has improved health. If the Minister really wants to improve people’s health she must enact these ideas or the Sugar Tax is just a revenue-raiser.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Time Shall Tell says:

    Too many committees & councils already, all they do is cost the taxpayer even more money. The exact data you’re referring to is already tracked via the health statistics. The reflection of results from the sugar tax isn’t something that will immediately yield visible results, there are certain things that need to take place for this to work. One of which is to change the lifestyles of the targeted community, this tax is one deterrent. The potential drop in sales of sugary items would then push importers to offer healthier items that will be cheaper. Sugar alone is also not the sole contributor to diabetes so those factors will also have to be addressed. The resulting healthier community will, in turn, mean a drop in health insurance but by extension in an increase in the cost of pensions plus a larger hit on pensions as people live longer & collect longer. I guess the more you think on the topic the more of a balance is needed to be reached.

  2. Jt says:

    Tax mayonnaise!

  3. Own Mind says:

    Might I make a suggestion to the private citizens, organizations, and government officials that suggested, developed, passed and supported this initiative?

    Put OUR money where your mouth is.

    This initiative makes us pay as a penalty for the obesity and poor choices of a portion of Bermuda. It has been suggested that this is nothing more than a grab for additional taxes from the public. This suggestion has been vehemently denied by those pushing this initiative.

    If if this is truly not a grab for more money from the people of Bermuda and an a earnest attempt to encourage Bermudians to lose weight and embrace a healthier life style, why not go the next step.

    Remove all duty from all sports and exercise equipment.

    No duty on pedal cycles, weights, cricket equipment, football equipment, home gyms, electronic exercise monitors, water skis, scuba equipment, netball hoops, balls, spinning cycles, in short, everything.

    So, how committed are those that backed the sugar tax?
    Can we see the legislative changes required to remove duty on these items as quickly as we saw the legislation go forward to the sugar tax?

  4. Hehe says:

    With the oba scramble these last 2 weeks my health has improved with all the laughter I’ve seen coming from that party. X Opposition Leader Atherden stated the party was rebuilding but they forgot to include her and the other UBP members. LoL. Don’t worry Jean sit back and relax Craig Trump will get his turn to fail next election.

  5. Coffee says:

    Can’t believe the price of Harry’s sugar beets ! Can’t afford them anymore .