Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.
What does the just-passed Republican tax bill mean for most older adults? It’s mostly bad news, advocates say. Many provisions are likely to lead to more out of pocket costs, an especially serious problem for those on fixed incomes.
The House and Senate this week finally passed major tax reform and sent their bill to President Donald Trump for his signature. We’ve posted a revised tip sheet about the legislation that reflects final provisions impacting health care issues.
In general, the final bill looks more like the Senate version than the House’s where health and the health sector are concerned. That is generally good for health care consumers, providers and universities, except – and it’s a big, big except – for an effective repeal of the individual mandate. Continue reading →
The House and the Senate both have passed tax bills which have provisions that will deeply affect health care, ranging from the repeal of the individual mandate to repeal of a tax credit meant to help businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Since the bills are not identical, the final legislation must first be negotiated in a conference committee. Not all the provisions will survive, although the final bill most likely will more closely resemble the Senate version, which includes repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Continue reading →
The debate on soda taxes is back, this time in Philadelphia.
City leaders there want to charge 1.5 cents for every ounce of soda sold in a move aimed at not just discouraging sugary drink consumption but also to help fund a range of initiatives such as expanded prekindergarten and library renovations, according to media reports. Continue reading →
Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at email@example.com.
In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 elections, Tom Lochner covered the debate over soda tax questions on the ballots in Berkeley and San Francisco. When the results became clear, he reported on the outcome for the Contra Costa Times.
In this Q&A, Lochner offers his insights into how the historic vote in Berkeley unfolded, why the soda tax didn’t pass in San Francisco and he shares a few words of wisdom for reporters who may find themselves covering soda tax debates in their own communities.
Berkeley’s penny-an-ounce tax passed in spite of heavy opposition from the American Beverage Association. Bourque predicted a sea change in the air. “The tides have turned on Big Soda.”
In this Q&A, Lochner offers his insights into how the historic vote in Berkeley unfolded and he shares a few words of wisdom with reporters who may find themselves covering soda tax debates in their own communities.
With a classic tale of powerful established interests, millions and millions of dollars and savvy lobbying, Chicago Tribune reporters Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger draw our attention to the news vacuum that has formed where debate over a sugary drink tax used to be. From its optimistic beginnings to its eventual slow strangulation, Hamburger and Geiger track the rise and fall of the push to tax sugary drinks in order to discourage poor dietary choices and help fund health care reform.
The reporters do a wonderful job of chronicling every lobbying pressure point pushed by the industry, from faux grassroots to industry alliances to muli-million-dollar advertising campaigns. Here’s a small sample of their overview:
The White House has dismissed the idea, however, even after President Barack Obama had expressed interest last summer. A key congressional committee, though initially seeming receptive, ended up refusing to consider it. Several minority advocacy groups, including some committed to fighting obesity, lined up against the tax after years of receiving financial support from the industry.
Meanwhile, beverage lobbyists attacked several nutrition scientists, accusing them of bias and distorting available evidence. The beverage industry also financed research that reached conclusions favorable to its position.