|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2010
Soda Tax Would Fight Obesity and
Statement by HHC President Alan D. Aviles
Help Prevent Further State Cuts to Public Hospitals
in support of proposed tax on high sugar beverages
The proposed penny-per-ounce tax on heavily sweetened sodas and beverages will be a double benefit to the city's public hospital system.
First, a tax increase would discourage consumption, help stem the growing obesity epidemic, and help reduce the long-term costs associated with caring for obesity-related conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Second, the projected new annual revenue will also bring much needed support to the healthcare safety net serving low-income New Yorkers. Without this new source of revenue, the State Medicaid program could face additional cuts, which would disproportionately impact HHC and seriously threaten our capacity to fulfill our mission.
HHC is the largest provider of healthcare services to uninsured New Yorkers in the State of New York. The economic downturn has increased dramatically the number of uninsured patients seeking our services. At the same time, HHC is receiving nearly $240 million less in annual Medicaid revenue as a result of three successive years of state budget cuts, and we face another cut of $70 million in health care funding in the Governors proposed budget beginning in April 2010.
We hope the State Legislature will approve this tax to improve the health status of New Yorkers and support the financial health of the public healthcare safety net.
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