[FoRK] Accidental theorist lost, wanted back

HK Pang hkpang at gmail.com
Fri Jul 17 11:26:49 PDT 2009

On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 12:03 PM, Bill Stoddard<wgstoddard at gmail.com> wrote:
> HK Pang wrote:
>> If better fitness leads to better health and lower health care cost.
>> So why not give out some tax incentives? There are many ways to
>> penalize bad habits (like cigarette tax) but no enough to reward good
>> habits.  For better or worse, money is a great motivator for lots of
>> people.
>> Here are some situations I can think of:
>> 1) make all fitness/recreational memberships and fees tax deductible
>> 2) make all fitness/recreational equipments tax dedictible
>> 3) make 'healthy' foods tax deductible
>> 4) give tax credit for verifiable exercise (like record of gym attendence
>> etc)
>> 5) give tax credit for losing weight or maintaining healthy weight
>> (certified by doctor)
>> 6) give tax credit for people who volunteer a drug test report.
>> 7) give tax credit for people who pass a fitness test (relative to the
>> test taker's own fitness level)
>> 8) give tax credit for people who use less medical services (certified
>> by insurnance co.)
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> Government programs.. all of them... are subject to gaming in ways
> completely counter to the original intent of the program.  What this means
> in practice is that there is a practical limit to how fine grained programs
> like this can be;  there simply is not enough time or energy to plug all the
> ways of gaming fine grained programs.     Government, to be reasonably
> efficient, must be as coarse grained as possible. Nice idea, but not
> implementable in a reasonable way, imho.

I have no idea of what it takes to get something passed in congress.
But the actual implementation is quite easy as it can rolled out to
existing plans.

For the tax deductible items, there is already a tax deductible plan
called flexible health spending which is currently limited to eligible
drugs and medical payments and administrated by third parties. It
shouldn't be too hard to add more items to the eligibility list.

For the tax credit items, I don't see how they are any different from
child care credit, energy credit, educational credit etc. The IRS
already knows how to handle these.

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