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- News & Events
- What about exercise to keep people healthy?
- Why should the government tell us what to eat?
- Will you fund drug X?
- Will you build more hospitals?
- I can't see how much you are investing in health. Come on bribe me! What's the number?
- How will the tax work?
AnswerWhen it comes to obesity and diabetes, studies show that exercise is about 20% of the problem. Diet is more like 80%. In fact most people offset exercise with 'treat' food so it ends up having zero benefit for our waistlines.You can read more on this issue here.
Our health system bears the costs when poor diet makes us unwell, so the taxpayer has skin in this game. Charging extra on unhealthy food can help pay for those costs, and offering rebates on healthy food makes it easier for people to make healthy eating choices. It's good for our health, as well as our national health budget.
That is up to Pharmac. Currently Pharmac makes funding decisions independently based on the health returns that different drugs provide. Pharmac works better when politicians don't interfere and try and tell them what to do, and we want to keep it like that. In fact, we want that model broadened over our whole health system so that we can be certain we are getting the best return on each dollar invested.
The future of healthcare isn't more hospitals, it is more prevention. Every dollar we spend on prevention gets four times the benefits we get from a dollar spent on hospitals. We need to care for people in their communities, and keep them out of hospital.
AnswerNo matter how much money Labour and National throw at the health system in coming years, we will not be able to meet the demand. In fact there is rationing in the health system already, and this will only grow in the future with an ageing population, increased demand for treatment, chronic disease and new technology. Every health system in the world is struggling, and ours is no exception.
What we can do to have better health outcomes - live longer healthier lives - is to invest more of our health budget in prevention. That is a much more effective use of our health budget, and it will give us better outcomes than increasing the amount of money we put in.At the same time we have to have a conversation about what we can realistically expect from our health system now and in the future. For example should we be investing more in invasive operations that keep people alive for a matter of weeks, or end of life care? TOP proposes citizens' assemblies to investigate these questions.
TOP will sit down with a panel of nutrition experts and improve the current front of pack labelling scheme so that we have a clear definition of junk food. Junk food will be labelled with a "red" traffic light style sticker, and for these foods advertising to children will be prohibited.
We will tax the junk food so that there is an average price rise of 20%. The revenue will be used to fund free dental for the poorest 20% of society, reducing GP visits to $10, and fruit and veg box schemes to provide affordable high quality foods.
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