Sugary beverage warning stalled over $400,000 bill
by Brian Leubitz
That number you read above is not missing any zeros. Apparently the policy decision to help reduce diabetes fell to a bill of less than half a million dollars, which in the grand scheme of obesity costs, is quite small.
A state bill that would require health-warning labels on sugar-added drinks and sodas in California was sidelined Monday for further review of its enforcement costs even though its author argued that it would cut costs to taxpayers in the long term by reducing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.
The Senate Appropriations Committee moved SB 1000 to the suspense file. Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) said he will work to reduce the $390,000 in immediate costs of enforcement for his measure so it can be revived for a floor vote. (LA Times)
Can it be really argued that the net expense of this will be positive for the state? Dialysis and other diabetes care is rapidly becoming one of the biggest expenses to our health care system. A single patient on dialysis can cost around $75,000 per year. $390,000 vs even a small handful of reduced diabetes cases would be a huge savings to the state. Expand that out to the entire state, and we could see significants savings.
Yet the beverage companies, specifically the two large soda companies, are in no mood to see such regulation. They don’t want to break the myth of having a good time with a refreshing beverage, or “quenching your thirst” with a “sports drink.” But with the threat of a soda tax in San Francisco, any small crack in the armor is not something that the beverage industry can tolerate. All this despite the fact that big majorities of likely voters favor the warnings.
Even if it would save lives, in today’s climate, the corporate bottom line takes priority.