Vol. XLIV No. 2

Saving on Health Care While Protecting the Planet: An Examination of Massachusetts’ Proposed Carbon Tax and Its Impact on the Hospital Industry

Abstract: Climate change has negative implications not only for the environment, but also for human health. Human greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions are a major contributor to climate change and therefore we must curb our behavior to save the planet and ourselves. Following the economic principle of the First Law of Demand, a carbon tax incentivizes polluters to reduce emissions by increasing the cost of emission producing goods. British Columbia has demonstrated that carbon taxes are effective mechanisms to curb GHG emissions. Massachusetts, therefore, has proposed a carbon tax to help achieve its established GHG reduction goals. In addition, the Commonwealth’s proposed tax also aligns with the national goal of making health care coverage more affordable and accessible. In fact, the carbon tax’s employment-based redistribution scheme is predicted to benefit hospitals by leaving them with a net financial gain. Thus, Massachusetts’ proposal would simultaneously benefit two national goals: slowing global warming and minimizing health care costs.

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