Better Fiscal Policy for Health

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Non-communicable diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, are the leading cause of the death in low- and middle-income countries. Many of these deaths could be avoided by reducing smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and high-sugar diets. CGD aims to advance understanding of this problem by developing evidence-based fiscal policy solutions, including pro-health excise taxes. 

CGD was the secretariat for The Task Force for Fiscal Policies for Health, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg and Lawrence Summers. It was convened in 2018 to put forward recommendations on how countries can use excise taxes to raise the prices of harmful products, reduce consumption, save lives, and raise revenues. It culminated in the publication of the final Task Force report. CGD has since continued to push forward the recommendations of the report by engaging and convening policy makers and pushing for international financial institutions to progress the agenda.  

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, a fiscal, debt, and health financing crisis has emerged in most low- and middle-income countries, opening up a new policy window for progress on health taxes. In 2024, CGD will reconvene a new version of the Task Force to promote effective pro-health fiscal policies in low- and middle- income countries. In addition to a steady stream of background papers and Task Force member convenings, the project will culminate in a new, updated final Task Force report, which will call for a renewed global effort to reform health taxes to catch the current post-COVID policy window.