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Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health

The Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health was convened in 2018 to address the growing global burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Co-chaired at its founding by Mike Bloomberg and economist Larry Summers, and composed of fiscal policy, development, and health leaders from around the world, the Task Force works to draw attention to the role of fiscal policies to address the growing burden of NCDs worldwide.

NCDs are the leading cause of death in the world, killing more than 40 million people each year. Seventy-seven percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, imposing a strain on health care systems, contributing to poverty, and obstructing development. Tobacco use, obesity, and alcohol consumption are three leading risk factors for the development of NCDs.

In 2019, the Task Force released an inaugural report concluding that health taxes were a highly effective but greatly underutilized policy tool to improve health outcomes, save lives and raise domestic resources. The report concluded that if countries increased their excise taxes to raise prices on tobacco, alcohol, and sugary beverages by 50 percent, over 50 million premature deaths could be averted worldwide over the next 50 years while raising over US $20 trillion of additional revenues.

Since the initial report, the world is experiencing a protracted health and fiscal crisis as a result of the COVID pandemic. Despite the potential for health taxes to address both the health and fiscal crisis, little progress has been made.

In response, Mike Bloomberg and Larry Summers reconvened the Task Force welcoming Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, as a co-chair in 2024. The Task Force will again unite fiscal policy, development, and health leaders from around the world to highlight the urgent need to apply fiscal policies to address public health challenges and demonstrate the power of health taxes as a win-win policy solution for the current era.

Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health Members

As of March 2024

Michael R. Bloomberg, Co-chair; Founder, Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies; Former Mayor of New York City; WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries
Mia Mottley, Co-chair; Prime Minister of Barbados
Lawrence H. Summers, Co-chair; Former Secretary of the Treasury, United States; Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University
Masood Ahmed, President, Center for Global Development
Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Former Central Bank Governor, Malaysia; Board of Governors of Asia School of Business
Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University
Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of UK; WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing
Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaria, Former Minister of Finance, Colombia; Professor of Professional Practice, Global Leadership, Columbia University
Helen Clark, Former UNDP Administrator; Former Prime Minister, New Zealand
Jason Furman, Former Chair of US Council of Economic Advisors; Professor of Practice, Harvard University
Amadou Hott, Former Minister of Finance, Senegal, AfDB special envoy
Cathrine Lofthus, Secretary General, Ministry of Health and Care Services, Norway
Zhu Min, Chair, National Institute of Financial Research, Tsinghua University, China; Former Deputy Managing Director, IMF
Sania Nishtar, Co-chair, WHO’s High-Level Commission on Non-communicable disease, Pakistan
Muhammad Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Nigeria
Cesar Purisima, Former Secretary of Finance, Philippines
Minouche Shafik, President, Columbia University
N. K. Singh, Former Chairman of Fifteenth Finance Commission, India
Nisia Trindade Lima, Minister of Health, Brazil
Andres Velasco, Former Minister of Finance of Chile; Dean School of Public Policy,  London School of Economics

Top photo: The bus displays a mass media campaign Bloomberg Philanthropies partners developed in Mexico to raise public support for front-of-package warning labels to help people make healthy choices. Photo credit: Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria