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Poor Smokers Would Pay for Health Bill

September 30th, 2007 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional Democrats have chosen an unlikely source to pay for the bulk of their proposed $35 billion increase in children’s health coverage: people with relatively little money and education.

The program expansion passed by the House and Senate last week would be financed with a 156 percent increase in the federal cigarette tax, taking it to $1 per pack from the current 39 cents. Low-income people smoke more heavily than do wealthier people in the United States, making cigarette taxes a regressive form of revenue.

Democrats, who wrote the legislation and provided most of its votes, generally portray themselves as champions of the poor. They do not dispute that the tax plan would hit poor communities disproportionately, but they say it is worth it to provide health insurance to millions of modest-income children.

All the better, they say, if higher cigarette taxes discourage smoking.

“I’m very happy that we’re paying for this,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in an interview Friday, noting that the plan would not add to the deficit. “The health of the children is extremely important,” he said. “In the long run, maybe it’ll stop people from smoking.”

Congress probably will revisit the cigarette tax issue soon because President Bush has pledged to veto the proposed $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The decade-old program helps families buy medical coverage if their income is too high to qualify for Medicaid.

Full Story Here:
Poor Smokers Would Pay for Health Bill

I smoked for 36 years, I started when I was 12 years old, and I continued until 5 years ago when I laid them down cold, it was lay em down or die, that 2nd heart attack and 2nd heart surgery were serious indicators that stopping was likely my best option…

I am not under educated, I’m not poor, I smoked because I liked it, I enjoyed it immensely, and it damn near killed me, I knew the dangers of smoking, I heard all the Surgeon General’s warnings and I ignored them and smoked until I knew that I had no other choice but to stop, and now, I think it is the most offensive, vile, bad smelling habit anyone can possibly indulge in…

Smoking WILL kill you, and if you can’t convince a person of that then at least make the habit so expensive that perhaps that in itself will make them quit, and if they don’t quit, at least we’ll have the money to render health care to their smoke riddled bodies, because if it’s the poor doing the smoking, you can bet there’s going to be some social medicine involved too, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they raise the tax to $10.00 a pack…

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8 Responses to “Poor Smokers Would Pay for Health Bill”

  1. comment number 1 by: BobF

    I quite smoking back in 1979. I don’t like smoking and wish nobody smoked but whenever tax increases are on the ballot (Missouri)to increase cigarette taxes, I vote against them. Here’s my reasons.

    The first thing that will be built with the tax increases will be bureaucracy. Out of the taxes, only a small percentage will go to people who they are meant for. The majority will go for salaries, infrastructure, etc. That said, just say people did quit smoking by the thousands. We know the government wouldn’t do away with the programs and bureaucracy created by the tax increase so where is the money going to come from? They’re just going to increase taxes in other areas to cover the losses from the revenues that were generated by former smokers. The government doesn’t want anyone to stop smoking. Matter-of-fact, the more people that smoke, the more they get in tax monies.

    Look at this example. We pay gasoline taxes to fund highway and bridge construction. Feds give the states money for highways and bridges. States elect to spend money on other things and eventually bridge falls into river, killing people. Now, Democrats want to increase gas taxes by another 50 cents to fund bridge repairs. Same thing with New Orleans levies. No matter what they collect the tax money for, it never gets to where it’s suppose to.

  2. comment number 2 by: ablur

    I hung around smokers my whole life. I never did and never will. I got the death message and saw many collapse from the habit.

    I still can’t get behind the government adding to the tax rolls. I especially have a problem with a feel good measure that robs the tax payer. I blogged on this very point yesterday after hearing the radio addresses. If our government can’t do its basic mandates they have no business doing anything else.

    Tell them to stop the larceny and sob stories and do the business of the people.

  3. comment number 3 by: James Shott

    I experimented with smoking when I was a teenager. My dad smoked a lot, and paid a price; my mom never started, and neither did I. I didn’t like the taste.

    I oppose the concept of heavily taxing unpopular things and behavior. We shouldn’t over-tax tobacco, alcohol, fat foods, gasoline, etc., in order to produce someone’s idea of better behavior.

    If cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff are so dangerous, then declare them illegal, like drugs.

  4. comment number 4 by: TexasFred

    James, declaring them illegal like drugs would only make matters worse, look at the drug problems we have now…

    Tax the shit out of them and make ALL the money you can…

    Everyone has presented a great argument here, but IMO, tax the bastards out of America…

    Just my .02 worth, if ya wanna smoke, smoke til ya fall out, it’s YOUR life, but I don’t want to have to pay for all the health care of the uninsured…

  5. comment number 5 by: Sage

    Damn Fred, I can’t believe you are espousing taxing the shit out of anything.

    All they do is find some loopholes to tax us out the wazoo now??!!
    Sin Tax, Food Tax, Road Tax, Toll Road Tax.
    What next, Bra Tax for women overly endowed, Condom Tax for “Players,” Bon Appetite Tax for Gourmet Cooks who pollute the environment with Olive Oil they put into the cities garbage dumps, Makeup tax for women or men who are overly concerned with their appearance and it disrupts the migrating habits of some freaking warbler in the Hill country and their nesting regimen???!!!

    As the others ahead of me mentioned, the taxes collected aren’t going to where they are earmarked.
    They will add more taxes, unfettered, and still… we will be paying for the uninsured or illegals… or even, as you know, for the extremely rich that try to bilk the Parkland Hospital to cover their surgical/medical expenses when they have more money than you and I and all your readers have combined.
    They recently busted a man who owned 9 Subway chain shops to the tune of what?? $60,000 when they discovered he falsified his address to get free treatment at Parkland and he paid them in cash?!
    So yes, lets tax the shit out of everyone to pay for whatever comes out the politicians hind end, irregardless of what it costs everyone eventually.
    $10.00 a pack for cigs, how about that same amount for gas to cover roads and bridges that will still fall down or won’t be built or maintained.
    How about that amount for carbohydrates that contribute to massive obesity and diabetes and cost us hundreds of millions…tax bread and pasta okay? Lets tax Frito Lay while we are at it.
    Obesity contributes more to health related problems than cigs or alcohol ever have, read the latest reports from JAMA or the Surgeon General.
    ‘Nuff said

  6. comment number 6 by: TexasFred

    I don’t want to tax the shit outta everything, I just want to tax those damned nasty smelling cancer sticks right out of business…

    Past that, they need to leave the rest of it alone, but cigarettes are a scourge on humanity, the Indians way of getting even, tobacco…

    Yuck pooey… Tobacco is BAD… Yuck, nasty, bad… :?

  7. comment number 7 by: Sage

    Its the American Indians revenge on us?! ROFL that is a good one my friend.

  8. comment number 8 by: GUYK

    the only good thing I can see about the taxes on tobacco is that it will be taxing the people who are getting the “free” medical care the most..

    But I am against the whole program..any time government tells me they are gonna “do it for the kids” it means that the government is getting ready to stick it to you again. This is just another step towards a complete socialized medicine program.