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Rising Taxes on Cigarettes to Pay for Healthcare

People tend to view smoking as a terrible vice, almost to the point that those who smoke should be punished for it. We have moved them out of restaraunts and offices, and made them almost a source of embarrassment in society. Some of this seems justified, as the practice of smoking causes cancer and other highly preventable health problems, which raise health insurance premiums and cost millions of dollars to employers and those who share a group policy with them. Therefore, when a government program designed to provide health care for needy children needed more funds to support it, lawmakers decided to increase taxes on cigarettes. While this seems like a great solution, as we know that most of those addicted to cigarettes will not stop smoking to avoid paying the increased price, this will actually have an adverse affect on the poor folks the program targets. Studies show that it is the poorest of citizens who are likely to smoke, therefore this increased tax will hit them the hardest. Some also argue that broadening the program and extending it to folks who are well above the poverty level, is unfair. Is it a bad idea to place the burden of providing health care to those who are well above the poverty level on those who are the poorest, even if it is their choice to smoke or not?

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 11:57 am and is filed under Health Insurance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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