Economic reality slammed the anti-smoking numbskulls in Sacramento this week when a California Senate committee voted down a scheme to fund "universal" health care with a huge cigarette tax hike.
Tossed into the recycling bin is the huge health coverage bill, endorsed by the governor and passed by the state’s Assembly, that would require all state citizens to obtain medical insurance. Likewise all Californian employers would be required to provide health care coverage to all employees. Such a plan would cost the state taxpayers billions of dollars. The only specified funding sources, however, would be a $1.75 tax on a pack of cigarettes and, laughably, considering higher health care costs lead to insurance unaffordabilty, a new fee on hospital care. Due to the tax hikes written into the bill voters would have had to approve the bill. Faced with a budget deficit currently at $14-billion and growing daily, the Senate Health Committee voted 7 to 1 against the bill.
The governor and the speaker of the Assembly vow to rework the bill in the hopes of getting the Senate on board. They would be wise to junk the funding mechanism that targets one segment of the population for a program that supposedly benefits every Californian. The era of sucking the blood of smokers, while still with us, appears to be on the wane. Columnist Norman Kjono has written extensively about the failures of the "tax the smokers" policy that produces bad legislation and social division.