I wish they had included the current tax rate in the article..........
I wonder if enforcing the current laws on the books about illegally entering the country would have any effect on hospital financing
New cigarette tax helps illegal aliens at smokers' expense
Jill Stewart, Guest Columnist
Normally, I would wait until later in the year to protest a proposed $2.60 per-pack tax on cigarettes being pushed for next fall by the American Cancer Society and other powerful health associations. But it's such a rotten idea, I can't wait.
Huge new taxes on specific groups of people create weird backlashes - in this case probably skyrocketing sales of black-market cigarettes as smokers find creative ways to avoid this massive grab at their wallets.
But far worse, the proposed $2.1 billion tax, which will hit a shrinking population of smokers, is horribly backward. It uses scandalously little of the windfall to pay for research into lung cancer or other smokers' diseases - 2 percent. Instead, in one of the great stealth political moves I've seen in a while, this measure would transfer money from smokers' wallets into the wallets of illegal aliens.
In our hopelessly PC world, we aren't supposed to talk about illegal immigrants anymore. But let's be bad and do it anyway.
This proposal diverts most of the $2.1 billion tax to emergency-room care and to health coverage for children - two services that, in California, provide out-sized assistance to illegal immigrants. It's a political ploy backed by the American Cancer Society, California Hospital Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Children's Partnership.
California already pours vast sums into free health insurance for children. We are probably the most generous state, offering Healthy Families and other programs to families who need not even be poor. You can make around $50,000 and get Healthy Families coverage as good as a private plan, and you don't need to be legal.
John Graham, director of health-care studies for the fiscally conservative Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, tells me: "If your child hasn't got health care in California, you are a negligent parent. There are 900,000 children who qualify for Healthy Families and other programs. ... They are eligible but still not enrolled due to parents' inattentiveness, laziness or the feeling that the kids are healthy so they don't give a hoot."
Smokers should take the hit for this? (And no, I don't smoke.) Graham, who will soon release a study of California insurance, says "The number of children not insured, who are not eligible, is probably very, very close to zero in California. We don't have a crisis of coverage here."
The other sneak feature of the proposed $2.1 billion tax is its intent to spend vast sums on emergency-room care - a staggering $902 million each year.
As Graham notes, "If this were a rational tax, it would go to programs on smoking cessation and curing lung cancer. But it is not rational. ... The system is highly biased toward illegal immigrants and not toward smokers."
Illegal immigrants badly overuse ERs instead of tapping into often-free health care clinics or finding a family doctor. Their behavior cries out for reform, not encouragement. California should spend dough to educate immigrant families to stop using incredibly costly ERs as a replacement for the family doctor.
Again, we are not supposed to talk like this. But if the misuse of the ER system ended, we'd quickly discover that taxpayers are pouring more than enough into California ER care, and people with true emergencies would be far better served.
But California loves to misspend the money it shakes out of the tobacco industry and smokers. The state has, for instance, blown billions from its "tobacco settlement" paid out by Big Tobacco, thanks to former President Bill Clinton's foolish decision to allow the states to spend the windfall any way they wished. California poured its fat settlement into - guess what? - big deficits created by the Legislature in Sacramento.
So this turkey of an idea has a real chance with California voters. Smokers, after all, are among the only people you can still be openly bigoted against with society's approval. So let's create a fat, new tax that spends a paltry 2 percent on research into lung cancer and other horrible diseases, that rewards the exploding misuse of ERs, and that throws more money at health insurance for children who should have been signed up by their parents long ago.
Sounds like a classic California fiscal plan to me.
Tag for an invective filled raging screed when I pick up the pieces of my head...
They should use the tax money to build the fucking wall to keep the bastards out. Then use money to gun down the illegals.
I say treat them then throw them and their family out, and the border needs MILITARY PRESENCE and ROE
If the legal immigrants have to prove they are not diseased or criminals why should the illegals be tolerated?
They are invading the US and they are being paid taxpayer dollars while they are doing it...........