On October 3, The Associated Press reported that President Bush vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion bill because he believes it will open the floodgates for socialized health care in America (“Bush Vetoes Bill To Expand Children’s Health Insurance Program”).
However, the AP missed an important aspect of this story: In 2005, Minnesota increased state taxes and fees on cigarettes by 75 cents, to $1.23 per pack, and doubled its excise tax on other tobacco products. Minnesota’s regressive “health impact fees” on tobacco hurt poor people, who are more likely to be smokers.
The legislation that earned Bush’s veto similarly targeted poorer voters with an exorbitant tobacco excise tax to support government-funded insurance plans aimed primarily at upper-middle-class Americans.
Ralph W. Conner ( [email protected]) is The Heartland Institute’s manager of local legislation.