SCHIP Renewal Will Burden Poor Smokers

Published July 17, 2007

“Covering More Children” (July 17) has the wrong diagnosis and the wrong prescription. Ten percent of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) participants are actually adults, and 14 states offer benefits to families with incomes greater than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Before we can discuss additional funding, we should stop this low-income children’s insurance program from insuring adults and the middle class.

Moreover, the additional tax on cigarettes will burden low-income smokers disproportionally. Transferring tax dollars from poor smokers to children may be politically popular, but it’s also morally bankrupt. Between 2000 and 2005, taxes on cigarettes have already increased by a disturbing 45 percent. Haven’t we stolen enough income from this minority group of people?

Dane G. Wendell ([email protected]) is a legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.