Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s Healthy Kids Plan

Gov. Ted Kulongoski is running for re-election and he has just come up with some “bread and circuses” to win the hearts of Oregon voters. Here is the problem as outlined on his website:

More than 117,000 Oregon children live without health insurance. They lack access to doctors, medicine, eyeglasses, asthma inhalers, and the other health care services people with insurance take for granted. Nearly half these children may be eligible for coverage under one of Oregon’s existing public programs, but they are not enrolled. Thousands more are from working families who earn too much to qualify for those programs, but not enough to pay for private insurance.

Here is the Governor’s Healthy Kids Plan:

Provide every child in Oregon access to the health care he or she needs to grow into a happy, productive adult.

How much will this plan cost the residents of Oregon?

The Governor’s proposal funds the Healthy Kids Plan with federal, state and other fund revenue sources, maximizing federal revenue available to the state. The Healthy Kids Plan will cost up to $292 million more than what the state currently spends on kids’ health coverage every biennium (approximately $110 million state dollars and $182 million federal match).

Where will this money come from? The Governor today has proposed an increased cigarette tax that will bring the state’s tax on cigarettes level with Washington and raise $160 million that will be used for the Healthy Kids Plan.Has anyone hanging around the governor suggested that users of cigarettes may quit or smoke less and that the tax will not raise $160 million?
Has anyone close to the governor whispered in his ear that this will mean we have a vested interest in keeping smokers smoking?And if it is our intent to maximise the number of smokers to provide $160 million, has anyone tripped to the notion that with all that secondary smoke there will be more kids in need of health care?I smell stupidity!Gov. Ted Kulongoski Healthy Kids Plan Cigarettes Oregon Mover Mike

4 Responses to “Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s Healthy Kids Plan”

  1. Movermike, You sure are smelling a lot of stupidity lately. I smell some too, but it’s coming from your direction. Did you know that the cigarettes sold in Oregon track at a fairly consistant number? Do you think smokers are going to stop smoking because their drug of choice costs a bit more? It hasn’t happened yet. Kulongoski is merely taking advantage of a known commodity. Signed, A Naive Little Girl

  2. Re: Did you know that the cigarettes sold in Oregon track at a fairly consistant number?

    Prove it! Prove to me that higher prices for cigarettes do not impact sales of cigarettes.

  3. I couldn’t wait for “the naive little girl” to prove that higher prices for cigarettes do not impact sales of cigarettesa. So I googled “smoking consumption and taxes” and the very first entry goes like this: From American Journal of Public Health, Vol 85, Issue 9 1218-1222, Copyright © 1995 by American Public Health Association

    Reducing cigarette consumption in California: tobacco taxes vs an anti-smoking media campaign

    TW Hu, HY Sung and TE Keeler

    School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.

    OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to examine the relative effects of taxation vs an anti-smoking media campaign on cigarette consumption in California. METHODS: Quarterly cigarette sales data reported by the California State Board of Equalization between 1980 and 1992 were used to estimate a time-series model, adjusted for seasonal variations and time trends. RESULTS: The estimated results show that sales of cigarettes were reduced by 819 million packs from the third quarter of 1990 through the fourth quarter of 1992 owing to an additional 25-cent state tax increase, while the anti-smoking media campaign reduced the cigarette sales by 232 million packs during the same period. CONCLUSIONS: Both taxation and anti-smoking media campaigns are effective means of reducing cigarette consumption. The strength of those effects, however, is influenced by the magnitude of the taxes and the amount of media campaign expenditures.

  4. As an Oregon resident, and an ex- smoker, who quit after the last tax increase on cigarettes…I can tell you the real problem here is this: Oregon has not raised the taxes on alcohol since the 60’s, and trust me, this state has far more drinkers than smokers.

    If this tax goes through, this state will still have working poor adults without health coverage while the willfully non-productive and drug addicts of Oregon get free health care at the cost of the working poor.

    IMHO, for starters if Oregon wants to fix it’s health care crisis, it needs to increase taxes on alcohol, and require a minimum of 20hrs per week of employment or proof of disability to get state provided care.

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