Another viable solution to Medicaid crisis in Mississippi?

I just read an interesting blog that proposed instead of taxing cigarettes that we tax soda to fund Medicaid.  Now before y’all start screaming about taking soda from the children because it is too expensive to purchase because of another tax… take a deep breath… and think about this. 

The author of the blog (and I don’t think he was simply lampooning this idea) states the reasons for taxing cigarettes is because we want to place incentives for people to quit smoking and to make the cost of cigarettes out of reach for young people to even begin smoking.  We know that smoking is harmful to everyone, those who inhale and those who don’t inhale but are in the presence of smokers who do.  Study after study has shown that smoking is the cause of many maladies that afflict the human condition in the 21st century.  We all know this.  The smokers know this.  The tobacco lobbyists, yes, Governor Barbour, even you know this.   Yet, if we are successful in reducing the numbers of smokers in the state what does that do to the tax revenues to fund Medicaid?  It creates another crisis.  So perhaps it is time to tell smokers, you want to smoke and increase your chances of committing suicide through cancer or heart disease or some other tobacco related death, go for it.  Your life is worth more, much more to us alive than dead, but if that is your choice to commit suicide, have at it. 

Let’s raise the funds for medicaid by taxing something that we all enjoy.  That as far as we know, has no slow suicide side effects and we can feel good about paying instead of thinking we are funding our future hospital stay for cancer.  So tax soda… better yet, place a penny tax on all foods. We already pay a tax on groceries in this state so what is one more penny.  Surely that would raise the amount of money needed and perhaps even allow Medicaid in this state to be expanded.  We can feel good knowing that we are being compassionate by helping our neighbors receive the medical attention they need when they need it. 

It would be a solution that would appease Governor Barbour’s tobacco friends and a solution that would honor our values for being compassionate to those who are poor and in need of medical attention.  If we really get creative, it could even be the beginning of funding universal health coverage for all of Mississippians.  Wouldn’t that be a grand idea and one that supports our Ole fashion Mississippi values of hospitality.   Why it might just place Mississippi at the top of a list of positive innovations in the country.  Isn’t that a wonderful thought? 

If you agree, write your state legislators and propose the idea to them.  It’s an idea that might just work. 

Serenity Home

Published in: on August 19, 2008 at 5:57 pm  Comments Off on Another viable solution to Medicaid crisis in Mississippi?  
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