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November 8, 2007
Big Tobacco Defeats Sick Kids

One of the biggest disappointments in Tuesday’s election was the defeat of an Oregon ballot initiative that would have raised the state’s cigarette tax by 85 cents a pack to help pay for health care for uninsured children.

The outcome is a testament, more than anything else, to the shamelessness of the nation’s big tobacco companies. They spent an obscene amount of money on deceptive television ads designed to protect their profits, even at the expense of poor children. The results should not be allowed to diminish national concern about insuring those youngsters.

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Tobacco firms led by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds poured $12 million into defeating the initiative — about $3.33 for every Oregon resident, or $24 a vote. That’s about a dollar more per capita than the $60 million tobacco companies invested to defeat a similar California measure last year, according to The Associated Press. The health and civic groups fighting for health care for children were able to spend only a quarter of that.

--read entire article--


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The desperation of a nation short-changed into the flim-flam of inadequate 'health insurance' takes increasingly bizarre turns at the voting booth. Consider the idiocy of tagging smokers with the bill for children's health care.

"Shamelessness of the nation’s big tobacco companies," indeed. The shameless are legion in this Richard Nixon inspired sham that purports to be a health system, but big-tobacco, with all its faults, is not at fault here. Smokers are supposed to pay an additional 85 cents a pack to insure the uninsured? Next on the list

  • Firearms manufacturers will pay for prisons
  • Gated communities will be taxed to support wildlife funds
  • Coal mines will cover the cost of Aid for Dependent Children
. . . and reckless drivers will be fined in order to support the elderly.

We need universal single-payer health care in this country and the desperation of ballot issues such as the Oregon ballot initiative merely proves the point. "Initiative" is defined as the "readiness to embark on bold new ventures" and god knows, if initiative were ever needed it is in the field of health care.

Where initiative fails us in all the permutations of the word.

That would start with calling it 'care' instead of 'insurance.' Let me define insurance for you;
Promise of reimbursement in the case of loss; paid to people or companies so concerned about hazards that they have made prepayments to an insurance company.
We have no need for the reimbursement of loss, after deducting an insurers profits, the payroll for employees paid to disallow our claim and the myriad escape clauses for pre-existing conditions.

A pre-existing condition is the very reason for care.

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Wake up people. Smokers are not the reason kids are uncared for. Insurance is the reason kids are uncared for and we need to do away with it, providing SINGLE-PAYER NATIONAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL CITIZENS.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Health Care, check out Opinion-Columns.com


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Jim Freeman's op-ed pieces and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The New York Review, The Jon Stewart Daily Show and a number of magazines. His thirteen published books are (more...)

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