For those of us who care about the health and health care of our citizens — especially the poor and uninsured — this upcoming election has many things on the ballot that are important to consider.
Yes on Prop B
It is well known that Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation and that the increase in taxes proposed by Prop B would still put Missouri well below the national average. It is also well known that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in our country.
Research shows that the higher the cost of cigarettes, the fewer people will smoke, especially the youth who are targeted by tobacco companies. The majority of the money — 80 percent, to be exact — raised by the new taxes will be spent on K-12 and higher education, while the remaining 20 percent will be allocated for health prevention efforts and to provide programming to help keep folks from smoking or encouraging them to quit smoking. Almost 80 percent of Missourians don’t smoke, so for most of us this new tax save us by reducing the $565 we currently pay per household in public expenditures due to the cost of tobacco use.
If Prop B passes, according to the American Cancer Society, more than 22,000 Missouri citizens will be saved from premature death caused by smoking, and it would prevent over 40,000 kids in Missouri from becoming addicted adult smokers. Over the next five years, Missourians will save approximately $34 million from fewer:
- smoking-affected pregnancies and births
- smoking-related heart attacks and strokes
- smoking-related lung cancer.
In the elections for President, U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress, it is important for those of us who fought so hard to reform health care to continue our efforts by supporting candidates who are not willing to go back to the old health system that is bankrupting our country and not providing all of us with acceptable health outcomes, especially the poor and uninsured.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in my judgment, is a huge step backward. Does the ACA need to be amended from time to time when we discover that some of the original provisions of the new law are not working as well as we hoped? ABSOLUTELY.
Let’s not discard the ACA, which contains many breakthrough provisions that hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and consumers have already started and are planning to fully implement in 2014.
This upcoming election at the state and national level is really about your health— it is the most important election in recent history if you care about improving health outcomes.