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Arizona and its low-income residents need you to Smoke more

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Peter Suderman has a fascinating article over at Reason. In Arizona, low-income health insurance is funded through a revenue deal reached with tobacco manufacturers. But there's only one problem, that revenue stream is drying up:

Arizona has a major public health problem: Too few people are smoking.

That’s not the only fiscal problem the state faces. But it’s one of them. Like many states, Arizona’s public finances are in miserable shape. And much of the state’s budget trouble can be attributed to a decade-old decision to finance an expansion of low-income health insurance coverage with revenue dependent on tobacco industry profits.

A little more than a decade ago, the state grew its low-income health insurance rolls, claiming the new enrollees would be paid for by revenue from a deal with tobacco industry. Now, with smoking rates (and tobacco industry revenues) falling, a budget crisis brewing, and a growing number of individuals eligible for Medicaid, the state has chosen to pare back its health coverage for low-income adults.

Is anyone else seeing the irony in funding health coverage using funds dependent on people making unhealthy choices?

Read the rest of Suderman's article here.

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