Pennsylvania hospital groups: Hike cigarette tax to mend healthcare budget

Pennsylvania doctor and hospital groups want a 60-cent cigarette tax increase to bridge the state's healthcare budget gap, according to a blog post on The increase would produce more than $300 million in revenue, offsetting scheduled cuts due to changes in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage formula, Andy Carter, president and CEO of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, wrote. Moreover, it will disincentivize smoking, and in turn reduce associated healthcare problems, such as lung cancer, heart problems and birth complications. "We are obligated to help policymakers find the revenues needed to safeguard Pennsylvanians' access to crucial health and senior services during the coming year," Carter wrote. Blog post