Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected a tobacco tax hike to pay for childrens health insurance in Tuesdays election.
Measure 50 would have raised the cigarette tax by 85 cents per pack to insure 100,000 children whose families dont qualify for Medicaid. The measure was backed by the governor, health insurers, hospitals and labor unions. Tobacco companies spent $12 million to defeat the measure. Television ads played to concerns about amending the state Constitution to include the tax.
Some 70% of the funds would have gone toward insuring children with the remaining funding rural health, community clinics and other healthcare programs and tobacco prevention. The measure failed 60% to 40%. An estimated 117,000 children in Oregon are uninsured. -- by Rebecca Vesely
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