5-15-12; We Join with the Illinois Hospital Ass’n and our many hospital clients, large and small—Please Urge Your State Legislators to Support Raising the Illinois Cigarette Tax

The Illinois General Assembly is at a critical juncture, facing imminent deadlines to make critical decisions on Medicaid and the state budget. In order to address the state's Medicaid challenges without imposing deep cuts to medical caregivers, our State needs additional sources of revenue.

A major revenue source supported by the Illinois Hospital Ass’n and all of KC&A’s hospital clients is a proposed $1 per pack increase in the state's cigarette tax. This proposal is one of the most critical pieces of a workable approach to help minimize drastic and immediate Medicaid rate cuts to hospitals and to protect the viability and sustainability of the state's health care delivery system.

We urge our readers to contact your state legislators now and urge them to support and vote for the proposed $1 per pack cigarette tax increase. Lawmakers are expected to take up the cigarette tax hike proposal right now, as they return to Springfield.

Please note Illinois hospitals have been one of the only provider groups to offer real alternatives. However, the Medicaid program's challenges cannot be addressed just through reductions and savings. The state also needs additional sources of revenue.

Additional needed revenues of $377 million would be generated for the State in the first year from raising the cigarette tax - which would be matched 100% by the federal government when used for Medicaid - for a total of more than $750 million.

Illinois' cigarette tax is 98 cents per pack - 32nd among states. Illinois has not raised its cigarette tax since 2002.

With a strong focus on keeping viable hospitals by having higher cigarette taxes, we strongly urge our readers to join us in supporting this needed revenue source. We appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please do not hesitate to post them on our blog.