Big Tobacco, Anti-Smoking Groups Target ObamaCare

They don't want smokers charged more for insurance

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 18, 2013 7:49 PM CST

(Newser) – Big Tobacco and anti-cancer activists are lining up against a provision in ObamaCare that would let insurers charge smokers more, the Washington Post reports. It's no small spike, either: One study found that a low-income smoker could see premiums leap from $708 to $3,308. "Our concern is that a tobacco use surcharge carries a risk of rendering health insurance unaffordable for many people,” says an anti-smoking activist.

So the American Cancer Society and Altria, which owns Philip Morris, plan to monitor state legislatures and influence some to roll back the provision. Even health-conscious California has banned the surcharge in its health-insurance marketplace, and may do the same for outside-market carriers. Health insurers disagree, of course, saying they'll raise rates for all customers if smokers aren't charged more. Meanwhile, electronic-cigarette makers are smiling; because their products include nicotine but not tobacco, users of their devices could potentially avoid the increased rates.

Cigarettes are looking even more expensive under Obamacare.
Cigarettes are looking even more expensive under Obamacare.   (Shutterstock)
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