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UPDATE: Budget committee approves $50 tobacco use fee

UPDATED Tuesday, May 21, 2013 --- 1:41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State workers who smoke would have to pay $50 more per month for health insurance under a Gov. Scott Walker proposal that has won approval by the Legislature's budget committee.

The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday voted 13-3 to approve the fee.

Twelve other states currently impose similar fees but anti-smoking groups including the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association oppose them because they argue they are not effective in reducing tobacco use.

Walker's administration says the fee is necessary because it estimates health care costs for tobacco users are about 35 percent higher than those who don't.

Workers could face a surcharge if they are caught lying about their tobacco use, but they could not lose their insurance coverage as originally proposed.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Monday, May 20, 2013 --- 2:46 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State workers who smoke would have to pay $50 more per month for health insurance under a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee planned to take up the issue Tuesday. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that the fee will generate $6 million over the next two years.

Twelve other states currently impose similar fees but anti-smoking groups including the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association oppose them because they argue they are not effective in reducing tobacco use.

Walker's administration says the fee is necessary because it estimates health care costs for tobacco users are about 35 percent higher than those who don't.

The proposal does not say how employees would be identified as tobacco users.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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