House and Senate Leaders Agree on Bill to Raise Tobacco Taxes and Expand Health Care Coverage for Children

September 19, 2007

WASHINGTON -- September 19, 2007 -- "The agreement between House and Senate leaders to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is a major step forward for the public health community. By imposing a substantial increase in the federal tobacco tax to pay for improved access to health care for our nation’s children, this legislation will save 900,000 lives and lead to a healthier nation. We call upon President Bush to support this important lifesaving legislation and to sign it when it reaches his desk.

"This agreement puts the interests of the public particularly children before the interests of the tobacco industry. The 61-cent cigarette tax increase will reduce youth smoking by an estimated seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by four percent while also enabling more children to receive health care coverage through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

"We commend the bipartisan group of Senate and House leaders who worked hard to reach this agreement. Although the legislation is not perfect important Medicare patient improvements passed by the House were left out it is a strong bill that will reduce smoking rates, improve health care coverage for uninsured children and save lives.

"ACS CAN mobilized its grassroots army across the country to push for passage of the bill with a significant increase in the tobacco tax. We will continue to fight for separate passage of the Medicare patient improvements in the weeks ahead, particularly the elimination of co-payments Medicare beneficiaries currently pay for mammography and colonoscopy services, as well as lifesaving screenings for other life-threatening diseases."

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit

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