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Politics & Elections

So IL Lawmaker Opposes Cigarette Tax for Medicaid Reform

St Rep. Mike Bost

A southern Illinois lawmaker says raising the cigarette tax to help the state's Medicaid program should be taken off the table.
State Representative Mike Bost of Murphysboro says the only long term solution that will keep the Medicaid system from collapsing is slowing the program's growth and cutting expenses.  He says propping up the Medicaid budget for another year with a cigarette tax increase won't solve the problem - it only delays the inevitable and prolongs the uncertainty for families and providers.   Bost says no one likes to make cuts, saying it is one of the most difficult things lawmakers have to do, but it is necessary to ensure Medicaid is there for those who truly need it. House Republicans have been hesitant to support a cigarette tax increase, instead urging the governor to make good on his initial call for $2.7 billion in spending cuts to Medicaid.