Committee Ok's plan for $50 tobacco use fee - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Committee Ok's plan for $50 tobacco use fee

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% 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.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Lawmakers will debate a plan this week that would penalize state workers who smoke.

This week, the Joint Finance Committee will take up the governor's proposal to make state workers who smoke pay $50 more per month in health insurance.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the fee would generate $6 million over the next two years.

Anti-smoking groupS are against the measure because they say similar fees in other states are not effective in reducing tobacco use.

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