SACRAMENTO – In November 2016 California voters approved Proposition 56, a $2-per-pack cigarette tax initiative. Supporters promised the extra revenues would go toward reimbursement rates for doctors and dentists who treat underprivileged patients on Medi-Cal. George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times points out that the governor now refuses to allocate that new money for Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.
“The way Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to spend — or not spend — the hefty new tobacco tax is an example of why citizens are so cynical about government and politics.
“By a landslide, California voters — roughly 9 million — approved a $2-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax last November. Much of the new revenue was supposed to go toward raising fees for doctors and dentists who treat poor patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s version of federal Medicaid.
“But Brown has refused to allocate any of the new money for that, despite the glaring need.
“The people he should listen to are the millions who voted for Proposition 56. He might keep some of their cynicism in check.”