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H.R. 2, Bipartisan Children's Health Bill, Will Provide Coverage to 11 Million Children
Date:1/13/2009

owned hospitals. First, the bill raises the tobacco tax by 61 cents a pack. Raising the tobacco tax discourages children from smoking -- and polls show the public supports it as a way to pay for health care. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a 61-cent increase in the tobacco tax means that 1,873,000 fewer children will take up smoking. Secondly, the bill closes a loophole in Medicare that allows physicians to profit from referring their patients to hospitals in which they have an ownership interest. Many analysts believe that self-referral to physician-owned hospitals increases unnecessary utilization and encourages the skimming of healthier, less complex, and insured patients by these facilities for higher profit margins. Consequently, this leaves full-service community hospitals with sicker, more complex (and less profitable) patients, which is a further drain on the safety net.

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