Making It Harder for Smokers to Get Affordable Health Care

I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink on San Francisco’s tax-hiking proposal for so-called “universal” health care, the Healthy Access Plan. But driving up costs for small business is hardly the only mischief that the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and public health supremos are working on.

How’s this one? According to the Wall Street Journal, the city’s about to pass an ordnance that will make it more difficult for smokers to get convenient, affordable, health care. The proposed ordnance will forbid pharmacies from selling tobacco products.

Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, San Francisco is (once again) a trend-setter in interfering with individuals’ and businesses’ rights. Fuelled by polling data showing that such ordnances resonate with the public, many other jurisdictions are considering the same.

This will do nothing for smokers except reduce the number of times that they will enter establishments that can also help them kick the killer weed. Even worse, this ordnance comes at a time when many pharmacies are expanding their investment in “convenient clinics”, where individuals can get good, basic health care for a transparent, low, price. (The WSJ article also cites Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association, and a champion of this important innovation in health care.)

It just goes to show the tragedy of good intentions: when government tries to “help” you improve you’re health, the unintended consequence is often the opposite.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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