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Poll says majority of Americans favor "Sin Taxes" to pay for health care.

An overwhelming majority of Americans favor raising the so-called "sin taxes" on cigarettes and alcohol to help finance health-care reform, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll recently released.

The survey found that 77 percent backed a 50-cent tax on a six-pack of beer, three out of four said they would support a $1-a-quart tax on wine and hard liquor and 65 percent said they would like a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes.

Asked what kind of reforms were needed, 8 out of 10 said they favored a system requiring companies to provide health insurance for their full-time employees, and 82 percent backed price controls on doctors' fees, hospital charges and drug prices, ABC said.

The telephone survey of 1507 people had a margin of error of three percentage points.

President Clinton's health care task force, headed by his wife Hillary, is expected to complete its work and send recommendations to the president by the end of this month.

White House budget chief Leon Panetta said Sunday that Clinton would then make his decisions and send his proposed plan to Congress in June.

Vice president Al Gore has said he thought a strong case could be made for using a tax on tobacco products to help finance health care.

"Personally, I think the case of financing some of our health care reform by looking at the effect tobacco has on health care costs is pretty strong," Gore said.

In the survey, 55 percent said they would support a system that did not pay for unnecessary medical treatments or therapies that had little chance of success.

A surprising 45 percent would back a national sales tax, such as a value-added tax, to finance health care. However, sin taxes were the more popular option for financing reform.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:May 10, 1993
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