While we are being forced to pay attention to the proposed increase in the cigarette tax, two competing measures are moving through the Legislature that would increase doctors’ bills by imposing a 1.8 percent tax.

I do wonder how so many of the same people who say we need to increase the cost of cigarettes through taxation to reduce smoking can turn around and support raising the cost of medical care through taxation as a way to make it more affordable. Don’t the same economic laws apply to both cigarettes and the doctors’ bills? The more it costs, the fewer people who will be able to afford it? Basic Economics 101 and common sense there.

In Rep. Hannah Pingree’s (D-North Haven) proposal, both the cigarette tax and the tax on doctors’ bills are included. That’s a double whammy from the person who is favored to be the next speaker of the house if things don’t change. I hope they do change.

I can’t imagine one of our legislative bodies being led by a person who can simultaneously argue that raising the cost of one thing will discourage use but raising the cost of another will increase use.

Of course, if you think that having health insurance makes you rich and able to afford a new tax on doctors’ bills, then making both arguments makes some kind of sense.

I just don’t believe that having health insurance makes you rich.

David Hughes, Lewiston

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