Yes, you read it right. If you've read ACSH's report, Bridging the Ideological Divide: An Analysis of Views on Tobacco Policy, you know that normally liberals accuse conservatives of being paid fronts for the tobacco industry, unwilling to condone lawsuits against the industry, while conservatives accuse liberals of using the anti-tobacco measures as a way of increasing the role of government in our lives. Five years have passed since that report, which is still relevant today, and we haven't seen much progress toward agreement on the issue. And the public is losing out every day that political factions fight each other instead of focusing on what should be the common goal: fighting smoking. But today we see a glimmer of hope.
The United Seniors Association (USA), a conservative advocacy group, announced today that they are suing the major tobacco companies, seeking damages on behalf of the Medicare program and the Treasury of the United States.
"As a conservative and advocate of taxpayers rights, it outrages me that private companies would hope to stick taxpayers with the costs of their misconduct," explained Charlie Jarvis, chairman and chief executive of USA, which advocates free-market solutions and defends taxpayers' rights. "Tobacco companies intentionally harmed their own customers by exposing them without their consent to the highly addictive properties of nicotine. Now, thousands of smokers are aging, gravely ill, and being cared for at taxpayers' expense by the financially hard-pressed Medicare program," said Jarvis.
The lawsuit was applauded by Art Linkletter, who serves as National Chairman of USA: "America's taxpayers should not be paying the health care costs under Medicare that tobacco companies actually owe due to their proven misconduct over decades. It is morally wrong to force hardworking Americans to be the insurer for wrongdoers."
Jeff Stier, Esq., is an associate director of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH.org, HealthFactsAndFears.com).