Cigarette Companies Are Fighting Medicaid Expansion in Montana

Ringo Chiu/ZUMAPRESS

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Patrick Caldwell reports that tobacco companies are spending a huge amount of money on a campaign to prevent a cigarette tax increase that’s aimed at funding Medicaid expansion in Montana:

A new set of filings in the state’s campaign finance database show that tobacco companies Altria (the parent company of Phillip Morris in the US) has now contributed more than $17.1 million to Montanans Against Tax Hikes, the group opposed to ballot question I-185. The measure would raise taxes on cigarettes in order to fund the continued operation of the state’s Medicaid expansion program. RAI Services (the parent company of RJ Reynolds) has also contributed $295,000 to campaign.

Wait. Philip Morris has contributed $17.1 million while RJ Reynolds has contributed $295,000? That hardly seems fair, does it? I wonder how the tobacco industry divvies up the work of undermining public health throughout the country?

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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