Davis Puts Tobacco Funds To Use on Health Care Programs in Budget Proposal
In his $102 billion budget, Gov. Gray Davis (D) is proposing $25.6 billion in health and welfare spending, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In outlining his spending plans, the governor "revers[ed]" an earlier position and called for spending all of the state's $468 million tobacco settlement on health care. Davis previously had supported putting the money in the general fund with "no strings attached" (Lucas/Salladay, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/11). The proposed tobacco expenditures include:
- $76 million to expand Healthy Families;
- $47 million to increase Medi-Cal eligibility;
- $40 million for treating uninsured breast and prostate cancer patients (Ainsworth, San Diego Union Tribune, 1/11); and
- $20 million for teenage antismoking campaigns (Governor's office release, 1/10).
In addition to the tobacco funds, the budget appropriates $201.5 million to offer health coverage to parents of children enrolled in Healthy Families or Medi-Cal (Lawrence, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/10). Davis said his spending proposals aim to ensure that the settlement "funds are being used to protect the health and welfare of the people of California" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).
In other state government news, retired state Sen. Teresa Hughes (D) has been appointed to the California Medical Assistance Commission, the Los Angeles Times reports. The seven-member commission is responsible for contracting with health care organizations to provide services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The part-time position pays $99,000, which is the same salary Hughes earned as a state senator. Hughes was prohibited by term limits from seeking reelection last year (Los Angeles Times, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.