Measure O Opponent Named Likely Head of Tobacco Fund Committee
David Moran, the former head of the Coalition Against Measure O, a group that successfully opposed a ballot initiative that would have diverted Ventura County's share of the tobacco settlement to private hospitals, has been tapped to head an "influential" committee that will "guide the spending" of the county's funds, the Los Angeles Times reports. Community Memorial Hospital, which sponsored Measure O, said that Moran's appointment, which still requires the Board of Supervisors' approval, is "divisive" and would "prolong the conflict" between Ventura County and the hospital. But Supervisor Steve Bennett, who appointed Moran, did not see the move as "controversial," calling Moran an individual who has "shown a real passion for the issue of public health." However, CMH spokesperson Mark Barnhill said that by selecting Moran, the board intends to "continue on a war of footing," adding, "I don't see how that's productive." The Times reports that the committee is expected to "wield considerable influence" in determining how the county's tobacco settlement funding is spent. With $15.3 million already accumulated, the supervisors are expected to allocate the money after hearing recommendations from the committee. Bennett added, "We can find win-wins in terms of partnering with private hospitals and can find some ways to address some of the unfair things (like having to pay for indigent care) that happen to private providers." Each of the five supervisors will nominate one member to the advisory committee and the remaining six members will be selected by local interest groups. Supervisors' nominations are expected to be approved at a board meeting tomorrow (Surman, Los Angeles Times, 2/10).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.