ORANGE COUNTY: Los Angeles Times Backs Measure H
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday threw its support behind the ballot initiative Measure H -- which will determine how Orange County will spend its $30 million share of the tobacco settlement. A Times editorial favors Measure H, which would allot 80% of settlement funds to health care programs such as health services for seniors, emergency room and trauma center care, not-for-profit community clinics and tobacco use prevention and control, over the competing Measure G, which would use 40% of the money to repay the county debt and only 42% to fund health services. Noting that the county "allocates fewer general fund dollars for health care per capita than any other major county in the state," the Times says that the "intent of the tobacco lawsuit settlement was to secure money to repay taxpayers for money they spent treating smoking-related illnesses and to keep teenagers from taking up smoking. Measure H seeks to do that and deserves strong support from county voters." While retiring the debt would not be in violation of the settlement, "it would certainly be thumbing its nose at the spirit of the settlement." Support for Measure H has come from numerous sources, including the Orange County Business Council, AARP and local, state and federal public officials. If neither proposal receives a vote total over 50%, the decision will return to the county board "where health care shortfalls that affect all residents, not just the indigent, will suffer" (Los Angeles Times, 10/22).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.