SAN DIEGO: County To Debate Tobacco Windfall Spending
County supervisors Tuesday will review a proposed three-year spending plan for the county's $945 million in tobacco settlement money , the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The spending plan targets four main areas: better access to health care for the uninsured, a regional cancer center, anti-tobacco education programs and money for unspecified "innovative" health programs. Tobacco education advocates argue they are "being shortchanged" in financing for anti-smoking efforts. Debra Kelley, spokesperson with the American Lung Association of San Diego, said, "We feel right now that we are investing too much settlement money to treating casualties and not enough money toward winning the war against tobacco." But Dr. Robert Ross, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency, notes, "We are looking at trying to use the money and spread it to plug a lot of holes in the health safety net." Under the proposal, the county would funnel money to 16 specific programs in total, with the majority of funds spent to expand uninsured residents' access to health plans. Other programs set to gain under the plan include mental health services; HIV/AIDS services; in-home care for the elderly and disabled; the Critical Hours after-school program; residential alcohol and drug treatments for youths in probation programs; and social skills programs for adults who have neglected or abused their children (Kucher, 12/12).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.