San Diego County To Use This Month’s ‘Lump Sum’ Tobacco Settlement Payment in Part To Fund Health Programs
San Diego County this month will receive more than $400 million in tobacco settlement funds, some of which will be spent on health programs, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Although officials did not specify what programs would be funded, they indicated the money would go toward programs for mental health, suicide prevention, in-home care for the elderly, HIV/AIDS prevention, tobacco education, chronic disease treatment and reimbursement for care of low-income residents. As part of the national tobacco settlement, the county had the option of collecting the funds in a lump sum or in annual payments over 25 years. The Board of Supervisors voted last October to take the money up-front. County officials said that opting for the lump sum "makes sense" because inflation would devalue the settlement over 25 years, and the county will not be relying on the success of the tobacco industry to collect future payments. "[I]f you're a municipality and you have health services you fund, do you really want to be in a business where you're hoping tobacco sales are going really well?" Neil Rossi, the county's chief deputy treasurer, said (Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/1).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.