SAN DIEGO: Earmarks $100 Million of Tobacco Money for Cancer Center
The San Diego County Board of Directors voted yesterday to allocate $100 million of the county's expected $945 million tobacco windfall to a "world class cancer center," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The center would take advantage of the area's numerous biotech firms and cancer centers by giving them a forum for collaboration, and would also allow local patients to receive care closer to home. "This is a huge step forward," said Supervisor Ron Roberts, who sponsored the proposal along with Supervisor Dianne Jacob. Other supervisors countered that the county should wait until its share of the tobacco windfall is finalized before making any plans, and some local health experts charged that the money would be better spent on obtaining basic health care for "the uninsured and working poor." But Dr. David Tarin, head of the University of California-San Diego Cancer Center, noted that as the proposed center will only use 10% of the available funds, there will be "plenty of money remaining for aiding the uninsured working poor." Others are calling for the money to be spent on caring for those who already have tobacco-related diseases and for smoking prevention programs. The board will release a draft of its full plan as to how to spend the money in the fall (Clark, 6/30).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.