States Plan To Use More Tobacco Settlement Money for Health Care, GAO Finds
States are planning to use 32% of their share of the 1998 national tobacco settlement on health care programs in 2005, compared with the use of 20% of such funds in 2004, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. According to the AP/Sun, the goal of the settlement was to recover states' cost of treating smokers with illnesses; however, the settlement does not outline how the money should be spent.
Forty-six states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories that were involved in the settlement used about 44% of the $9.7 billion they received in 2004 to fix budget deficits and about 20% on health-related programs in 2004. In 2005, states expect to receive $5.4 billion in settlement funds and plan to spend 11% of that total on budget shortfalls, according to the report (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 3/22). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.