HeartCare Articles. Save. Your. Heart.

Florida Budget Officials Tap Into Tobacco Endowment Fund To Provide Health Care For Low-Income, Severely Ill Residents

May 21, 2017

Florida state budget negotiators on Wednesday approved a measure to shift $300 million from the Lawton Chiles Tobacco Endowment for Children and Elders to preserve social and health care services for about 40,000 residents in state Medically Needy and the Medicaid Aged-and-Disabled programs, the Miami Herald reports. Under the measure, funds would be allocated to programs for a period of one year through June 30, 2009.

According to the Herald, the decision came after "intense lobbying" by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and social service advocacy groups, who "argued the desperation measure was necessary to help protect Florida's most frail residents." However, the decision also has raised concern among social service advocates who maintain that the tobacco endowment funds -- as part of a 1997 settlement with tobacco companies negotiated by former Gov. Lawton Chiles (D) -- should not become a solution to deal with "bad budget decisions of the past with no guarantee that money taken" will be returned, the Herald reports (Klas/Caputo, Miami Herald, 4/24).

Reprinted with kind permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2008 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.