Pennsylvania’s Tobacco Settlement Money Remains at Risk; Act Now
June 11, 2019
As efforts to pass a state budget by the June 30 deadline heat up, some lawmakers still want to use money from the Pennsylvania Tobacco Settlement Fund to pay state debt payments. Email your lawmaker now, telling them that all Tobacco Settlement Money should continue to support health care.
Since its implementation during 2001, Pennsylvania has committed to keeping its share of the Tobacco Settlement Fund for its original purpose: health care. While other states have diverted these funds to help balance budgets and satisfy bond payments, Pennsylvania has been committed to preserving these funds to be exclusively used for health care purposes, such as to:
- Help people quit using tobacco products
- Provide access to health care for everyone, regardless their insurance or health status
- Fund research to cure diseases like cancer, and improve the health of all Pennsylvanians
- Support financially fragile rural hospitals, which serve large proportions of vulnerable patients
- More recently, help hospitals address the opioid crisis
This year, these hospital dollars and research funds are at risk. Even though Governor Wolf’s budget plan kept the Tobacco Settlement Fund for its original, intended purpose, some lawmakers want to use tobacco dollars to pay state debt.
If you have not done so already, please email your lawmaker now, telling them that all Tobacco Settlement Money should continue to support health care.
Last month, HAP—along with American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Bio Advance, Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco, Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania, and The Urban Health Care Coalition of Pennsylvania—submitted a joint letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly requesting that funding to critical public health initiatives, investments in health research, and safety nets for high need patients continue under the 2019–2020 state budget.
In addition, thousands from Pennsylvania hospital community and members of the Healthy Me PA community have emailed lawmakers urging that all Tobacco Settlement Money should continue to support health care.
Please make sure that you weigh in on this critically important issue by emailing your lawmaker now, telling them that all Tobacco Settlement Money should continue to support health care.
For more information, contact Timothy Ohrum, HAP’s vice president, grassroots advocacy, or Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.