Coalition Announces Health and Prevention Policy Package

Funds to Fulfill Original Intent of Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement

November 27, 2012 -- Representatives from leading public health and health care organizations have announced a new policy proposal for consideration in the 2013 legislative session. The proposal includes a list of targeted investments in children’s health, coordinated care organizations and tobacco prevention.
 
The legislation is designed to fulfill the original intent of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) by recommending that all available Tobacco MSA funds be allocated to health and prevention efforts to build a healthier future for Oregonians. The available amount is approximately $120 million, beginning in the 2013-2015 biennium. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, not one penny of the $1 billion Oregon has received in the past ten years in Tobacco MSA payments has gone towards tobacco prevention.[i]
 
“We cannot allow history to repeat itself,” said former Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers. “After ten years of locking in the annual tobacco settlement payments to Oregon to provide debt service, Oregon should seek to fulfill an original goal of the settlement by making a significant part of the settlement proceeds a force for preventing or stopping smoking.”
 
Driven by the principles of prevention, health equity, accountability and innovation, the package includes the following key investments:
 

  • Children’s Health & Prevention: $35 million (30% of available TMSA)
  • Equip Community Care Organizations for Success and
    Achieve Greater Health Transformation through Community-Based Health Initiatives:
    $73 million (60% of available TMSA)
  • Investment in Oregon’s Tobacco Prevention Efforts: $12 million (10% of available TMSA)


“By making these investments, we can fundamentally transform Oregon’s health system,” said Stephanie Tama-Sweet, Director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association. “This proposal gives our coordinated care organizations and communities the tools to achieve healthier outcomes, and our children the foundation for a healthy life.”
 
Organizational members of the coalition include: the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association of Oregon, American Lung Association in Oregon, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Coalition for Local Health Officials, Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Tobacco-Free Coalition in Oregon, Inc., and Upstream Public Health.

About the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement

In 1998, 46 states (including Oregon) and the “Big Four” tobacco companies entered into a legal settlement estimated at $221 billion over the first 25 years, to compensate states for past and future smoking-caused expenditures. The intent was clear: Prevent and reduce tobacco use, especially among children, and lessen the financial toll of tobacco on states.[ii] When the settlement dollars reached Oregon in 2000, voters decisively defeated two ballot initiatives that spent the funds without prevention and cessation investments. At the time, 85% of Oregonians supported spending Tobacco MSA funds on prevention and cessation programs.[iii]
 
What Tobacco Costs Oregon Each Year            

  • $563 per Oregon household in state & federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures;[iv]
  • $374 million in Oregon’s Medicaid costs;[v]
  • $1.25 billion in total direct medical expenditures.[vi]



[i] Actual Payments Received by the States from the Tobacco Settlements, 2002-2011. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids website, http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0365.pdf [accessed 5/16/2012].
[ii] The Master Settlement Agreement. National Association of Attorneys General. 1998.
[iii]Davis Hibbitts & Midghall Inc. Polling, November 10, 1999.
[iv] Smoking-Caused Federal & State Government Expenditures and Related Tax Burdens on Each State's Citizens. Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids website, http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0096.pdf [accessed 5/17/12].
[v] Oregon Tobacco Facts & Laws. Tobacco Prevention and Education Program. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Public Health Division, 2010.
[vi] Smoking-Attributable Morbidity, Mortality and Economic Costs (SAMMEC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

News source: