Indiana doctors want all of tobacco settlement funds spent on health
Hoosier physicians, led by Dr. Barney Maynard of Evansville, have said not just some, but all of Indianaâ€™s $4 billion in tobacco settlement money should be spent on the health needs of Indianaâ€™s residents
Delegates to the Indiana State Medical Associationâ€™s 150th convention in Indianapolis last weekend voted to urge the General Assembly to keep all the money in the health-care arena and not divvy it up for roads, schools, tax relief or other purposes.
The money from the historic settlement with tobacco companies will come to the state in annual installments over the next 25 years.
Some health groups in the state, acknowledging there is stiff competition for the money, are campaigning for 40 percent of it to be kept in the health-care arena, including for tobacco control programs.
But Maynard, ending his year as president of the 7,800-member physician group, said he feels strongly that all the money should be spent on the health problems caused by tobacco use.
The doctors also voted to seek or support legislation that would establish a nonprofit foundation to administer a significant percentage of the tobacco settlement funds for tobacco control, public health and research activities.
A proposal by another Evansville physician was referred to the State Medical Associationâ€™s board of trustees for study.
Dr. John Beman, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, wants the group to ask the state health department for an independent study of the effects of air and water pollution on Hoosier health and health-care costs.