Oklahoma Has To Use Tobacco Settlement Money To Cover Medicaid Spending

States spending on medicaid is growing bigger and ways to fund it are becoming more creative.

Before we begin, yes states are still receiving tobacco settlement money. This money is supposed to be used for smoking prevention. But for almost two decades, states have diverted that money into other areas of spending not even related.

Indiana lied to voters passing a gas tax to help fund medicaid, Oklahoma is at least openly discussing how to get revenues.

Brecheen also wants voters to approve a constitutional amendment allowing Medicaid to tap into the Tobacco Settlement Education Trust, a $1 billion endowment built through annual payments to the state from tobacco companies as part of a settlement agreement stemming from a 1996 lawsuit.

Lawmakers and conservative groups seeking to avoid tax hikes have targeted TSET as a potential revenue source while questioning its spending priorities. TSET earnings, about $40 million a year, are dedicated to programs intended to prevent cancer, heart disease and strokes. Best-known are its smoking prevention and cessation campaigns.

H/T Tulsa World


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