A Silicon Valley city may use national tobacco settlement money to provide all of its children with health insurance, the Associated Press reported on June 1.
The plan –which has the support of six out of 10 San Jose City Council members – would use settlement money and cigarette tax revenues to cover every one of the city’s 36,692 uninsured children.
Forty-six states and several cities are debating how to spend their share of the $206 billion owed to them after they sued the tobacco industry to recover the costs of treating smoking-related disease.
While many areas plan to use the funds for purposes other than health, Bob Brownstein, who helped draft the plan, hopes San Jose will be the first city to commit to health insurance for all children.
“There’s been a lot of discussion that this region has become so obsessed with wealth that its lost its heart and soul,” said Bob Brownstein, policy director for an organization called Working Partnerships.
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