OKLAHOMA CITY – Oct. 29, 2020 – Public health advocates, physicians and policy leaders from across Oklahoma came together at a Thursday press conference to ask voters to reject State Question 814,
No on 814 – Campaign for a Healthier Oklahoma seeks to protect the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) from sweeping changes that would funnel tens of millions of dollars away from public health initiatives.
“Public health programs across the state have seen tremendous success by partnering with TSET,” said Matt Glanville, Oklahoma government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “State Question 814 will devastate TSET’s ability to impact health outcomes in Oklahoma.”
The Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA), a leading voice in health care for Oklahoma’s patients, families and physicians, supports protecting TSET’s funding.
“As physicians and advocates for a healthier Oklahoma, we have long opposed the diversion of TSET funds,” said OSMA president, George Monks, M.D. “From its incredibly successful smoking cessation program and healthy communities grants to its ongoing efforts to bring new physicians to rural areas, TSET’s programs fill an essential role in our state. To change that funding would jeopardize the overall health of Oklahomans.”
Former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, one of eight state attorneys general to negotiate the historic tobacco settlement, said State Question 814 is simply bad public policy.
“State Question 814 is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said Edmondson, who championed the creation of the trust. “We’re told the TSET money is needed to fund Medicaid expansion but, in reality, TSET funds would only cover about one-third of that cost. Also, experts say the revenue generated by Medicaid expansion will more than cover the state matching funds after the first year. That means TSET money wouldn’t be needed at all, and don’t think for a minute the legislature would put the money back. Once the Legislature gets control, we’ll never see those funds again. We can’t let the politicians get their hands in the cookie jar.”
For more information about TSET’s impact on Oklahoma and the campaign, visit 814isnotOK.org.
Authorized and paid for by No on 814 – Campaign for a Healthier Oklahoma, 8400 Silver Crossing, Oklahoma City, OK, 73132, (539) 302-2010.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.