The Fund for a Healthy Maine Supports the Maine Economy, 03 2011

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The Fund for a Healthy Maine Supports the Maine Economy, 03 2011

  1. 1. Fund for a Healthy Maine: Creating opportunities for better health and lower costs for everyoneHealthy families are the key to a healthy economy. When people are healthy,children do better in school, workers are more productive, and businesses canadd jobs because their health costs are lower.Maine’s economic recovery depends on bringing down the cost of health carefor businesses, and that’s what the Fund for a Healthy Maine is designed to do.Maine business leaders consistently identify lowering health costs as the singlemost important priority for lawmakers to address in their efforts to spur neweconomic growth.1The Fund for a Healthy Maine (FHM) is our golden opportunity to invest inpreventing disease rather than paying for it after the fact. It’s just commonsense that the best way to get health costs under control for families andbusinesses is to keep people healthy in the first place.We have an ethical and moral obligation to the Maine people who got sick anddied as a result of tobacco addiction. The FHM is not a rainy day fund. The FHMis a special fund with a special purpose: prevent disease today so current andfuture generations can be healthy and prosperous.The Governor’s budget dismantles the Fund and the special legacy it provides tothe people of Maine.Recognizing the tremendous opportunity Maine’s tobacco settlement presented,the Legislature designed the Fund specifically to “supplement, not supplant”General Fund expenditures. The Governor’s budget eliminates this protectionand uses the Fund to fill budget gaps, flying in the face of a decade of bipartisanlegislative support.1 Maine State Chamber of Commerce/Maine Development Foundation (2010),www.mainechamber.org/images/MakingMaineWork/MakingMaineWork_Report2010WEB.pdf
  2. 2. It would be foolish and short-sighted to give away $7.50 tomorrow for $2 today.That’s not a good deal for Maine. Every dollar invested in preventing disease andpromoting opportunities for good health saves $7.50 in long-term health costs.2That’s the price we’ll pay if we cut FHM prevention dollars to supplant GeneralFund dollars that receive a federal match on Medicaid 2-to-1.Maine people consistently and strongly oppose balancing the budget withtobacco settlement dollars. Using the FHM as it was intended – to preventdisease and promote good health – has been overwhelmingly supported instatewide polls since the Fund was created.The current proposal takes Maine in the wrong direction. Maine people needgood jobs and every opportunity to live healthy lives. Keeping the FHM working toprevent disease and promote good health is our best opportunity to supporthealthy families and lower costs for businesses.The Fund for a Healthy Maine is working! Helping smokers quit, giving kids ahealthy start, providing opportunities for new parents, motivating families to getactive, teaching students about healthy choices, and engaging communities inevery corner of Maine: each one leads to a brighter future for all of us. Whywould we dismantle one of Maine’s biggest success stories? The people of Maine are counting on Maine legislators to protect the Fund for a Healthy Maine and keep it working as it was intended – creating opportunities for better health and lower costs for everyone. Prepared by the Friends of the Fund for a Healthy Maine, February 20112 Trust for America’s Health (2009), www.healthyamericans.org/reports/prevention08/Prevention08.pdf

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