FHM History and Vision, Updated July 2011


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FHM History and Vision, Updated July 2011

  1. 1. The Friends of the Fund for a Healthy Maine History and Vision The Fund for a Healthy Maine (FHM) was created by the Maine Legislature in 1999 to receive and disburse Maine’s annual tobacco settlement payments. Maine participated in the national tobacco settlement because many Maine people have suffered disease and death as a result of tobacco use. The Fund for a Healthy Maine is not taxpayer dollars. Because of its special source, the FHM has a special purpose – to prevent disease and promote good health among Maine children and adults. The Legislature established eight categories of health program spending allowable: · Smoking prevention, cessation and control activities, including, but not limited to, reducing smoking among the children of the State; · Prenatal and young childrens care, including home visits and support for parents of children from birth to 6 years of age; · Child care for children up to 15 years of age, including after-school care; · Health care for children and adults, maximizing to the extent possible federal matching funds; · Prescription drugs for adults who are elderly or disabled, maximizing to the extent possible federal matching funds; · Dental and oral health care to low-income persons who lack adequate dental coverage; · Substance abuse prevention and treatment; and · Comprehensive school health programs, including school-based health centers. By statute, allocations from the FHM must be used to supplement, not supplant, appropriations from the General Fund. It was intended that the FHM be used for new and expanded programs. The FHM was not intended to be used to balance the state budget or spent on non-health-related programs. Unfortunately, these provisions have been ignored in the past and the FHM has lost 17.1% of its resources ($126.8 million) to the General Fund – a significant missed investment in getting and keeping Maine people healthy. FHM revenue is not part of Maine’s General Fund account. It originates in the FHM account and only ends up in the General Fund if lawmakers divert it there. FHM program allocations are made directly from the FHM account and do not pass through the General Fund. The Maine Legislature decides how FHM dollars are allocated within the eight FHM categories. FHM allocations and diversions are currently decided as part of the state’s overall budget process. The Fund for a Healthy Maine is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Maine. The FHM marks the first time non-tax dollars have been available to invest in preventing disease and promoting good health. These investments more than pay for themselves in health cost savings (studies show an average return of $7.50 for every $1 spent). The Fund for a Healthy Maine lays the foundation for a sustainable, affordable health care system. Promoting health and preventing disease are the best investment we can make in keeping health costs down. The success of FHM programs will directly affect Maine’s ability to stabilize health costs and their impact on Maine businesses, individuals, and the state budget. Developed by the Friends of the Fund for a Healthy Maine/Maine Public Health Association, July 2011 (ako)