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Continued Erosion of the Health Education Account: 1990-1994
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Positioning for 1994

The continuing failure of CHDP and CPO to provide tobacco use prevention services was becoming an increasing irritant for tobacco control advocates. CPO was, in fact, mainly being used to get federal matching funds. At the county level, CPO programs were supported from two sources: Proposition 99 Health Education Account money and federal matching funds. This money had to be used exclusively for outreach; none could be used to deliver services. Counseling services, which included smoking cessation, did not qualify for federal matching funds.[73] Dr. Rugmini Shah, the director of the state-level DHS Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program, which administered CPO, defined outreach as “finding individuals who are not accessing services and bringing them into the service area system.” Cessation classes could not be funded because “the women are already in here for the classes, so it's not outreach.”[74] Thus, any Proposition 99 dollars that generated federal matching dollars could not be used for tobacco-related services.

At the November 1992 TEOC meeting, the CPO program was on the agenda. TEOC was concerned that the money was being used illegally to meet a federal match for perinatal outreach services and that the federal rules prohibited the use of state matching funds for any anti-tobacco activities.[75] At the January 1993 TEOC meeting, MCH was able to tell TEOC that $7 million of the Health Education dollars given to MCH went to the federal matching program and that only nine of the fifty-eight counties provided cessation training components.[76] By the March 1993 meeting,

the dollar figure for matching had gone up to $8 million, with only $216,000 not qualifying for matching funds. TEOC chair Carolyn Martin called this “a gigantic rip-off of the Health Education Account dollars.”[76]

In contrast to their earlier positions, the health groups and their representatives on TEOC were now openly challenging the appropriateness of using Health Education funds for medical services. In submitting the 1993-1995 Master Plan for California's Tobacco Control Program to the members of the Legislature, Cook and Martin wrote to the legislators on behalf of the TEOC:

We are particularly alarmed by the fact that funding for the CHDP Program continues to expand, yet we have little idea of what CHDP is doing with these funds and no evaluation of its impact. Physicians in CHDP respond to three vague and inexact questions related to tobacco use, second-hand smoke and counseling. The data generated through this protocol is essentially useless. Improving the protocol, which the California Department of Health Service has indicated its willingness to do, might help. However, to date as far as we can ascertain, despite the large funding provided to it, the CHDP Program has contributed nothing to tobacco control.

In addition, the one-third of the money set aside in the Local Lead Agency grants for tobacco-related Maternal and Child Health activities is being used for outreach, without any tobacco education component, despite the legal requirement in Proposition 99 that funds be used only…for programs for the prevention and reduction of tobacco use.[77] [emphasis added]

Tobacco control advocates were beginning to be openly critical of the diversions from the Health Education and Research Accounts to medical services.

Coye resigned as DHS director in September 1993. On November 9 the governor named S. Kimberly Belshé as her successor. Although Belshé had been working in the administration since 1989, she was not a physician, as both Coye and Kizer had been. At thirty-three, she had worked primarily in public relations. More alarming to tobacco control advocates was the role that Belshé had played in 1988 as the tobacco industry's Southern California spokeswoman against Proposition 99.[78] Belshé defended her past association with the tobacco industry, saying that she had opposed Proposition 99 for fiscal reasons.[79] Her proposed appointment did little to reassure advocates of the Health Education and Research programs that they would receive the protection for which Kizer had fought. Her lack of medical credentials notwithstanding, the CMA supported her appointment.[80]


AB 99 continued in force for the 1993-1994 budget year, and the governor's budget for 1993-1994 contained no major raids on the Health Education Account except for those required by Section 43. Section 43, however, led to three cuts to the anti-tobacco program during 1993-1994. Tax revenues ultimately fell by 8 percent between 1992-1993 and 1993-1994, but expenditures for anti-tobacco education fell by 31 percent.[81] The discrepancy between the funding allocation in Proposition 99 and the actual expenditure of funds continued to widen.

While turning a blind eye to the needs of the Tobacco Control Program, the Legislature acceded to pressure from breast cancer research advocates to increase the tax on cigarettes by two cents a pack. The new tax funded a breast cancer research program administered by the University of California similar to the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program. The tobacco industry did not seriously oppose this tax. Aside from the modest increase in price, it did nothing to reduce tobacco consumption. It did, however, offer some political cover for Speaker Brown, Governor Wilson, and the CMA when they were criticized for failing to implement Proposition 99 as the voters intended.

Even though Proposition 99 created a large constituency in the field through the LLAs and local coalitions, these people and organizations were not involved in the dealings in Sacramento throughout AB 99. The Sacramento lobbyists made only a minimal effort to engage these new players in the legislative process, and the local activists were preoccupied with getting the anti-tobacco program up and running. According to ANR co-director Robin Hobart,

There was still some sort of incursions into the Health Education Account, but they still, at that point, seemed small and not worth spending the kind of political capital that you would have to spend to deal with it. We were busy passing hundreds of local ordinances by that time in California and emphasized our role as helping the local lead agencies get their coalitions in order and start working on grassroots organizing around local ordinance campaigns. We were probably doing trainings about every other month, especially during the first two years, sometimes multiple times in a month. That's where a lot of our energy and emphasis was going.[82]

But the people in the field who were implementing the Health Education program were growing tired of the way the money was being taken away and tired of the rules under which they were forced to operate. Meanwhile, no anti-smoking components had been added to CHDP, CPO, or any other health service programs. Moreover, no evaluations were conducted

to test whether CHDP, CPO, and AIM had anything to do with tobacco control, despite pressure from TEOC chair Carolyn Martin.

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Continued Erosion of the Health Education Account: 1990-1994
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