To the Editor:
If your mechanic advised you that you could avoid spending $750 on a future car repair if you spent $100 today, you would probably take that advice.
The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert-Wood-Johnson Foundation conducted a study that found Maine is able to avoid $7.50 of future health care costs for every $1 it spends on health promotion and disease prevention today. In Maine, the bulk of disease prevention is paid for by Maine’s share of the tobacco master settlement funds.
Locally, these efforts are coordinated by Healthy Lincoln County, one of the 27 Healthy Maine Partnerships throughout the State that work to prevent underage tobacco use and drinking, encourage good nutrition and healthy activities in schools, and prevent substance abuse.
In addition, Healthy Lincoln County works with employers to develop and implement worksite wellness policies and environmental changes. It is a well-known fact that improving the health status of employees can help businesses lower their healthcare costs.
Unfortunately, Rep. Les Fossel (R-Alna) has voted to eliminate funding for Healthy Lincoln County. As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee he has voted to support a proposal to stop using tobacco settlement funds for their intended purpose of preventing chronic disease and lowering health care costs for all Mainers. Instead, he wants to use the funds to support the Medicaid program.
I find Rep. Fossel’s position on this both fiscally irresponsible and deeply disappointing and would urge that other concerned Mainers contact his office regarding his shortsighted position.
Willard A. Monsell