Governor Tom Vilsack and Republican legislative leaders have agreed to a plan which uses all 55-million dollars of the state’s tobacco settlement for health-related programs.Both sides gave a little at the conclusion of negotiations. Vilsack backed down and agreed to reserve a portion of the cigarette-company payments in a savings account, and Republicans backed down and agreed to use a portion of the money to provide health insurance to poor kids. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from West Des Moines, is a retired insurance company executive.Kramer says more than nine million dollars is dedicated to an anti-smoking campaign.House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says it shows the Republicans who lead the legislature can compromise with the democrat Governor.Vilsack says the deal bodes well as he and legislators work together in the closing days of the legislative session.Some of the money paid by the cigarette companies will be used to increase government Medicaid payments to Iowa doctors, hospitals and clinics. Some will be used to boost services for handicapped Iowans and some of the money will be used to provide substance abuse treatment to addicted Iowans.
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