Republicans in the legislature have their own plan to spend the 55-Million dollars tobacco companies will pay the state this year. Governor Vilsack wants to spend all the money, now, whereas Republicans want to set aside nine million dollars in a savings account. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson wants the extra dough in case cigarette-makers go bankrupt and quit sending Iowa the cash.Vilsack proposes expanding the number of needy Iowans who qualify for Medicaid. Republicans plan, instead, to raise the amount doctors, hospitals and other health care institutions are paid for the care they provide toMedicare and Medicaid patients. Representative Dave Heaton, a republican from Mount Pleasant, is the architect of the plan.Heaton says Republicans hope hospitals and other health care institutions use the higher government payments to boost staff pay.G-O-P lawmakers also plan to spend almost 10-million dollars on anti-smoking programs — but it all would be aimed at kids, according to Heaton. He says it’s more important to target kids now and get to adults later.Governor Vilsack says his primary goal for the tobacco money is to help more poor Iowans gain access to health care by using ALL of the tobacco settlement dollars now.Iowa is to get a total of one-point-seven Billion dollars once all the tobacco settlement money is paid.
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