For years, states have been using the awards from their lawsuits against tobacco companies to fund health programs. Texas has expanded that philosophy. In 2003, the state passed a law allowing judges to levy fines on those regularly caught drinking (or drugging) and driving. The monies from the repeat offenders are used to help hospitals pay for the ER care often needed by victims of these accident-prone drivers. Often, the funds are used to cover the costs of helping the uninsured – whom hospitals are required to treat by law – when they arrive in the ER after being hit by a drunk or drug-using driver.
STATE FURNISHES UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL WITH $1 MILLION TO OFFSET TRAUMA COSTS
San Antonio Business Journal
September 25, 2007