California Healthline Daily Edition

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Perspectives On Ballot Measures: Protect Medi-Cal Funding; Time To Raise Tobacco Tax

Commentators analyze how the election could affect health care and policy in California.

Los Angeles Times: Yes On Proposition 52 To Keep Medi-Cal Funded
About 1 of every 6 Californians lives in poverty, which helps explain why almost 12 million state residents are enrolled in Medi-Cal — the state’s version of Medicaid, the health insurance program for impoverished Americans that’s jointly funded by federal and state taxpayers. California’s enrollment is by far the largest in the country. Yet because the state is relatively wealthy, California has to pick up a larger share of its Medicaid costs than almost every other state does. The higher a state’s median income, the smaller the fraction of Medicaid costs that the federal government will pay. (9/13)

Fresno Bee: It's Time To Raise California Tobacco Tax 
Generally speaking, Californians shun tobacco. Smoking has been banned in workplaces here since 1994. So few adults smoke that it is socially unacceptable. Because of new legislation, Californians must be 21 to legally buy a pack of smokes. And yet tobacco industry lobbyists, reinforced by tobacco company contributions to Democratic and Republican politicians, are able to snuff any legislation to raise tobacco taxes. So once again, voters are being asked to do what legislators have failed to do: raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including increasingly popular nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, with the revenue earmarked for anti-tobacco efforts and health care. (9/12)

Fresno Bee: Prop. 60: How Hardcore Do We Want To Get In Policing Porn? 
For as long as X-rated entertainment has existed, it has exploited the vulnerable and troubled. So we sympathize with the intentions behind Proposition 60, which would crack down on unsafe sex in the production of pornography. Unfortunately, this initiative is a bit like its Los Angeles-based proponent, activist Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – well-meaning, but so litigious that even sympathizers are unsettled. Most mainstream AIDS organizations and both major political parties in California oppose it. So must we. (9/12)

San Diego Union-Tribune: Yes On Prop 61 For Affordable Medications
As nurses, we see families who can’t afford the medications they or their children need, or they have to give up other basic necessities. We see patients who have been admitted to the hospital with elevated blood glucose levels because they couldn’t afford the medications that control their diabetes. In 2013 alone, insulin prices jumped by 200 percent. It’s heartbreaking and it’s unconscionable. Californians can take some control back by voting yes on Proposition 61. Proposition 61 would require the state to negotiate with the drug companies for prices that are no more than the amounts paid for the same medications by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (Malinda Markowitz and Dahlia Tayag, 9/15)

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Prop 61 Would Hurt Veterans
As the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Department of California, my duty is to work with and represent veterans throughout California. That’s why I’m deeply concerned about the harm Proposition 61 would inflict on veterans. ... Proposition 61 is a deeply flawed measure that would hurt our nation’s veterans by increasing drug costs to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and, consequently, increasing the price veterans pay for prescription drugs. And the increase in costs to veterans would be significant. (Dale Smith, 9/15)

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