Anti-Tax Groups Strive To Kill Bill That Would Levy Fees on Hospitals
Anti-tax groups are pressuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to veto a bill that would impose fees on hospitals to draw down additional federal funds for health care programs, the Los Angeles Times reports.
AB 1383 by Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) aims to generate $2 billion by securing higher federal reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
The measure currently is before Schwarzenegger. Officials say the governor has signaled an inclination to veto the proposal because of concerns raised by the anti-tax organizations.
Anti-Tax Groups Mount Opposition
The California Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers Association and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association all have declared their opposition to AB 1383.
The groups primarily object to the fact that the bill imposes a "fee" rather than a tax, meaning that the Legislature could approve it with a simple majority vote. Tax increases typically require two-thirds majority approval.
Schwarzenegger rarely signs bills opposed by the state Chamber of Commerce, according to the Times.
Support From Hospitals
Most California hospitals support the bill because they say current Medi-Cal reimbursement rates do not cover treatment costs. Many health care providers have experienced significant losses or left the program because of the low payments.California has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates nationwide, the Times reports (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 10/7). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.