California Healthline Highlights Recent Editorial, Opinion Pieces Addressing Ballot Measures To Fund Emergency Care
An editorial, opinion piece and letter to the editor recently addressed Proposition 67, a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot that would add a 3% surcharge to residential telephone bills to fund hospital emergency services and training. The measure would generate an estimated $550 million annually (California Healthline, 8/16). Summaries are provided below.
- Sacramento Bee: Proposition 67 "throws money" from an "utterly unrelated source" at the "serious hole" in hospital budgets from uncompensated care, "rather than targeting funds effectively," according to an editorial in the Bee. The editorial states that although the tax "would help cover the lion's share of the unpaid bills," the funds generated by the measure "could be spent a whole lot more wisely." The editorial asks how state officials would decide "what's the fair compensation" for hospitals and doctors and how they would "confirm that none of the providers actually got paid directly by the patient or some insurer." The editorial concludes that the "cavalier" measure should be rejected (Sacramento Bee, 8/31).
- Dr. Michael Sexton, Sacramento Bee: More than 80% of California emergency departments post losses, and Proposition 67 would keep such losses from "killing the system" by keeping EDs open; retaining hospital staff; supporting clinics for nonemergency care; training first responders; and upgrading the 911 response system, Sexton, an emergency physician and president-elect of the California Medical Association, writes in a Bee opinion piece. Sexton writes that the Bee's editorial on the initiative "is wrong" because it does not address provisions of Proposition 67 to target funds based on care delivered and to provide for audits and penalties for doctors who double-bill. Sexton concludes that medical responders and providers "who see firsthand the threat to public safety from the crisis" in the emergency care system support the measure because they see it is "essential to maintain emergency medical care in California" (Sexton, Sacramento Bee, 9/7).
- Jack Lewin, San Jose Mercury News: ED care for the nearly seven million uninsured state residents is the primary cause for the more than 65 ED closures in California over the past decade, Lewin, CEO of CMA, writes in a letter to the editor. Lewin writes that Proposition 67 is a "better solution" that would "ensure that [EDs] stay open and high-quality lifesaving care remains available to all Californians." Lewin concludes, "[T]here is no other alternative. Let's pass Proposition 67" (Lewin, San Jose Mercury News, 9/1).