Campaign for Ballot Initiative on Medi-Cal Provider Fee Raises $51M
Hospitals, health care networks and other health-related groups in California have raised more than $51 million in support of a proposed ballot measure that would set the percentage the state gets from a fee levied on hospitals and designate how that money is to be spent, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
The measure also would make it difficult for lawmakers to challenge or repeal a law (SB 239) that was passed by the California Legislature last year (Miller, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/15).
Background on SB 239
The law, by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) and Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), extends for three years the Medi-Cal quality assurance fee that has been assessed on hospitals since 2009. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Funding from the fee goes toward:
- The state General Fund for medical programs for children;
- Grants to hospitals; and
- Seed money to attract federal funds (Norberg, "Capitol Desk," California Healthline, 10/10/13).
Details of Ballot Initiative
The proposed ballot measure would nullify the Jan. 1, 2017 "sunset date" from the law and would require voters to approve any changes to the law.
Kevin Riggs, a spokesperson for the campaign to pass the ballot initiative, said proponents have gathered 1.3 million signatures, surpassing the 807,615 needed by May 1.
So far, 77 hospitals or other health-related groups have donated at least $1,000 to the campaign, according to "Capitol Alert." The largest donors are:
- The California Health Foundation and Trust, which has contributed about $9.5 million; and
- Dignity Health, which has contributed about $8.5 million ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/15).