Children’s Hospitals Campaign for Proposition 61
The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday examined children's hospitals' campaign in favor of Proposition 61, a bond measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot that would provide $750 million to pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 10/13). Including interest, the program would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years (California Healthline, 10/12).
Supporters of Proposition 61 say additional funding is needed to help children's hospitals provide adequate capacity and keep pace with technological developments.
Anthony Philipps, chair of the pediatrics department at the University of California-Davis Health System, said, "There are pieces of equipment and modern technology that is being advanced at every moment of every day. Children's hospitals are having to come up with the cash to buy these things because they save lives."
Charity Bracy, a spokesperson for the California Children's Hospital Association, said, "We've got lots of different variables, from seismic regulations to the way hospitals are paid (by Medi-Cal and private insurers). All this stuff is coming together at the same time. We thought it was time to get creative and think of a way to make sure children's hospitals could keep their doors open."
Karen Hanretty, a spokesperson for the California Republican Party, said that her organization opposes Proposition 61 because "there's no guarantee that this $750 million would actually increase the funds to the children's hospitals." She added, "The problem is that the Legislature could actually use the bond funds in place of revenues that would otherwise have been directed to children's hospitals."
Ron Roach, a spokesperson for the California Taxpayers' Association, said the organization is concerned that passage of the measure could lead to "a spree of similar bond measures from now to eternity from every interest [group] that thinks it can get free money." He added that "children's hospitals are like motherhood and apple pie, but we look at things from more of a fiscal perspective."
On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said he does not support the measure (Sacramento Bee, 10/13).
More information on Proposition 61 is available online.