Children’s Hospitals Donate to Campaign in Favor of Proposition 61
California's eight children's hospitals each have contributed about $600,000 to a campaign in support of Proposition 61, a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot that would provide $750 million to pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16). Including interest, the measure would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years (California Healthline, 10/13).
Dr. James Betts, surgeon in chief at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, said, "We're the safety net. We don't refuse care. Some 66% of our patients are on Medi-Cal or uninsured. This is an extremely important initiative for our survival."
Susan Maddox, executive director of the California Children's Hospital Association, said, "We feel children are the first priority of the future of California, but the federal and state governments are strapped. That's why we did this initiative."
California Healthcare Association spokesperson Jan Emerson said, "Most hospitals, including children's hospitals, are in need of funding to pay for capital improvements, such as the hospital seismic safety mandate, but rather than addressing these needs in a piecemeal fashion, we believe a statewide solution is in order." CHA has not taken an official position on Proposition 61.
Opponents of the measure have not financed a campaign against it, but some groups have criticized the supporters' campaign.
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said that children's hospitals are "looking for a lottery-type payoff for their campaign contributions," adding, "There's significant monies going out but a chance at huge monies coming back in."
Opponents of the measure also say that the state should make funding decisions in the state budget process (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/16).
The "unprecedented request" of Proposition 61 "is justified" in part because children's hospitals "must survive through this period of great stress for the health care industry," a Chronicle editorial states. The Chronicle recommends that state residents vote "yes" on Proposition 61 (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/18).
More information on Proposition 61 is available online.