Health care-related measures were among the slate of ballot propositions that California voters rejected Tuesday. Voters defeated a measure that would have required doctors to notify a parent or guardian of unmarried minors before providing an abortion by a wider margin than they had rejected a similar measure in 2005. Also going down to defeat was a measure that would have increased the state tobacco tax to fund health care programs.
At the other end of the spectrum, voters did re-elect Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), a decision that could have significant implications for health care in California. Aides to the governor have said that health care will be a major focus in his second term, and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) has gone so far as to say that Schwarzenegger would like health care to be his "signature issue."
Voter turnout was a record low, with 43.9% of eligible residents turning up at the polls. As a result, qualifying future initiatives for the ballot in the next four years could be easier because the number of signatures required to qualify a measure is based on turnout in the most recent gubernatorial election. What implications, if any, this has for health care remains to be seen.
This week's Legislative Update highlights children's health advocates' reaction to the defeat of Proposition 86.