Los Angeles Times Endorses Los Angeles County Ballot Measure To Fund Trauma Centers
Although a measure on the Nov. 5 Los Angeles County ballot to fund the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms would impose a "swallow-your-medicine" property tax increase and would not guarantee that the revenue raised would "keep all the county's beleaguered hospitals open," voters should approve the measure rather than "waiting for the entire system to collapse," according to a Los Angeles Times editorial (Los Angeles Times, 10/18). Measure B would raise property taxes by three cents per square foot, or an average of $42 per year. The measure also would establish a three-cent per square foot tax on structural improvements; a half-cent per square foot tax on parking improvements; and a tenth of a cent per square foot tax on agricultural, vacant or similar land. County officials expect that the measure would raise about $175 million in additional revenue each year. The county would spend $92 million on emergency rooms, $63 million on 13 public and private trauma centers and $20 million to fight bioterrorism (California Healthline, 10/16). The editorial states that the measure "does not pretend to provide enough money to cure" the budget problems in the county's health care system but would "keep at least the core" of emergency and trauma services available and would "probably save some lives." The editorial concludes that Los Angeles County residents can "ignore" the problems in the county's "overburdened, underfunded emergency system" and "hope that they can find a trauma center open if they need one -- or they can vote for Measure B" (Los Angeles Times, 10/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.