Town Hall Meetings Scheduled To Discuss Ballot Measure To Fund Alameda County Medical Center
A series of town hall meetings are scheduled this week in Alameda County to inform voters about Measure A, a proposed sales tax increase that would fund the Alameda County Medical Center scheduled to appear on the March 2 ballot, the Oakland Tribune reports. Measure A would increase the current 8.25% sales tax to 8.75% and would generate an estimated $90 million annually for county medical programs, including the Alameda County Medical Center, which is operating with a $71.6 million deficit (Holzmeister, Oakland Tribune, 1/20). The Medical Center Board of Trustees passed a budget in December with $23 million in cuts, including measures to require that uninsured patients in Alameda County seeking nonurgent care at all county-run hospitals qualify for Medi-Cal or another health plan or sign a document agreeing to pay part of the cost of care; to eliminate 176 full-time positions; to possibly close some hospital wards; to lay off other employees; and to eliminate some specialty services (California Healthline, 1/16). County Supervisor Gail Steele, an organizer of the town hall meetings, said that "it will be more than a nightmare" if voters do not approve Measure A in March. However, Dr. Lance Montauk, the Republican candidate for the 14th Assembly District seat, opposes Measure A, saying that it is "[t]he wrong diagnosis, the wrong treatment, at the wrong time." The campaign in favor of Measure A is funded largely by county-employed physicians, labor unions representing employees of the medical center's campuses and not-for-profit community clinics (Oakland Tribune, 1/20).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.