Voters Defeat Measure To Fund Emergency Care
Voters "resoundingly rejected" Proposition 67, a measure on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot to fund emergency department care, the Contra Costa Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 11/3). With all precincts reporting, 72% of voters opposed Proposition 67, and 28% voted in favor of the measure (Secretary of State Web site).
Proposition 67 would have imposed a 3% surcharge on telephone bills to fund emergency departments, trauma centers and health clinics and pay for physician training and emergency medical equipment. The initiative would have raised about $550 million annually for hospitals statewide (California Healthline, 11/1).
More than 90% of the funding would have been allocated to hospitals, clinics and physicians, and the remainder would have gone to first responders, such as fire departments and ambulance companies (Contra Costa Times, 11/3).
Campaigns for and against Proposition 67 spent about $15 million. Hospital and physician groups were among its supporters (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/3).
The ballot measure "faced intense opposition" from telephone companies, which spent more than $6.5 million in the campaign to defeat Proposition 67, the Sacramento Bee reports (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 11/3). Although both supporters and opponents of the measure agreed that the cost of uncompensated care has led to the closure of several emergency departments statewide, opponents said the tax would have been "an inappropriate vehicle for subsidizing that care," the Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 11/3). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) opposed the measure (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 11/3).
Additional information on Proposition 67 is available online.