Voter-Sponsored Ballot Measures, Including Five Health-Related Initiatives, Unlikely To Affect Voter Attitudes Toward Process, Opinion Piece States
The "wacky" Nov. 2 statewide ballot -- which features 16 measures, including five health-related initiatives -- likely will not "shake the voters' faith in direct democracy," columnist Daniel Weintraub writes in the Sacramento Bee (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 10/10). The five health-related initiatives on the ballot are:
- Proposition 61, a $750 million measure that would pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals. Including interest, the program would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years;
- Proposition 63, a measure that would increase by 1% the state personal income tax on individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to finance an expansion of mental health services. The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses;
- Proposition 67, an initiative that would add a 3% surcharge to residential telephone bills to fund hospital emergency services and training. The initiative, which would not include cellular or business lines, would generate an estimated $550 million annually to fund emergency department services;
- Proposition 71, an initiative that would raise an average of $295 million annually for a decade to promote stem cell research through the issue of state bonds. The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest; and
- Proposition 72, an initiative that allows state residents to vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2, a state law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage (California Healthline, 9/27).
According to Weintraub, state residents should "[e]xpect a few Election Day grumbles, and a handful of experts offering proposals for change." However, Weintraub writes that "California voters love their ballot. To take it away, you'll have to pry it from their cold, dead fingers" (Sacramento Bee, 10/10).
The poll is available online. 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.