This is a breakdown of each CA Proposition as researched by Debra Dowdy. She has taken the time to research the facts as given by the Ballot Initiatives and information available on ballotpedia.org. At the end of the description, she and I give our vote for each Proposition. There is also a linkable list of Propositions at the bottom of the post. We hope this will help you learn more about these important initiatives. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and vote!
CA Proposition 52. Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program.
This would be an amendment to the California Constitution. Therefore, we must be very cautious because this will be very hard to undo should we want to undo it down the road. Many of the propositions are Constitutional amendments.
For California to receive federal Medi-Cal funds, we must match them with our own money. Starting in 2009, hospitals were required to pay a fee to help California obtain those federal funds. As a result, hospitals receive about $2 billion per year in federal funds. (The State has taken some of the hospital fees and put them in the general fund and used them for other things.)
If we vote yes, we’re saying that if the legislature wants to change the program, e.g., divert funds, they will have to get voter approval. Also, it would take a 2/3 legislative vote to stop the program.
If we vote no, we’re saying that the legislature can change the program with a simple majority vote.
Right now hospitals are paying the fees. That’s scheduled to end on 1/1/18. Approving this initiative would make the fees permanent.
This initiative is supported by the California Health Foundation and Trust. The next top nine donors are all hospitals including Children’s in Madera and Community Medical Centers. (Disclosure: I work for CMC.)
Initially the SEIU-UHW union opposed this measure, but they are now neutral because they decided to “focus on political resources in other areas.” When they were opposing this, they argued that the money would not go to patient care, but to the CEOs for luxury cars, country club memberships, etc. Sorry, but my BS antennae are twitching hard there.
Both the California Democratic and Republican Parties support this measure. Nobody seems to be against it.
Numbers (2015-16): Hospitals paid $4.6 billion to the State. $900 million was diverted to the general fund by our politicians for whatever. The remaining $3.7 billion was used to match the federal funds. The feds gave us $4.4 billion. 3.7 + 4.4 = 8.1 billion to the hospitals–a net “profit” of $3.5 billion.
So if we don’t get the $3.5 billion from the feds, where does it come from? Us. (Ironically, the federal money is also “ours,” but I digress.) Also, it seems to me that the main reason for this measure is to tell the politicians that when we vote for money to be spent on X, it should be spent on X, not diverted to the general fund.
Debra Dowdy is voting – Yes
Chris Dowdy is voting – No
Links to all other CA Proposition for the 2016 Ballot: