Prop 67: Emergency and Medical Services Funding

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 10, 2004
Most observers agree that California’s emergency care system is a mess. Elia Gallardo (EE lee uh guy ARR do), with the California Primary Care Association, says emergency rooms are hemorrhaging money, with predictable results. CUT: EliaGallardo14 :14 In the last decade, 65 emergency rooms have closed. Which for those people in those areas when they have a heart attack or get into a car accident, it’s gonna double and triple the amount of time that they’re be able to access a doctor. Prop 67 would add a three per cent tax on in-state phone service with the money dedicated to paying for emergency services. Long distance calls would be exempt from the tax. The surcharge could not exceed fifty cents a month for residential users. Seniors on “lifeline” service would be exempt. But businesses and cell phones would be taxed at three per cent with no upper limit. Prop 67 could produce over half a billion dollars a year in new revenue. Under its formula, ninety percent of that revenue would go to reimburse hospitals and doctors for the cost of treating emergency room patients who have no money. Less than one per cent, or about four million dollars, would go toward upgrading 9-1-1 technology. Opponents of Prop 67 – like Larry McCarthy, President of the California Taxpayers Association - say it pits doctors and private for-profit hospitals against the telecommunications industry, which could have long term negative results. CUT: Larry McCarthy14a :14 It’s a horrible precedent. One of the first times we have seen an industry target another industry for a tax increase to help their financial bottom line. That’s essentially what this is about. Early opinion polls showed voters narrowly opposed, but fewer than twenty per cent said they had even heard of Proposition 67. SOC