“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” ~James Madison
By Alden Benton
My series on explaining the California ballot propositions continues with Proposition 52.
Proposition 52 extends an existing program which imposes a fee on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal programs for children, disabled, elderly, and the uninsured. The hospital fee program is due to expire in January 2018.
Medi-Cal is a needs-based program for Californians paid for by both state and federal government funds. Since 2009, hospitals in California have paid a Medi-Cal fee to the state. In addition to providing additional funding of Medi-Cal programs, the Medi-Cal Hospital fee enables California to receive additional federal funds for the Medi-Cal program.
According to the California Legislative Analyst, California has received an average of $2 billion per year since the hospital fee program began.
Proposition 52 makes the hospital fee program permanent. Proposition 52 makes it harder to end or change the program by requiring voter approval of changes to the program. The only changes this measure allows are those necessary to make adjustments to meet federal requirements.
This measure requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature to repeal the hospital fee program and forbids repealing the measure and replacing it with a measure of similar intent.
The funds gained through the hospital fee program will not be counted when California calculates its spending limit or the minimum funding levels for K-12 schools and community colleges.
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