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Palo Alto Proposition F: Health Care Cost Initiative

Creative Commons. By Wayne Hsieh. Cropped and resized

Measure F limits how much hospitals, medical clinics and other health care providers in Palo Alto can charge patients and insurers for care. Under the measure, medical providers can’t charge more than 15 percent above the reasonable cost of care provided. What’s reasonable cost?

Well, with any service, staff, equipment, and supplies come at a price. The city would be responsible for making sure that hospitals don’t charge more than 15 percent above that price. Health providers who charge beyond the limit would have to issue a rebate and pay fines.

Health workers from the Service Employees International Union created the measure. They claim Measure F will improve the quality of patient services and help lower medical costs, especially for Stanford Health Care which has some of the highest rates in California.

Opponents say Measure F would worsen the quality of care. Stanford Health Care and Palo Alto Medical Foundation, along with smaller practices, argue that this could lead to budget and staffing cuts at their facilities, which they say will force them out of the city. Palo Alto’s Vice Mayor says the city doesn’t have the expertise or bandwidth to regulate what Measure F would institute.

So, if you think there should be a cap on health care costs in Palo Alto,vote YES on Measure F. If you think health care charges shouldn’t have a cap, vote NO.