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ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop 52 - Private hospitals funding Medi-Cal

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.


Proposition 52 has to do with how California funds Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is the state’s version of Medicaid, the low income health care program. In order for California to get federal Medicaid funding, it has to put up matching dollars.

Right now, the state raises these funds by charging private hospitals a fee, which has to be renewed every two years. Prop 52 would make the fees permanent. Any changes would require voter approval. And a two-thirds vote of the legislature would be needed to end the fee system.

The California Hospital Association supports Prop 52. So do the state Democratic and Republican parties. Supporters say the current system works, and we should make it permanent.

The only major opponent to Prop 52 is SEIU, the Service Employees International Union. It says this system gives a big no-strings-attached check to the hospitals, who use it to pay their CEOs instead of helping patients. But SEIU is not actively campaigning against Prop 52. It prioritized other issues this November.

To recap, a “Yes” vote on Prop 52 would make permanent a fee charged to private hospitals that’s used to fund Medi-Cal. A “No” vote means the fees used to fund Medi-Cal would end in 2018. The legislature would have to decide whether it wants to extend the fee system.

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this post. Our call-outs are part of our community reporting project.