First take at the ballot measure…

It’s official and filed.

The initiative would ask voters to approve a majority of the $14 billion a year to get a better health system. It includes some of the financing of AB x1 1, including the employer contribution, the hospital fee, the county share-of-cost, and the tobacco tax, now set at $1.75.

It’s submitted by Governor Schwarzenegger and Speaker Nunez themselves. (Interesting side note, as someone who’s submitted ballot measures in the past: This mean they are the ones who have to sign all paperwork henceforth, regarding petitions, ballot arguments, etc.)

We’ll put out a broader analysis soon, but some things of note:

* The hospital fee language is similar to what has been in print, and would be used to bring in federal matching funds that would go back to hospitals through increased Medi-Cal rates and through coverage expansions.
* The state coverage expansions will provide savings for counties, who now provide some care to medically indigent adults, and some of those savings will be re-invested into the coverage expansion.
* Children’s groups were able to get one-time bridge funding, so that children could stay on county children’s programs until the statewide universal children’s coverage program was up and running.
* The tobacco tax backfills a range of Prop 10 and Prop 99 programs to help ensure they are not impacted by lowered consumption due to the higher tax, with the exception of money that went to children’s coverage.
* The employer contribution section is similar to what has been described, where the employer contribution is scaled up to 6.5% of payroll. It seems to pick up on the suggestion of Judge White suggestion in his San Francisco ruling, placing the assessment on all employers, but then offering a “credit” for those they contribute to health care in other ways.
* It is written with the explicit “expectation” that the act is “essentially the same” as the way it was passed in the Assembly. The Senate will likely be able to make clarifications and refinements, but if there are major structural changes, then the ballot measure will probably need to be refiled.

Lots to go over…

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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