The California Medical Association (CMA) officially endorsed Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed ballot measure on January 31, 2012.
CMA believes that the proposed tax increases would bring stability to the state’s health care programs and reduce the need for cuts. "The Governor's initiative is the only viable, balanced plan on the table to address the chronic budget crisis and protect essential health care services,” said Dustin Corcoran, CMA CEO.
The Brown proposed initiative seeks a temporary 1 to 2 percent increase in income taxes for individuals making $250,000 or more, in addition to a temporary sales tax hike. The new revenue would add up to $6.8 billion per year for five years, according to administration estimates. The Governor‘s intent is to fully fund public education and public safety and thus free up state general fund dollars for other purposes, such as health care. These temporary tax increases would expire in 2016.
If voters approve the initiative in November, the pressure for additional cuts in safety net programs would be reduced, both this year and in later years. The alternative to revenue increases is deeper cuts, which California’s health care system cannot sustain. CMA joins a varied of group of supporters who agree that this is the only viable measure to be put forth for the fall elections. “Governor Brown’s proposed initiative is a forward-thinking, long-term solution to a reoccurring problem,” Corcoran added. “A balanced approach to the budget is drastically overdue. Everyone feels the pressure of the fallen economy, and this measure will help to ensure quality medical care is available for patients across California.”
With implementation of federal health reform around the corner, California’s Medi-Cal program will enroll up to 3 million new patients in 2014.
“We need to be looking forward, ensuring that health care programs are funded and functional when millions of new patients are added to Medi-Cal,” Corcoran noted. “The Governor’s proposed initiative is the only way to guarantee that.”