It is a tired but true statement that this bill doesn’t raise taxes, it saves lives. Those lives are the lives of one of California’s most vulnerable and crucial populations – children. As of now, California’s children’s hospitals routinely provide treatment to terminally ill children over one million times a year, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay for that treatment. On the basis of sheer altruism alone, this provision of treatment is admirable, but it becomes even more admirable when one factors in statistical success. In the United States, the survival rate for childhood leukemia stays consistently around 80 percent, and California is no exception to this rule. Considering that Children’s Hospitals Treat around 71 percent of California’s leukemia cases, this means that roughly 56 percent of children diagnosed with childhood leukemia in California survive as a direct result of care accorded to them by Children’s Hospitals. This vital source of life and hope cannot, and should not, be stemmed by anything, least of all insufficient funds.
However, considering that the costs associated with this sort of benevolence are exceedingly high, and are projected to get even higher, insufficient funds are becoming an increasingly large issue. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the number of children in California is projected to grow by 35 percent over the next 20 years, which means that the likelihood of children being hospitalized in California will grow substantially over the next 20 years as well. To make matters even more difficult, California’s hospitals will be required to insure themselves against earthquakes. Studies have shown that this new insurance will cost around 110 billion dollars, a cost which will leave almost half of California’s hospitals unprepared for the possibility of an earthquake by 2013. Now more than ever, California’s children’s hospitals need the help of the people of California.
Proposition 3 will provide that help in an efficient, responsible and compassionate way. Taken together, the total cost of this Proposition will be $2,000,000,000 over the next 30 years, or $64,000,000 a year. This figure sounds daunting, until one realizes that due to California’s vast population, the actual cost of the bill will be about $1.75/year for every person. For that minuscule amount of money, the taxpayer can expect a substantial rise in the quality of both the private and public children’s hospitals in the State of California, and a continuation of the excellence in care discussed above. The 80/20 percent split between funding provided to private and public hospitals has nothing to do with preference for private hospitals and everything to do with granting this money on a fair, proportional basis to California’s children’s hospitals, which are almost all private. Those hospitals who receive this funding will also not be hampered by excessive regulatory bureaucracy, but rather will be free to spend the money on whatever local concerns seem most important. With a model like this, this bill really will save lives without raising taxes.