2016 California Proposition 52

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2016 California Proposition 52 results map by county

2016 California Proposition 52, officially known as the Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Initiative, was a California ballot proposition that appeared on the November 8, 2016, general election ballot. It aimed to make an existing statute that imposed fees on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal services and children's health coverage permanent. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program that provides needed health care services for low-income individuals, including families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, children in foster care, pregnant women, and low-income people with specific diseases such as tuberculosis, breast cancer, or HIV/AIDS.

Background[edit | edit source]

Before Proposition 52, California had a temporary program in place where hospitals paid a fee to help fund Medi-Cal services. This program was set to expire unless legislation was enacted to extend it. The funds generated from these fees were matched with federal funds, thereby increasing the total funding available for Medi-Cal. This arrangement not only helped to expand Medi-Cal services but also ensured that hospitals were compensated for the care provided to Medi-Cal patients. The proposition sought to make this fee program permanent, ensuring a stable funding source for Medi-Cal without using money from the state's General Fund.

Provisions[edit | edit source]

The main provisions of Proposition 52 were as follows:

  • Making the hospital fee program permanent, subject to federal approval.
  • Requiring voter approval for any changes to the hospital fee program that would reduce the funding for Medi-Cal services.
  • Allocating a portion of the funds to children's health coverage.
  • Ensuring transparency by requiring the state to publish annual audits of the funds generated by the hospital fee.

Support and Opposition[edit | edit source]

Supporters of Proposition 52 argued that it would secure essential funding for Medi-Cal without costing taxpayers extra money. They highlighted the importance of the proposition in maintaining hospital services and expanding access to health care for vulnerable populations in California.

Opponents, however, raised concerns about giving too much control to hospitals over the funds generated and argued that the proposition could limit the state legislature's ability to amend or repeal the hospital fee program in the future.

Outcome[edit | edit source]

Proposition 52 was approved by a significant majority of voters, making the hospital fee program permanent. This approval ensured continued federal matching funds for Medi-Cal, thereby supporting the health care system in California and providing necessary services to millions of low-income Californians.

Impact[edit | edit source]

The passage of Proposition 52 had a significant impact on the funding of Medi-Cal services in California. By making the hospital fee program permanent, it ensured a stable and increased funding source for Medi-Cal, which allowed for the expansion of services and coverage. This was particularly important for the sustainability of the health care system in California, as it faced growing demands and financial pressures.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD