Make no mistake, California’s Proposition 86 is a ruthless money grab designed to subsidize or recoup monies owed to HMO’s and Hospitals by illegal aliens not a deterrent to smoking cigarettes.
It’s a known fact that California’s healthcare system is in shambles and deteriorating at an unbelievable rate. Emergency rooms continue to close and health insurance continues to rise. The number one cause of this problem that everyone here knows (but doesn’t talk about at parties) is the enormous number of illegal immigrants who by definition use our social services but rarely contribute to them.
In an attempt to (wrongly) fix this problem the Hospital corporations HMO’s and so forth came up with a great scapegoat to suck the money out of. Smokers! Everyone now hates smokers! Those evil, veil people who congregate outside the front door huddling around a concrete ashtray – you know these creatures! What better group of people to tax than smokers if you can’t get to the rich?
One major problem with that solution is they aren’t the problem the people who are here illegally sucking off the public teat are. In fact $1.4 billion of taxpayers’ money goes toward providing health care to illegal aliens and their families. $1.4 billion! It’s no doubt most Californians, who have seen their taxes increase while public services deteriorate, already know the impact that mass illegal immigration is having on their communities, but even they may be shocked when they learn just how much of a drain illegal immigration has become!!!
Here is what the Official voter guide has to say about the proposition and why we should vote NO!
VOTE “NO” ON PROPOSITION 86—STOP THE $2.1 BILLION TAX HIKE!
We all want to improve our healthcare system, but Proposition 86 is the wrong solution. Prop. 86 is an unfair tax increase supported by special interests who are amending our Constitution to benefit themselves.
Prop. 86’s proponents say it’s about encouraging people not to smoke, but it isn’t. It’s really a money grab by huge hospital corporations who will reap hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year!
• Less than 10% of the tax revenues go toward helping smokers quit or keeping kids from starting.
• The largest share—almost 40%—goes to hospitals, many of which are funding the campaign for the new tax.
• HMOs will pocket millions from Prop. 86.
WHY ARE HUGE HOSPITAL CORPORATIONS SPENDING MILLIONS TO PASS PROP. 86?
• Hospitals wrote Prop. 86 to give themselves an exemption to antitrust laws, giving them legal protection to divvy up and limit many medical services, and then raise prices without worrying about competition.
• Prop. 86 puts no limits on what hospitals can bill taxpayers for emergency services for the uninsured. Why should hospitals be allowed to charge taxpayers several times what they charge insurance companies for the same treatment?
PROP. 86: ANOTHER LOTTERY MESS
Like the state lottery, it will be nearly impossible for voters to know how the new taxes will be spent. Prop. 86 lists program after state program that gets a cut of the estimated $2.1 billion in new tax revenue.
PROP. 86: NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO TAXPAYERS
Prop. 86 throws millions of dollars at new bureaucratic state programs without adequate legislative or governmental oversight. There are NO GUARANTEES how the money will actually be spent or assurances the money won’t be wasted.
PROP. 86: INCREASES OUR DEFICIT
Prop. 86 contains 38 pages of spending mandates. But experts agree that the amount of money raised by this tobacco tax will decline over time. Declining revenues and demands to fund Prop. 86’s programs will only worsen our deficit. Other important programs like education, transportation, and law enforcement might have to be cut, or taxes raised further.
PROP. 86: INCREASES CRIME
Law enforcement groups oppose Prop. 86 because it will increase crime and smuggling. Stolen and smuggled cigarettes are already a big source of money for gangs and organized crime. If Prop. 86 passes, a single truckload of stolen cigarettes could be worth over $2 million to criminals.
PROP. 86: UNFAIR
Prop. 86 taxes smokers to pay for programs that have nothing to do with smoking, like obesity programs. Less than 10% of the tax revenues go toward helping smokers quit or keeping kids from starting.
PROP. 86: LOCKED INTO OUR CONSTITUTION
Proposition 86 amends our Constitution and statutes. When problems and abuses are discovered, it will be nearly impossible for the Governor or the Legislature to fix them. The Constitution should not be changed for a special interest money-grab.
Hospital Funding. Nearly three-fourths of the funds in this account would be allocated to hospitals to pay their un-reimbursed costs for emergency services and to improve or expand emergency services, facilities, or equipment. Allocations would be based largely on the number of persons that hospitals treat in their emergency departments and their costs for providing health care for patients who are poor.
Private hospitals and certain public hospitals, including those licensed to the University of California (UC), would be eligible to receive funding. Hospitals licensed to other state agencies or the federal government would not be eligible for funding.
There are also some major Antitrust Immunities cleverly stuck into this proposition.
The hospital corporations that qualified Proposition 86 for the ballot stand to collect hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year. But that’s not all. Prop 86 includes a section buried in the initiative that could have a profound impact on the delivery of healthcare services in every community in California.
Section 1797.303 (b) (3) reads:
“To the extent that any hospital or hospitals work cooperatively in developing and implementing the plans for providing emergency services described in this Section, the people intend that such hospital or hospitals shall incur no liability under federal or state antitrust or other anti-competition laws prohibiting combinations in restraint of trade, including, without limitation, the provisions of Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 16700) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code.”
In short, the antitrust laws that protect consumers from illegal acts, such as collusive price fixing and other anti-consumer practices, would no longer apply to hospitals if Prop 86 passes. This immunity would extend to both criminal and civil penalties for conduct that is harmful to consumers, illegal under current law and affects the delivery of emergency care and specialty medical services.
Price fixing. Under Proposition 86 hospitals could:
• Set minimum charges for certain services, i.e., $1,000 for a broken leg or $10,000 for a heart attack. This could have harmful effects on patients without health insurance or insurance that is limited to certain amounts per hospital visit.
• Refuse certain insurance plans or place restrictions on the types of insurance they would accept, reducing the availability of insurance.
• Agree on what they will pay nurses, physician assistants, and physicians for emergency and other specialty medical services.
• Agree to become part of a system that charges uniform prices for healthcare services, eliminating competition and causing healthcare prices to rise dramatically.
That should be enough for most people to see how wrong this proposition is for Californians but wait! There’s more. How about The Effect Prop 86 would have on Smuggling? Non-smokers should care immensely about this proposition because it gives smokers a huge incentive to avoid the entire tax by buying cigarettes through friends or family out of state. And who do you think the government will be coming after to make up the resulting drop in cigarette tax collections
Cigarette smuggling generally falls into one of three categories:
1.Individual Bootlegging: Driving across state borders to purchase cigarettes and pay the lower state excise taxes there, visiting Indian reservations or military bases for tax free cigarettes, or using the Internet to purchase cigarettes without paying any state tax.
2.Organized Wholesale Domestic Smuggling: The bulk purchasing of cigarettes in low tax states and then trucking them across the United States and selling them to cigarette retailers who would sell them to customers as fully tax-paid cigarettes.
3.International Smuggling: The smuggling of cigarettes that were exported to or made in a foreign country, such as Mexico, or purchased at duty free shops and brought back across the
Who Opposes Prop 86 no surprise here! Such bastions of liberal thought as:
Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, La Opinion, Napa Valley Register, San Mateo County Times, Tri-Valley Herald, Daily Review, The Argus, Alameda Times-Star, Fontana Herald News, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Monterey County Weekly and Paradise Post.
Don’t be fooled by this bait-an-switch tactic, advocating for the health and wellbeing of smokers only to line the pockets of the HMO and Hospital corporations that refuse to see or address the real problem. Socialized healthcare, if it can work at all, has got to be funded by everyone in the community! In fact after examining this proposition for what it really is and what has caused this lack of funds, it a shining recommendation for privatizing healthcare altogether!