The Mercury News and East Bay Times
October 13, 2018
Palo Alto’s Measure F and Livermore’s Measure U win the award for the most irresponsible initiatives before Bay Area voters this fall.
The measures were put on the ballot by SEIU-UHW, the union that represents 1,800 Stanford Medical Center workers, with the likely intent of gaining leverage in contract bargaining. The cities were targeted because Stanford has significant operations in Palo Alto and Livermore.
The measures would force every hospital and health care provider in the two cities to reimburse insurance companies and patients who are charged more than 15 percent above the industry-established cost of services provided.
That’s right. Palo Alto and Livermore would be required to take responsibility for overseeing the validity of hundreds of thousands of medical charges every year.
The initiatives present so many problems and potential unintended consequences that it’s hard to know where to begin. Suffice it to say that hospital financing and medical costs are complex issues best left to federal and state governments. A major industry medical cost overhaul with greater transparency is in order. But cities are not suited to take on the task.
Palo Alto and Livermore voters should reject the measures on Nov. 6.