PA Weekly: Editorial: No on F, Yes on E

September 21, 2018

No, no, no on Measure F

Initiative to give city oversight over health care pricing deserves overwhelming defeat

It is difficult to imagine a more poorly conceived idea to present to voters than the Measure F health care initiative pushed by the union representing health care workers throughout California, including Stanford Hospital employees.

The state Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Health Workers (UHW) is attempting similar initiatives across the state. In Palo Alto the union turned in more than 3,500 signatures in late May, leaving the city scrambling to meet the deadline for either adopting the proposal as presented or placing it on the ballot for voters to decide this November. The council unanimously voted to put it on the ballot and, subsequently, to oppose it. A nearly identical measure appears on the ballot in Livermore.

The proposal is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Not only will it fail to help consumers and create perverse incentives for medical centers to cut staffing levels, but it will also saddle the city with the need to hire a staff of experts to analyze and oversee the charges being made by almost all medical professionals, including individual practitioners, dentists and orthodontists practicing in Palo Alto. No city is equipped to regulate health care providers, and it is hard to conceive of any court upholding the constitutionality of local control over what local health care providers can charge for their services.