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January 4, 2016

CONTACT: Sam Mahood

(916) 653-6575


Proposed Initiative Enters Circulation

Hospitals. Healthcare Service Charges. Initiative Statute.


SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the proponent of a new initiative was cleared to begin collecting petition signatures today.  

The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows: 

HOSPITALS. HEALTHCARE SERVICE CHARGES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Prohibits hospitals from charging more than 25 percent above the estimated cost of goods and services provided to patients. Requires hospitals to refund excess charges each year, adjusted to account for unreimbursed losses from treating uninsured and low-income patients. Requires hospitals to provide annual patient care expense and revenue reports. Exempts children’s hospitals, public hospitals, and veterans’ hospitals. Authorizes regulations and fees assessed on hospitals to implement measure, and penalties for non-compliance. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State and local government savings associated with reduced government employee and retiree health benefits spending on hospital services, potentially up to several hundreds of millions of dollars annually, offset to an unknown degree by various responses by insurers and hospitals. To the extent the Legislature continues to extend a current limited-term fee on certain private hospitals, the measure would likely decrease fee revenues available to (1) offset state costs for children’s health coverage and (2) support state and local public hospitals. (15-0101.) 

The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1760 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 15-0101. 

The proponent of the measure, Roberta B. Johansen, must collect the signatures of 365,880 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the November 2014 general election) in order to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot. The proponent has 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure, meaning the signatures must be submitted to county elections officials by July 5, 2016.  The proponent can be reached c/o Karen Getman at (510) 346-6200.