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A new tax on hospitals

July 26, 2009

Re "A sick waste of money," Editorial, July 18

It's hard to imagine a worse time to support a new tax on hospitals, but The Times has managed to do just that. This new tax -- which The Times calls a fee -- will be passed through to patients with private health coverage or who pay out of pocket, and will exacerbate our already out-of-control healthcare costs.

Less than six weeks ago, California voters sent a clear signal: no more taxes. The Times' ill-considered endorsement of a proposed hospital tax (AB 1383 by Assemblyman Dave Jones) portrayed the measure as staving off budget cuts but failed to report the true impact of that proposal on California healthcare consumers.

While some hospitals would be able to use the proceeds of the tax to leverage more federal funding, many others from throughout California would receive no benefit whatsoever and would be forced to raise rates for private patients.

No matter how the proceeds would be used, this new tax should be rejected.

Allan Zaremberg

Sacramento

The writer is president of the California Chamber of Commerce.

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