From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Say NO to the car tax! But YES to 911 tax?

August 24, 2004 10:57 AM

LA County lost six emergency rooms in a little over a year, and is getting set to lose another 10-15% of capacity.

Downey Regional Medical Center's emergency room is losing $2 million per year, and is considering a downgrade in status to save money that would turn away an estimated 5,000 ambulances each year, said Robert Fuller, the hospital's executive vice president. The emergency room treats 51,000 patients each year and has seen its nonpaying population double in the last 12 months.

My grandmother lives in Downey, and I experienced the shortage first hand when she had a mild stroke and had to go to the emergency room. I went down to be with her, and she was literally lying on the ambulance stretcher in the hallway while the two EMTs stood around for hours waiting for her to get a bed. They aren't allowed to leave until she is in a bed. Talk about a horrible waste of money!

There are several factors at play, but it can be mostly blamed on the 1 in 3 LA County residents who are uninsured. They have no other option but to go to the emergency room.

The proposed solution from industry groups? Proposition 67 which would raise $600 million annually for emergency care by quintupling the 911 surcharge on Californian's telephone bill. The tax on a $59.95 cell phone bill would go from 43 cents to $2.23.

So we can't possibly afford a dramatic increase in the car tax, but we literally can't live without a dramatic increase in the 911 tax?

Jim Lott, EVP of the Hospital Association of Southern California: "We're cutting off limbs to stay alive."

More from the archive in California, Health.

Say NO to the car tax! But YES to 911 tax? (08.24.2004)

Next Entry: Memo to staff: "Don't rely on the AP" (08.24.2004)
Previous Entry: Robert Greenwald on Charlie Rose -- watch the video (08.24.2004)

Read the 3 comments.


Here is where it really hurts that Kerry beat Dean in the primary. I doubt Kerry will do anything about the healthcare crisis.

Most of us will end up at the mercy of this broken system, but at least we will have our tax breaks.

Tue Aug 24 2004 12:52 PM


I should really reserve judgement on this. I looked at Kerry's website, and although I would prefer more specifics, he does seem to indicate that health care would be a major initiative during his presidential term.

It would be wonderful if Kerry can come up with a well thought out plan, based on recommendations by an advisory panel of leading experts, and have a persuasive guy like Edwards to help him push it through.

Tue Aug 24 2004 2:55 PM


Kerry does have some specifics here:

The real dream would be if Kerry would pick Dean to head up the health care initiative, at least the planning aspect of it. This could be a one-time opportunity. Republicans would like nothing better for it to fail, so they can scare people into doing nothing about healthcare, as happened under Clinton. It's important that the healthcare plan be workable, and Dean is the guy who has the most experience that I am aware of, in how to make universal healthcare work.

Tue Aug 24 2004 3:00 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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