On Monday night, the Palo Alto City Council is expected to put a union-sponsored initiative on the November ballot. If passed, it would have significant negative consequences for patients who rely on the care they receive here in our community.
The initiative, by Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), doesn't address health care costs or limit prices charged to patients who have insurance. It doesn't fund preventive care programs that result in a more efficient system or healthier society. Instead, it mandates Palo Alto's hospitals, medical clinics and doctors pay rebates to insurance companies, without requiring rebates be passed on to patients. Nothing improves patient safety or makes care more accessible.
The initiative also applies to local dentists, optometrists and other small, specialty practices in Palo Alto. The financial impacts are likely to force many to cut back, close or make the difficult decision to relocate away from Palo Alto.
Taxpayers would also pay a steep price. City government would be mandated with enforcing a new and complex health care financing arrangement — requiring significant investments in staff time and taxpayer dollars.
We know health care is costly and are working to find solutions. But this initiative doesn't solve our problems. It will only reduce the availability of health care programs and services by drastically underfunding them.
Stanford Health Care, of which I am president and CEO, is part of a coalition, including Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, to oppose this measure. We believe it would result in negative consequences for our community's doctors, nurses, city government and, most importantly, the people we proudly serve.
We hope Palo Alto residents will join us in opposing this misguided initiative and help us stand up for quality care and the people who live and work in this great community.
Pasteur Drive, Palo Alto
Palo Alto irony
After 45 years of living here, observing "Palo Alto Process," the ultimate irony emerges: decades of underparked commercial overdevelopment and overparked residential underdevelopment.
The predictable result: Gigantic jobs/housing imbalance, residential neighborhoods heavily parked with employee cars, traffic jams galore and housing only available to six-figure salary earners.
Despite all this, City Council majorities still feel entitled to kudos and re-election.
Webster Street, Palo Alto
Indebted to Dauber
With the support of Professor Michele Dauber, Emily Doe generated the first significant public vote to end rape culture in the U.S.
The result is a call for government, businesses, schools and everyone to open their minds to understanding and appreciating the abuse and ignorance that women have endured for decades as a result of the rape culture.
Professor Dauber's deep commitment, consummate fervor and passion were responsible for a serious discussion of judges, public values and the culture of rape. Those who feared the loss of judicial independence forgot that we survived the public's removal of Supreme Court Justices Rose Bird, Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin for their opposition to the death penalty by a 67 percent vote. LaDoris Cordell's allegation that Dauber caused the delivery of poisonous powder to the Stanford Law School sadly tarnished her reputation. A low point in the campaign was Persky's lawsuit to restrain the exercise of the constitutional right to petition government. But the lowest point was a shameful op-ed authorized by Persky in the San Francisco Chronicle blaming the victim for the abuse she suffered.
The 40 percent who supported Persky will never appreciate the significance of Professor Dauber's good work and her personal sacrifice in a massive public education effort that resounded with millions of women. Her fortitude in repelling vicious attacks and being categorized as a witch was misogyny that we should not tolerate.
The public is in debt to Michele Dauber for her support of women whose lives have been devastated by the rape culture. Her commitment and steadfast effort to disrobe the culture of rape is in the highest tradition of civil rights advocacy and has brought great honor to Professor Dauber, her colleagues and supporters, the Stanford Law School and most importantly to all survivors of sexual assault.
Park Boulevard, Palo Alto
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