California Newspapers Cast Editorial

Scant editorial support for Props 67 and 72. but strong editorial voices on both sides of other measures

When Californians cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 2, some 37 percent will rely on their local newspapers for advice, according to a Field Poll commissioned by the California HealthCare Foundation. So what are the papers around the state recommending on the five health care propositions that could shape the face of California’s health care financing and delivery system for years to come?

Proposition 61, funding for children’s hospitals projects, is opposed by the Los Angeles Times and other Southern California newspapers, as well as the Sacramento Bee. But it is supported by Northern and Central California papers, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Fresno Bee.

The tax to expand coverage for the mentally ill, Proposition 63, has support from the Chronicle, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Long Beach Press Telegram, but is opposed by the Times, the Orange County Register, and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Proposition 67, funding emergency care through a telephone surcharge, is supported only by the Bakersfield Californian. Thirteen other newspapers have taken editorial positions against the initiative, including the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Pasadena Star News.

Stem cell research, Proposition 71, has a closely divided editorial landscape with six papers urging a “yes” vote — including the Contra Costa Times, the Chronicle, and La Opinion — and nine papers urging “no,” including the Sacramento Bee, the Merced Sun-Star, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and the Register.

The fight over Proposition 72, a referendum to approve or reject legislation (SB 2) that would require mid-sized and large employers to provide health care coverage, has produced editorial support from just one publication — the Bay Guardian. Fifteen other publications have lined up against the proposition, including the Chronicle, the Times, and the Sacramento Bee.

A complete summary of editorial positions by 30 different newspapers is available at is a Web site sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation and the Center for Governmental Studies. It provides non-partisan, detailed voter information about this November’s five health-related ballot propositions.

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.