Hospital ballot initiative in Palo Alto and Livermore

Why you should VOTE NO on Measure F and Measure U

In the Nov. 6 election, Palo Alto and Livermore residents will be asked to vote on a ballot initiative — Measure F in Palo Alto and Measure U in Livermore — sponsored by the local union Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) that purports to control health care costs in their communities. While we at Stanford Health Care are always focused on reducing the costs of the high-quality care we provide, the ballot initiative won’t help us accomplish this goal. Here are some facts you should know about this misguided initiative:

Why is SEIU-UHW promoting this ballot initiative?

The objective of this initiative is to pressure SHC into allowing the union direct access to non-unionized employees so that the union can expand its membership. The union has used this tactic at other health systems across California, and it is turning up the heat on Stanford Health Care in the hope that we give in to its demands.

SEIU-UHW says the measure will control health care costs. If this is a top priority at Stanford Health Care, why would we not support it?

The fact is, nothing in the initiative would limit what patients are charged. Rather, it would mostly benefit for-profit, out-of-state insurance companies by requiring local providers and hospitals — including Stanford Health Care — to pay rebates to insurers without any requirement that the rebates be passed on to patients. Simply put, SEIU-UHW’s motive is not the cost of care at Stanford Health Care, or the interests of patients, community residents and employees.

What are the consequences if this ballot initiative passes?

This misguided initiative poses far-reaching, negative consequences for a broad range of local health care providers; the Palo Alto and Livermore city governments; and, ultimately, the patients and people we care about and serve.

First, it would reduce community access to quality health care. The care providers affected by this initiative — including large providers as well as local dentists, optometrists and other small specialty practices — will be forced to cut back services, reduce staff or relocate to communities not affected by this measure.

For SHC specifically, this would mean a budget cut of up to 25 percent — making it difficult, if not impossible, to continue our current offering of patient care services and programs. It would also force SHC to reconsider how to use the new hospital building opening next year and eliminate our ability to retrofit current facilities. Patients would lose access to all but a small subset of specialty services, and SHC would be forced to look at reductions in staff, salaries and benefits. In addition, it would threaten our world-class status as an academic center that supports research and education.

Second, it would place a tremendous burden on local governments. The cities of Palo Alto and Livermore would be required to implement and enforce this confusing and ill-advised initiative, costing taxpayers’ money and potentially putting other public services at risk. Hospitals are already highly regulated by federal and state governments. Adding another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy will drain taxpayer dollars.

What can I do to help?

If you are eligible to vote in Palo Alto or Livermore, please vote no on Measure F in Palo Alto and Measure U in Livermore in the Nov. 6 election. In addition, please educate your friends and family on the potential impact of these initiatives if they are passed — every voice matters. You can learn more about the negative impact of these initiatives and how you can help at and