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Yes on Prop 4: Kids deserve best care

California has 13 officially designated children's hospitals, five within UC medical centers and eight operated by nonprofit organizations. Three of them are located in the Bay Area. Together, these hospitals treat 2 million children every year, including many of the most complicated cases - pediatric organ transplants, traumatic injuries and cancer. Many of these young patients are covered by Medi-Cal, meaning the hospitals are reimbursed at low rates for the care they provide.

Proposition 4, a $1.5 billion bond act, would help these hospitals add capacity and acquire the latest medical technology and life-saving equipment for their mission - providing children with the health care that they need. Who could object?

Well, there is a case to be made against Proposition 4, an initiative sponsored by the nonprofit children's hospitals. Supporters spent several million dollars on a petition campaign to get on the ballot rather than competing for funding in the state budget process. They did the same thing in 2004 and 2008, and in each instance, we recommended a no vote.

California voters approved both measures anyway. This time, the sponsors made the UC medical centers eligible for funding. That makes it more equitable. And, considering that the goal is to provide state-of-the art health care for children, the cost is minimal - $80 million a year from the state's $120 billion general fund. So, this time, we offer a thumbs up on children's hospital bonds.

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