Health-related issues are on the Nov. 8 ballots in several states.
Voters will decide whether to repeal a soft-drink tax of two cents per 12-ounces, which raises $35 million a year toward the state's $1.2 billion Medicaid budget. The issue has pitted soft-drink companies against the Arkansas Hospital Association (Sept. 26, p. 32).
Voters will decide whether to allow injured workers to choose their physicians. The Denver Area Labor Coalition, which proposed the initiative, says workers should be able to choose providers they know and trust. Opponents, including employers and managed-care companies, say it would raise workers' compensation costs by undermining managed care (Sept. 26, p. 20).
In Miami County, voters will decide whether to close 18-bed Miami County Hospital. If the closing is approved, the county might be able to use hospital assets for other purposes, but a lease agreement with another hospital could stand in the way (Oct. 10, p. 28).
In Skagit County, voters will decide whether United General Hospital in Sedro Woolley should be returned to an acute-care facility with a 24-hour emergency department. United General affiliated with Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon in 1991 and was converted into an outpatient diagnostic facility with a 12-hour urgent-care center. One advisory referendum asks Sedro Woolley residents whether the affiliation should be ended and United General converted. A second advisory referendum asks whether taxes should be increased to finance the conversion (Sept. 19, p. 12).