Alameda County, Calif., voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase to prop up three-hospital Alameda County Medical Center, Oakland. The ballot initiative, which passed with 70.9% of the vote, will generate about $90 million annually for 15 years. Three-fourths of the funds will support the cash-strapped public hospital system. The remainder will be divided among other county healthcare facilities that serve mostly low-income residents. Alameda is the third California county in two years to turn to voters in an effort to keep its healthcare system afloat. A similar initiative was approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2002; another fell just short of passage in Monterey County late last year. -- by Laura B. Benko
Sales tax increase to bolster Calif. public hospital
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