Georgia Trauma Care Funding, Amendment 2 (2010)

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Georgia Constitution
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Preamble
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IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXI
Georgia Trauma Care Funding, Amendment 2 appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Georgia as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was defeated.[1]

The measure called for imposing a $10 registration fee on motor vehicles to raise funds for the state's trauma care centers. The new fee was projected to raise $80 million per year.[2][3][4]

Aftermath

Amendment 2 was the only measure defeated in the November 2, 2010 statewide elections. Similar to poll predictions the measure received only 47% of votes in favor. In an article in reaction to the vote Sen. Buddy Carter pointed to three main reasons for why the measure may have failed: voters were tired of fees and taxes; poor message communication in support of Amendment 2; and the lack of a "sunset clause."[5]

2012 effort

In early February 2011 Sen. Greg Goggans proposed a similar measure for the 2012 statewide ballot. Georgia Trauma Care Funding Amendment (2012) proposes designating $10 from vehicle registration fees into a trauma care trust fund. Unlike Amendment 2, the 2012 proposal would not raise current fees or taxes.[6]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Amendment 2 (Trauma Care Funding)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,342,55552.6%
Yes 1,207,836 47.4%

Official results obtained from the Georgia Secretary of State

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title read:[7]

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to impose an annual $10.00 trauma charge on certain motor vehicles in this state for the purpose of funding trauma care?
(__) Yes
(__) No

Background

According to reports, trauma care funding had been an issue since a 2007 legislative study committee issued a report announcing that the system was in "crisis." The report stated that most of the rural parts of the state were without a trauma center.[8] The Senate passed legislation in 2009 but it failed to reach the full House for a vote.[2] In 2010 the state had four Level One trauma care centers, none of which were located in the southern part of the state.[9][10] According to reports, in 2010 trauma care funding was cut to $23 million a year. The proposed measure was estimated to raise $80 million a year for trauma care.[11]

Support

Medical and business leaders formed a coalition in support of the proposed measure. According to reports, advocates argued that the proposed fee was necessary because most hospitals in the state were not prepared for injuries such as car crashes, gun or knife attacks. Specifically, they said only 16 of the state's 152 hospitals were designated trauma centers; the trauma death rate in the state was 20% higher than the national average; and they estimated that if improvements were made to the state's trauma centers as many as 700 lives would have been saved.[7]

Arguments

  • "No one likes to think about the need for trauma care. But we can’t help people who don’t get to us in time. There is a critical window of 60 minutes after a serious injury to get life-saving care. For children, the window is only 30 minutes," said Dr. Dennis Ashley, campaign spokesperson and chief of trauma services at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.[12][13][14]
  • The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital board supported Amendment 2. "What’s ten dollars? Most of us pay more than that a month on our cell phone plans. We have the opportunity to give all Georgians better health care service," said Phoebe Hospital CEO Joel Wernick.[15]

Tactics and strategies

In September 2010, supporters launched the "Yes Amendment 2" campaign. Television ads, according to supporters, were scheduled to begin airing in Atlanta on September 15, 2010 and throughout the rest of the state in October.[16][17]

Opposition

According to reports, opponents included the Georgia Tea Party Patriots. Opponents of the measure argued that the proposed fee was simply another form of government assistance of the state's hospitals.[7] According to reports, however, they did not plan to actively campaign against the proposed measure but would oppose it in the voter guide.[11]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Georgia ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • Savannah Morning News supported Amendment 2. The editorial board said, "Georgians should view the car tag fee as one of the cheapest insurance policies they'll ever take out. For only ten bucks a year, drivers can make sure that if they are ever in a catastrophic accident, there will be a fully-staffed trauma center close enough to keep them alive."[18]
  • WTVM 9 supported Amendment 2. "Georgia currently has 16 hospitals with certified trauma centers and we need at least thirty centers to meet the needs of the state's growing population. As usual it is about money. The state's trauma funding has been slashed to $23 million down from $58 million...We say vote 'yes' on Georgia's ballot amendment two, for a $10 dollar commitment the life you save could be you or someone you love dearly," said the WTVM editorial committee.[19]
  • Gwinnett Daily Post said, "Because of the lack of trauma centers in the state, deaths from trauma injuries are 20 percent higher than the national average. Voting yes to Amendment 2 will lower that number. It is an insurance policy that we believe is well worth the $10 registration fee."[20]
  • Creative Loafing said, "You've probably seen the TV commercials in favor of this amendment that feature a traffic accident followed by a young girl being driven off in an ambulance with the implication that she won't make it. Scare tactics aside, the Peach State has a terrible record when it comes to providing access to trauma care centers."[21]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

  • A poll conducted in early October 2010 by Insider Advantage revealed that 26% of polled voters supported the proposed measure, while 48% were opposed and 26% were undecided.[22][23]


Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
October 2010 Insider Advantage 26% 48% 26% -


Path to the ballot

See also: How the Georgia Constitution is amended
Healthcare on the ballot in 2010
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In order to move the proposed constitutional amendment to the 2010 ballot the measure required two-thirds approval in both the House and Senate. On April 29, 2010 the House voted 149-14 in favor of referring the measure to the ballot. The Senate also approved the measure with a 46-2 vote; qualifying the measure for the ballot.[24]

See also

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External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. Atlanta Journal Constitution,"Georgia election | Failed amendment leaves trauma fix unclear," November 3, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Atlanta Business Chronicle,"Legislature passes trauma care funding measure," April 29, 2010
  3. 11Alive,"GA Legislature 2010 Session Wrap Up," April 30, 2010
  4. MyFoxAtlanta,"Newsmaker: Trauma Care Amendment," October 7, 2010
  5. Athens Banner-Herald,"Forum: Trauma care remains real need in Georgia," November 9, 2010
  6. Associated Press,"Senator revives, reworks trauma care fund proposal," February 11, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,"Trauma funding vote must overcome distaste for new taxes," July 2, 2010
  8. Associated Press,"Georgia Voters Could Decide Fate of Trauma Hospitals," April 29, 2010
  9. Examiner,"Constitutional amendment to help permanently fund Georgia's trauma centers passes Ga. House, 149-14," April 29, 2010
  10. WCTV,"Trauma Care Funding to Ballot," May 2, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 WSBTV,"Extra Car Tag Fee Up For Vote In November," September 14, 2010
  12. Gwinnett Daily Post,"POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Campaign launched for trauma fee," September 15, 2010
  13. The Chattanoogan,"Yes 2 Save Lives Urges Voters To Support Georgia Trauma Care," September 15, 2010
  14. WRWR,"Nov. 2 amendment a life or death decision, experts say," October 6, 2010
  15. FOX31online,"Phoebe officials support Amendment 2 for a trauma network," October 6, 2010
  16. The Augusta Chronicle,"Groups set to launch campaign for trauma funding," September 13, 2010
  17. The Augusta Chronicle,"Groups seek Ga. car tag hike for trauma care," September 13, 2010
  18. Savannah Morning News,"Car Tag Fee: Amendment 2: Yes," October 7, 2010
  19. WTVM 9,"Editorial: Georgia Amendment 2," accessed October 20, 2010
  20. Gwinnett Daily Post,"OUR VIEW: Vote yes on Amendment 2," October 23, 2010
  21. Creative Loafing,"Our pick for ballot measures: Yes to all (except Amendment 1)," October 27, 2010
  22. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,"InsiderAdvantage poll: Trauma care vote on life support," October 7, 2010
  23. WABE,"Poll Says Trauma Care Amendment on Life Support," October 7, 2010
  24. WSAV,"Georgia Voters Could Decide Fate of Trauma Hospitals," April 29, 2010