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Sacramento – Joining the growing list of California daily newspapers opposed to Proposition 23, the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times urged readers to reject the flawed measure. 

The San Francisco Chronicle said, “The lives of some 80,000 Californians with kidney failure depend on dialysis, which typically entails three treatments a week lasting four hours each. That they are at the center of a battle over financial spoils for the second time in as many years is an unfortunate comment on the nation’s health care system as well as the state’s initiative process. Vote no in the hope of discouraging any further reliance on this tactic.”

The Los Angeles Times said, “For the second time in two years, California voters will be asked to play the role of healthcare regulators and set rules for how dialysis clinics operate in this state. And once again, they’ll be offered a seemingly appealing way to make clinics safer. But just as they smartly rejected a ballot measure in 2018 that sought to increase clinics’ spending on nurses and technicians, they should reject an initiative this year to increase clinics’ spending on doctors. Proposition 23 — like Proposition 8 in 2018 — would raise costs without delivering a meaningful improvement in the quality of care.”

The San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times join other daily newspapers opposed to Prop 23 including: the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, San Jose Mercury News East Bay Times, Lake County Record-Bee, Bay Area Reporter, Bakersfield Californian, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, and Redlands Daily Facts.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, “Vote no on Prop. 23, a rehash of ugly labor disputes with California dialysis clinics:”

  • “The statewide initiative reprises the same dreary contest [Prop 8 in 2018] in slightly different form, forcing voters to weigh in twice on a matter that shouldn’t have been put to them once.”
  • “Despite the superficial appeal of the idea, putting voters in charge of specialized medical staffing doesn’t make much more sense than asking them to micromanage the clinics’ finances. But sense is not really the point so much as dollars.”
  • “Clinic operators say it will force superfluous spending on doctors who, given the limited supply of nephrologists, aren’t likely to have any particular expertise in dialysis.”
  • “The clinics are already required to employ a physician medical director and keep a registered nurse on site, while patients must be seen regularly by their doctors during dialysis.”
  • “Dialysis clinics, which are regulated by the state and federal governments, are already required to report infection data to the latter to receive payment from Medicare, which covers a majority of their patients.”
  • ‘The lives of some 80,000 Californians with kidney failure depend on dialysis, which typically entails three treatments a week lasting four hours each. That they are at the center of a battle over financial spoils for the second time in as many years is an unfortunate comment on the nation’s health care system as well as the state’s initiative process. Vote no in the hope of discouraging any further reliance on this tactic.”

From the Los Angeles Times, “No on Prop 23. It would raise costs and not improve kidney patients’ care”

  • “Proposition 23 — like Proposition 8 in 2018 — would raise costs without delivering a meaningful improvement in the quality of care.”
  • “One insurmountable problem for the proposition, though, is that its supporters have not offered any evidence that its mandates are either necessary or helpful for patients.”
  • “The most consequential provision in Proposition 23 is the mandate to have a doctor on site at all times. … But the proposition wouldn’t require an M.D. who specializes in dialysis or emergency care — any doctor would suffice (and if there’s a demonstrated shortage of doctors, any nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant).”
  • “It’s true that dialysis patients often wind up in the hospital or the emergency room. Compared to the large number of treatments delivered over the course of the year, however, the number of problems experienced by each clinic is low (and lower in California than the national average, according to federal statistics).”
  • “That may explain why neither the federal government nor any other state requires clinics to keep a doctor on hand, largely idle, to help out when something does go wrong. Instead, each clinic is required to have a physician overseeing all of its patients’ care, and each patient has a kidney specialist or affiliated professional who checks in on them weekly while they’re being treated.”
  • “The one sure result of the doctor-on-duty mandate is that it would raise the cost of care.”
  • “But voters are not the ones who should be deciding how best to keep patients safe. Those decisions should be based on research and medical science, not politics. Voters should reject Proposition 23 and tell the SEIU-UHW to stop hijacking the initiative process for its organizing campaigns.”

Background:

Nearly 100 groups oppose Prop 23, including the California Medical Association, American Nurses Association\California, and many others because it would jeopardize the lives of dialysis patients by forcing hundreds of dialysis clinics to cut back services or shut down completely – making it more difficult for dialysis patients to access their life-saving treatments. 

Furthermore, this dangerous and costly dialysis measure would make the state’s current doctor shortage and emergency room overcrowding even worse, while unnecessarily increasing health care costs for taxpayers and consumers by hundreds of millions of dollars every year. All of this, in the midst of a global pandemic, threatens to put a strain on necessary health care resources across California.

There are approximately 80,000 dialysis patients in California with failed kidneys who need machines to clean their blood and remove toxins from their bodies. Patients must receive dialysis treatment three times a week for four hours at a time to stay alive. Access to consistent dialysis treatments is so important that just one missed treatment increases patients’ risk of death by 30%. 

Prop 23 is sponsored by the United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) union – the same organization that abused California’s initiative process two years ago by bankrolling Proposition 8 on the 2018 ballot. Prop 8 would have also caused dialysis clinics throughout California to cut back services or shut down, dangerously threatening dialysis patients’ lives. That’s why every daily newspaper in California opposed Prop 8 and voters overwhelmingly rejected it by 20 points. Now, this special interest group is at it again with a different attempt, but the same outcome, that would put dialysis patients’ lives at risk.

While unions have the right to try to unionize workers, it’s not right to abuse the initiative system and use vulnerable patients as political pawns – especially now in the face of a public health crisis.

Please visit NoProp23.com for more information.