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Social Justice and Community Leaders Across California Oppose Prop 23

SACRAMENTO – Advocates for underserved communities have come out strongly opposed to Prop 23 which would reduce access to dialysis treatments and put the lives of dialysis patients in danger.

The California State Conference of the NAACP, Latino Diabetes Association, Minority Health Institute, National Hispanic Medical Association, Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations and many others are urging voters to reject the dangerous and costly dialysis proposition on the November ballot.

Prop 23 hurts poor, underserved, and disadvantaged communities the most. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, African Americans are 3.5 times more likely and Latinxs are 1.5 times more likely to develop kidney failure and need access to dialysis treatment to stay alive. Dialysis treatment does the job of the kidneys by removing toxins from the body. Missing a single treatment increases patient risk of death by 30%.

Alice Huffman, President, California State Conference of the NAACP said, “Prop 23 will disproportionately hurt underserved patients and those in disadvantaged and low-income communities.”

Prop 23 is the special interest proposition that would seriously jeopardize access to care for tens of thousands of vulnerable dialysis patients, make our state’s physician shortage and ER overcrowding worse, all while increasing health care costs by hundreds of millions annually. Prop 23 would force community dialysis clinics

“Too many Latinos suffer disproportionately from diabetes and high blood pressure. Both are precursors to kidney disease and kidney failure,” said Randy Munoz, Vice Chair, Latino Diabetes Association. “With more and more people, especially Latinos, African Americans, and low-income persons of any race developing kidney failure and relying on dialysis, Prop 23 takes us all in the wrong direction, putting dialysis patients’ lives in unnecessary danger.”

“The lack of available dialysis treatment options will add an unnecessary burden on vulnerable dialysis patients – putting their lives at risk,” said, Richard Allen Williams, MD, President and CEO, Minority Health Institute. “Poor and underserved patients will be hit the hardest.”

According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at the end of 2017, California had the highest number of dialysis patients in the nation. African Americans and Hispanics made up 57% of patients on dialysis.


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.

Prop 23 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, amid 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. In 2018 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 is opposed to Prop 23.

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.

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