Editorial: La Opinion opposes Proposition 23

La Opinion September 28, 2020 By La Opinion Editorial Board

Health is not played. Much less in the case of patients with kidney disease whose lives depend on their attendance at dialysis clinics. These patients need complex care. The last thing they need is to be in the middle of a labor dispute that only creates uncertainty.

That is why we believe that Proposition 23 must be rejected. The initiative is the result of the persistence of a labor dispute between a union and the industry. And while two companies control most of the clinics, the industry hit to the wallet goes far beyond DeVita and Fresenius. Hundreds of non-profit clinics with no financial reserves can succumb.

The initiative is less aggressive than Proposition 8 two years ago, which we opposed, and which was rejected by 60% of Californians. Proposition 23 is basically the same idea. That is why we recommend: No.

Labor relations between a union and the employer are made at a negotiating table. If the union has the backing of the workers, it can make a measure of force or get a labor law in the Legislature. The electoral ballot would be more congested, and this time there are 12 proposals, if each labor dispute is kicked for the voters to decide.

It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 people who depend on around 600 dialysis centers. To have a good dialysis, the patient will need 4 hours of dialysis, 3 times a week connected to a machine whose purpose is to remove excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood. It does the job of the liver. There are people, the most fortunate, it is only a time in these routine. The least, they are the rest of their life in this routine. The alternative is death.

Patients already suffer too much from the disease to be used as a bargaining chip in a labor tug of war.

At its core, the proposal calls for a physician at all times the center sees patients. Sounds reasonable but not essential. The doctor would not be a specialist, and the medical team that today works in the centers is sufficient with the exception of very rare emergencies, where an ambulance is called to go to the hospital. Care in dialysis centers is much more complex than the presence of a doctor.

The requirement of the doctor at every step faces two problems: the shortage of doctors and the cost. In California, there is a lack of doctors so that thousands of professionals -by shifts in the clinics- have to be in a strict supervisory task instead of directly treating patients.

Two years ago it was rejected, today it does not deserve a better fate. Vote No on Proposition 23!