Proposition 23, which talks about new requirements that dialysis clinics, is actually a terrible idea that can harm chronic kidney disease patients who already suffer enough to create uncertainty around them.
The ballot initiative is part of a long labor dispute between the SEIU-UHW union and the two main companies that control 72% of the clinics. It is the revenge of Proposition 8 that proposed to put a cap on the profits of the companies that provide analysis, and that was rejected two years ago by 60% of the voters.
It seems that the electoral preference of two years ago was not taken into account so that patient care is maintained as it is now to make changes. Voters are not alone in this way of thinking. Joining them are several medical organizations, in addition to the Latino Diabetes Association, Minority Health Institute, California Senior Advocates League, NAACP California, Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations and the National Hispanic Medical Association.
They know very well the situation of patients and the impact that Proposition 23 can have on them. It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 people who depend on about 600 dialysis centers in the state of California.
To have a good dialysis, the patient needs four hours of dialysis, three times a week (or 12 hours a week). Patients attend these clinics to connect to a machine whose purpose is to remove excess water and toxins from the blood. The work the kidneys do. There are people, who are more fortunate, who are only in this routine for a while. But there are many, who spend the rest of their lives in this routine. The alternative is death.
Proposition 23 is less demanding than Proposition 8. But the destabilizing danger of a routine necessary for the patient to be calm remains. Kidney failure is a disease that transforms the life of the person, you have to make life easier for them and not complicate them more than they already have.
Proposition 23 would require that a doctor / administrator be present at all times, regardless of the fact that they would not be directly in charge of the care of patients in the clinic. At the same time, a study by the Berkeley Research Group indicates that Proposition 23 would increase the cost of treatment by $320 million each year.
Studies show that if a patient misses one dialysis session per month (or more), the risk of death increases by 30% compared to someone who regularly attends dialysis. Compared to someone who is in treatment for 4 hours, 3 times a week, those who are in treatment for shorter times run a very high risk of dying.
This proposition is an abuse of the ballot initiative system. First, because of the insistence that in itself is the ignorance of an electoral will expressed only two years ago. Second, because this is not an issue that should occupy the attention of all Californians.
We have no antipathy for unions. Organized work has a very important role in society, in the appreciation of the worker. But this is not the case. Its action here is a threat to the stability required by a patient whose life depends on the certainty of his treatment.
This ballot initiative is no better than Proposition 8 from two years ago. It does not deserve a better fate and it would close or there would be severe cuts to half of the 600 dialysis clinics in California, this would seriously endanger the patients who need this service to survive. Vote No on Proposition 23!