August 4, 2022

Endorsement: Vote no on Proposition 29, a cynical attack on dialysis clinics

Orange County RegisterBy Editorial Board

Wait — you mean California voters have to weigh in on the obscure question of appropriate staffing levels at dialysis clinics — again?

Didn’t we just do this?

We did. And, yes, it’s absurd. But nevertheless, Proposition 29 will be on the November ballot, asking voters to require dialysis clinics to have at least one physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant while patients are being treated.

There is no medical reason for this request. There is zero evidence that California dialysis clinics are unsafe. To the contrary, they are literally life-savers. This is another ploy by one union, SEIU-UHW West, which has made a practice of harassing clinics around the nation because its leadership wants more power over how such clinics are run.

Over the last 10 years, as Prop. 29 opponents point out: “UHW has wasted $77.7 million of its members’ dues money funding 48 failed ballot initiatives across the country — many of which put patients and their members at risk. That amounts to more than $700 per UHW member that they’ve wasted on these failed and reckless efforts. Your memories of doing this all before are not wrong: This is the third time Californians have faced essentially identical ballot measures on this issue since 2018, sponsored by UHW, targeting dialysis providers.

You and your fellow voters didn’t take the bait, overwhelmingly rejecting Proposition 8 in 2018 with 60% of the vote, and Proposition 23 in 2020 by 63%.

Perhaps there ought instead to be a law, based on the theory of no double jeopardy, against bringing to the voters the same issue over and over after being so roundly rejected. The union’s theory seems to be that if it keeps trying, one of these Novembers it will randomly, accidentally succeed.

Or, perhaps, that voters will just get tired of seeing the measure appear year after year, and vote it in so they don’t have to see it again. Which would be a terrible reason to pass a terrible law.

The union thinks that the admittedly small number of firms that run most of the dialysis clinics in this state and throughout the country are too profitable, and this irks them. Again, not a good reason to legally demand artificially high staffing levels just to spite them.

That’s why the state’s physicians and other healthcare providers, including the California Medical Association, American Nurses Association California and the American Academy of Nephrology PAs all oppose Prop. 29.

Patient groups oppose it, too, for its potential to decrease the number of clinics available.

“This measure is a despicable threat to patients and an abuse of the electoral system,” DeWayne Cox, a dialysis patient from Van Nuys, told the coalition that is opposing the ballot measure.

“This union leadership has no regard for dialysis patients like me who are already struggling to get the treatments we need to stay alive. They should be ashamed.”

“There is no good reason that dialysis patients should be put in harm’s way year after year by this special interest union,” said Oakland nephrologist Bryan Wong, MD, of the East Bay Nephrology Medical Group. “UHW members clearly don’t care about dialysis patients, or they wouldn’t repeatedly pursue ballot measures that put them in danger.”

Voters, let’s up the ante and oppose the measure in even greater numbers this time around — a 70% number would be nice — in hopes of not seeing it come before us again. Vote no on Prop. 29 this November.

Paid for by No on 29: Stop Yet Another Dangerous Dialysis Proposition, sponsored by patients, doctors, nurses and dialysis providers. Committee major funding from DaVita, Fresenius Medical Care, and U.S. Renal Care.

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