SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ —¬†With five weeks to go until the November election, dialysis corporations are poised to spend even more to defeat this year’s Proposition 23 than the record $110 million they shelled out two years ago against another measure to reform the dialysis industry, Proposition 8.

At this stage of the campaign, the industry already has spent more money and amassed a war chest that is bigger than two years ago. Once again the industry has shown a willingness to spend massive amounts to protect its outsized profits in California, a total of nearly $600 million in earnings in the most recent reporting year, 2018.

“There they go again,” said Ida Panell, a dialysis patient at Satellite Healthcare in San Francisco. “All Prop. 23 does is ask the industry to direct more of its profits to improving the clinics where we get our treatment, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to their spending to protect their huge profits, millions for executive salaries and expensive perks. Their priority appears to be money. Our priority is staying healthy and alive.”

This year, the industry has already raised $93 million and spent $85.7 million, compared with $65.3 million and $47 million respectively two years ago. The new spending includes:

  • $74 million in television advertising;
  • $5 million for direct mail; and
  • A nearly $2.8 million payment to the California Republican Party.

Dialysis is a dangerous procedure for patients with end stage renal disease whose kidneys either aren’t functioning or are not functioning properly. It involves removing a patient’s blood, cleaning it, and then returning it to the body. It must be done 3 times a week for 3 to 4 hours, and must be done for a patient’s entire life or until they receive a kidney transplant. It puts patients at risk of serious complications, including heart attacks, large fluctuations in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.

Proposition 23 does four things to protect the health and safety of dialysis patients:

  1. Requires a physician or nurse practitioner to be in the clinic any time patients are being treated to oversee care, make sure safety and sanitation protocols are followed, and be there for the inevitable complications that arise.
  2. Requires clinics to report accurate data on infections to the state and federal governments so patients and their families can access the information and make informed decisions on which clinics to utilize.
  3. Like all other life-saving health care facilities, stops clinics from being closed or reducing services unless approved by the state. This is designed to protect patients in rural communities or those who would have to travel long distances if their clinic closed because the dialysis industry the location is not making enough money.
  4. Prohibits clinics from discriminating against patients because of the type of insurance they have.

Although the “Yes on 23” side is being heavily outspent by the dialysis industry, a recent poll by Survey USA shows the measure with more than a 2-1 lead, with 49 percent of voters in support and 23 percent against.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the United States, with 97,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.

SOURCE SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West

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