If you’re on dialysis – the process of cleaning the blood for those whose kidneys have failed – your life depends on receiving regular treatments. In California, 66,000 people need dialysis treatments to survive. But dialysis patient care is in crisis. Facilities – especially those accessible to low-income people – are in run-down strip malls and are plagued by unsanitary conditions and chronic understaffing.
Prop 8 limits dialysis corporations’ revenues to 15 percent above the amount they spend on patient care and pushes them to invest more in hiring additional staff, buying new equipment, and improving facilities. California Labor Federation delegates unanimously supported Prop 8 at our convention last month.
So what’s the problem? Two big corporations, Fresenius and DaVita, dominate the dialysis industry. This monopoly combined with a lack of industry oversight has created terrible conditions for patients and those who work in patient care. Companies gouge patients with costs of about $150,000 annually for treatment, with little of that money actually going to patient care. Instead the massive profits go to things like executive perks, including private airplanes, while clinic workers and patients suffer in miserable conditions. It’s not uncommon to find cockroaches and bloodstains in dialysis clinics.
What does Prop 8 do? Proposition 8 will push for-profit dialysis corporations to spend more money on direct patient care. Dialysis corporation revenues will be limited to no more than 15% above the amount they spend on patient care. By linking revenue to care, dialysis corporations will have a greater incentive to invest in patient care.
Who supports Prop 8? A wide coalition supports Prop 8 including SEIU-UHW, the California Labor Federation, California Professional Firefighters, the California Democratic Party and an array of community groups and health care organizations.
Who opposes Prop 8? Big corporations like DaVita that rake in huge profits at the expense of patient care.
The bottom line is Prop 8 is a significant step forward to improve patient care in the dialysis industry. It protects workers, patients and stops dialysis companies from overcharging so we can bring down the cost of health care premiums for all of us. Yes on 8!
For more info, including a downloadable flyer and personal stories, go to https://www.yeson8.com