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What Californians Need to Know About Prop 8, the Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act

by Wes Messamore, published

California Prop 8 (2018) is a ballot initiative measure that, if passed, will require kidney dialysis clinics in California to make no more than 15% in profit markups over expenses from their operations.

Proposition 8 would set up a state committee to oversee its requirements, and force kidney dialysis clinics in the state to report revenues and expenses to the committee.

The state committee would then be responsible for collecting any amount of revenue these clinics make in excess of 115% of operating expenses that the proposition defines as a "fair treatment payment amount," and return that money as rebates to insurance companies (or to the patients themselves if they paid in cash).

The proposition defines the "fair treatment payment amount" as:

"...the sum of all direct patient care services costs and all health care quality improvement costs incurred by a governing entity and its chronic dialysis clinics."

Supporters of Prop 8 (2018), which was advanced by a powerful West Coast labor union, SEIU-UHW West (Service Employees International Union - United Health Workers West), say it's a round about way to force kidney dialysis clinics to hire more employees and spend more on improving services for patients.

They say California's kidney dialysis clinics, which serve 66,000 California residents with failing or missing kidneys every week, are dirty, understaffed, non-compliant with state health regulations, and don't offer enough translation services for residents who only speak Spanish or other languages. And they say the profits these clinics are making would be better spent on hiring more workers, training them better, and improving the quality and cleanliness of their facilities.

Their hope is that with the passage of Prop 8, these kidney dialysis companies would rather keep their money in their companies by improving their facilities and hiring more employees, than give it back to the insurance companies instead.

According to California's official voter information guide on ballot initiative measures, the PRO arguments for Prop 8 are:

"Dialysis is a life-saving treatment, but big dialysis corporations making huge profits don't invest enough in basic sanitation and patient care. YES ON 8 supports investment in quality patient care and stops overcharging that drives up costs for Californians. The California Democratic Party, veterans, healthcare advocates and religious leaders agree: Yes On 8."

While the CON arguments against Prop 8 are:

Proposition 8 is OPPOSED by thousands of nurses, doctors, patients, the American Nurses Association\California, California Medical Association, American College of Emergency Physicians of CA because it would result in the closure of many dialysis clinics in California—dangerously reducing access to care, putting the lives of vulnerable dialysis patients at risk, and increasing costs for California taxpayers. Vote NO.

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