SAN DIEGO — For the third time in six years, California’s voters are asked to put new rules in place for kidney dialysis clinics across our state.
Voters rejected similar propositions in 2018 and 2020, and that has many people wondering, “Why are we being asked to vote on it again?”
“Prop 29 puts a physician or nurse practitioner into a dialysis clinic while people are having their blood cleaned,” said David Miller, Research Director for the union that's a primary supporter of Prop 29.
That union, SEIU-UHE, also pushed to pass the previous ballot measures. He says the initiatives have been about lowering costs to consumers and increasing patient safety.
“Currently they have billions of dollars of profits that they don't reinvest back into quality of care or into the clinics themselves and they hand it off to shareholders,” Miller said.
People against Prop 29 believe this has nothing to do with patient safety, but instead is a union trying to bully the industry into unionizing its workers by forcing them to spend millions of dollars to fight off one ballot measure after another until they agree.
“This is clear abuse by one special interest putting these same dialysis measures on the ballot every single time,” said Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for Proposition 29.
She said the measure doesn't even make sense because clinics have to follow orders from the patient's doctor of record, not some random doctor in a clinic.
“They would be doing nothing but administrative tasks, bureaucratic tasks, maybe watching Netflix on their phone… I don't know, but this is not a good use of doctors or nurse practitioners or physician assistants,” Fairbanks said.
Proposition 29 supporters say this measure is different than the others, with changes that came from recommendations they received from voters. But what happens if voters reject this one too?
Thad Kousser, a Political Science Professor at UC San Diego said it’s not uncommon to see repeat propositions. He also said there's no three strikes and you’re out rule in proposition politics.
Groups can keep bringing them back and, he said surveys show Californians don't actually want that to change.
“We in California are very protective of the people's process,” Kousser said. “Very skeptical of any attempt to monkey with it and really, at the end of the day, voters have the power if they don't like seeing these initiatives over and over again on the ballot - just vote no.
So, if Prop 29 doesn't pass, don't be surprised if you see another kidney dialysis clinic proposition on the ballot in 2024.
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