The below opinion piece was created in collaboration with students in the history classes of Professor Susan Hasegawa.
In the upcoming California general election on Nov. 3, there is a proposition on the ballot involving dialysis centers and their patients.
I support Proposition 23, which looks out for the patient, not the bottom line.
The opposition points out the financial impact of increasing health care costs. It will reduce access to care, putting patients at risk. This measure will cause the closure of clinics and hurt those in disadvantaged and lower-income communities.
The bill specifically states, unless there is a bona fide shortage in physicians, it will not make clinics close or stop people from getting care. If anything, clinics will need permission before closing and cannot refuse to take patients based on who is paying for their treatment.
Looking for more information on Prop. 23? Visit the City Times’ Voters Guide to the Prop 23 here.
Proposition 23 improves safety and accountability in dialysis clinics. A yes vote requires a doctor to be on-site during all treatment hours. Any infections contracted during treatment would need to be reported to the state within three months. Reducing hours or shuttering clinics would require state approval. Prop 23 would end discrimination based on how a patient pays for their treatment.
Roughly 80,000 Californians suffer from kidney failure and receive life-saving dialysis at 600 clinics throughout the state. A dialysis patient spends four hours, three days a week, at a clinic, where they are hooked up to a machine that removes, cleans, and replaces their blood.
Opponents to Prop 23, which include DaVita and Fresenius, say that the higher operating costs associated with hiring full-time doctors will force clinics to close, endangering the lives of dialysis patients who depend on the treatment. They say clinics are already required to report infections on the federal level, and further reporting is unnecessary. These opponents also argue that Prop 23 is merely a ploy to unionize dialysis clinic workers.
Dialysis clinics are currently understaffed and overcrowded with patients. Passing Prop 23 will close loopholes in policy that are currently exploited by dialysis corporations to increase their profit margins. Clinics need a doctor onsite to respond to emergencies that occur during treatment. For-profit dialysis clinics will not be allowed to hold patients hostage over passing this proposition, and will be required to obtain permission from the state if they want to close clinics to protect their profits.
No one who is in need of this life-saving treatment should be denied because of how they pay. Dialysis clinics need to be cleaner and safer. Protect dialysis patients and Vote Yes on Prop 23.
Studying Social and Behavioral Sciences
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