[Jan. 24, 2014] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Political powerhouse SEIU has put its full weight behind two ballot initiatives to lower hospital costs in California, making the first of three monthly $500,000 contributions to the Yes for a Healthy California committee that is driving the initiatives.
SEIU in California has 700,000 members. The initiatives were filed by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, one of the 15 local unions that make up SEIU in the state. It is estimated that together the two measures will reduce hospital costs in California by at least $3 billion a year.
“SEIU members across California are excited by these initiatives to lower the cost of healthcare in our state. We will not only fund these initiatives in a major way, we intend to be out in force to get them passed in the fall,” said Jon Youngdahl, executive director of the SEIU California State Council.
According to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, California hospitals subject to these ballot initiatives charged $233.6 billion in 2012 – even though their operating expenses were only $54.5 billion. In addition, dozens of executives of nonprofit charitable hospitals in California are paid more than $1 million a year. The top 10-paid executives in the state have average salaries of $2.4 million.
The two statewide ballot initiatives are:
- Fair Healthcare Pricing Act of 2014: Prohibits hospitals from charging more than 25 percent above the actual cost of providing patient care. On average, California hospitals charge 320 percent more than the actual cost of providing care in their facilities.
- Charitable Hospital Executive Compensation Act of 2014: Prohibits nonprofit hospital executives in California from receiving more than $450,000 in annual compensation – the same amount received by the President of the United States.
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Paid for by Yes for a Healthy California, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, United Health Care Workers West. Major funding by Service Employees International Union, United Health Care Workers West and California State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee.