Healthcare workers launch radio ads to lower hospital costs in CA

[Feb. 3, 2014] SACRAMENTOHospital workers will hit the airways and internet radio today with a $66,000 weekly ad buy aimed at exposing high hospital costs and excessive executive salaries that are driving the price of healthcare out of reach for many Californians. Curbing high costs and salaries are the subjects of two initiatives on track to be placed on the ballot in November.

The ads tell listeners about hospitals that charge as much as $21 for an aspirin and $2,000 for three stitches while paying top executives at non-profit hospitals millions of dollars a year. They encourage voters to go to the website www.healthcarecosts2much.org and tell their own story of high hospital prices. To listen to the radio ads, visit www.healthcarecosts2much.org/media.php.

“Getting the signatures we need to place these initiatives on the ballot is a foregone conclusion, so we want to get out early and make voters aware of how bad the problem really is. We want them to know that something can be done about high healthcare costs that push more than 60,000 Californians a year into bankruptcy,” said Sean Clegg of SCN Strategies in San Francisco, the campaign’s media consultant and strategist.

The radio spots will air on Sacramento radio stations KNCI-FM, KFBK-AM, KSTE-AM, KSEG-FM, KYMX-FM, KDND-FM and KQJK-FM, as well as Pandora radio.

The two initiatives are sponsored by members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, the state’s largest union of hospital and other healthcare workers.

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. Many top executives in the state’s non-profit hospitals make more than a million dollars a year.

According to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, California hospitals subject to this ballot initiative charged $233.8 billion in 2012 – even though their operating expenses were only $54.5 billion.

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Paid for by Yes for a Healthy California, sponsored and major funding by Service Employees International Union, United Health Care Workers West. Additional major funding by State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee.

SEIU—United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States with more than 150,000 members. We unite every type of healthcare worker with a mission to achieve high-quality healthcare for all. SEIU-UHW is part of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s fastest-growing union. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.


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