17 legislators now support UHW ballot initiatives to lower hospital prices

[March 4, 2014] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Three more California legislators announced their endorsement of two ballot initiatives that would directly reduce prices and executive salaries in California hospitals, bringing the number of lawmakers supporting the measures to 17.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Assemblymembers Nora Campos (D-San Jose) and Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) join 14 legislators who announced their support for the measures last month.

“Growing support from legislators shows how much hospital overpricing is an issue affecting their constituents, and how they want to hold hospitals accountable in California,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). “There are just too many stories of Californians being overcharged by hospitals for this issue to go unaddressed any longer.”

The two initiatives are sponsored by members of SEIU-UHW, the state’s largest union of hospital and other healthcare workers. Together they would reduce hospital charges by more than $3.4 billion a year. More information is available at www.HealthCareCosts2Much.org.

The initiatives are:

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.

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.

Earlier legislative endorsements include:

  1. Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose)
  2. Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)
  3. Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)
  4. Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco
  5. Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
  6. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima)
  7. Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
  8. Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles)
  9. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
  10. Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward)
  11. Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
  12. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
  13. Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)
  14. Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara)

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.

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