Assembly health committee chair endorses UHW hospital initiatives

[March 7, 2014] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Efforts to rein in runaway healthcare costs in California got another major boost as Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) endorsed two ballot initiatives that would reduce prices and executive salaries in California hospitals, and was joined by two other legislators from Northern California who announced their support for the measures.

Pan, a pediatrician and former professor at UC-Davis, is joined by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) in supporting the ballot initiatives, raising the tally of lawmakers who back the effort to 20.

The ballot measures are sponsored by members of SEIU-UHW, the state’s largest union of hospital and other healthcare workers, and would reduce hospital charges by more than $3.4 billion a year. 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. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord)
  3. Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)
  4. Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)
  5. Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco
  6. Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
  7. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima)
  8. Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
  9. Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
  10. Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
  11. Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles)
  12. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
  13. Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward)
  14. Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
  15. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
  16. Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)
  17. 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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