[March 13, 2014] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Concern about the rising cost of healthcare and its effect on California families has spurred six grassroots organizations from across the state – including two statewide coalitions – to endorse two ballot initiatives that would reduce prices and executive salaries at California hospitals.
All the groups have a history of mobilizing community members through voter registration, education, and turnout activities in addition to advancing progressive polices at the local, state, and federal levels. Their grassroots success will help aid efforts to educate California voters about the hospital ballot initiatives.
The organization endorsements include:
- California Partnership: a statewide coalition of 150 groups that advocate for programs and policies to reduce poverty;
- California Calls: a statewide alliance of 31 organizations from urban, rural and suburban counties that engages new and infrequent voters;
- Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment: a statewide community organization building power in low income neighborhoods to fight for social, economic, and racial justice.
- Community Coalition: an organization that engages residents in South Los Angeles to improve their quality of life;
- InnerCity Struggle: a group that promotes safe and healthy communities in East Los Angeles; and
- Strategic Actions for a Just Economy: an organization that organizes tenants in South Los Angeles to combat substandard housing.
Their endorsement brings the tally of supportive organizations to seven, following an earlier announcement by Health Access, a statewide coalition of nearly 100 community and constituency organizations.
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. Signature gatherers are working across the state to qualify the measures for the November 2014 ballot. 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.
To date, 20 state legislators have endorsed the initiatives:
- Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose)
- Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord)
- Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa)
- Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)
- Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)
- Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco
- Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
- Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima)
- Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
- Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
- Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
- Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
- Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles)
- Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)
- Assemblymember Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)
- Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward)
- Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
- Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
- Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)
- 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.