[Dec. 16, 2015] OAKLAND, Calif. – With growing public concern about income inequality and access to affordable healthcare in California, a union of healthcare workers announced today it has made an initial $3 million contribution to a political fund that will be used in the coming election year to support or oppose ballot initiatives that impact the hospital industry and healthcare workers.
“We are living in a state where too many people at the top are out of touch with the basic needs of working Californians, and this political fund hopes to press the ‘reset’ button so that issues of healthcare access and accountability are front and center before voters,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). “The community deserves more say about the high cost of healthcare and the chronic under-serving of Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and this fund will ensure they get that chance in the 2016 election.”
The political fund, “Californians for Hospital Accountability and Quality Care,” is dedicated to making sure hospitals meet their responsibility to provide the best and most efficient care to patients and meet their responsibilities to the health of the community. Several ballot measures have been filed with the Attorney General’s office that would limit the compensation of hospital executives to the same salary as the President of the United States. Another measure related to the hospital provider fee program has already qualified for the ballot while yet another was filed two weeks ago that raises taxes, in part, to fund hospitals. Both funding initiatives potentially put billions of dollars at the disposal of hospital executives with little accountability around access, affordability and quality.
“These are critical issues that healthcare workers must have a voice in,” says Verna Hampton, an ambulatory service representative at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles and a member of the SEIU-UHW Executive Board.
Earlier this week, SEIU-UHW announced its support of a civil rights complaint affecting 7.3 million Latinos who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries and struggle to access healthcare through Medi-Cal. Separately, SEIU-UHW is expected to submit more than 600,000 voter signatures next month to elections officials to qualify a statewide ballot initiative that would gradually raise California’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021.
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Paid for by Californians for Hospital Accountability and Quality Care, Sponsored by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West. Major funding by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West. 777 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 4050, Los Angeles, CA 90017.