CHA Mounts Challenge to Proposed Hospital-Related Ballot Initiatives

TOPIC ALERT:

The California Hospital Association is fighting two ballot initiatives proposed by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West that target hospital pricing and executive pay, Modern Healthcare reports (Kutscher, Modern Healthcare, 2/12).

Background

In November 2013, SEIU-UHW filed two proposed ballot initiatives with the state Attorney General's Office in an effort to engage the state's hospital industry in a public debate over rising costs and high executive salaries. The filing included:

The Fair Healthcare Pricing Act, which would ban hospitals from charging more than 25% above the actual cost of care; and

The Charitable Hospital Executive Compensation Act, which would bar not-for-profit hospital executives from collecting annual salaries greater than $450,000.

SEIU-UHW estimates that the two measures would save a combined $2.5 billion annually.

Last week, SEIU-UHW launched a series of radio advertisements designed to attract support for the initiatives.

SEIU-UHW needs 800,000 or more signatures for each initiative by late April in order to qualify as a November ballot measure (California Healthline, 2/12).

CHA Criticizes Proposed Ballot Initiatives

CHA spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea said the initiatives are a ploy by SEIU-UHW "to pressure hospitals into signing neutrality agreements for union organizing by threatening to file these initiatives if they don't get what they want."

She added, "These initiatives are dangerous, dishonest and deceptive ... Union leaders are using the threat of these initiatives as a bargaining chip under the belief that hospitals will capitulate to their organizing demands" (Schwarz, BuzzFeed, 2/12).

CHA says the proposed initiatives could decrease hospital revenue by an estimated $12 billion per year and could cut more than 50,000 jobs in the state's health care industry.

CHA also noted that labor costs make up more than 50% of their revenue, which can affect hospital prices -- something the association says SEIU-UHW is not taking into account (Modern Healthcare, 2/12).


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