California votes down Proposition 23

Proposition 23 would have required clinics to have at least one licensed physician present during dialysis treatment.

A photo of a person holding a ballot envelope in front of them by the camera.

California voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 23, a  measure which would have added regulations to kidney dialysis clinics, according to the California Secretary of State.

If passed, the measure would have required clinics to follow multiple regulations regarding infection reporting, in-clinic staffing, state consent on clinic closures and prohibit clinics from refusing treatment based on the source of payment, as stated by the ballot initiative.

Returned ballots show that 64% of voters with 71.6% of precincts reporting were against the new rules, reported by the LA Times.

Leading up to the election, the proposition’s opponents argued that requiring clinics to have at least one licensed physician present in the facilities while patients received treatment would have been too costly for clinics.

“Prop 23 was dangerous for dialysis patients and there’s no doubt in my mind they would have suffered if it had passed,” Dr. Edgard Vera, a nephrologist from Hesperia, said in The No to Prop 23 statement Tuesday.

The statement also said that Proposition 23 would have increased healthcare costs by hundreds of millions annually and community dialysis clinics would have had to shut down.

The No On 23 opposition committee’s $105.2 million contributions were given by kidney dialysis corporations, with DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care contributing nearly $97 million alone, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

Supporters for Proposition 23 conversely received about $5.56 million in contributions from the labor union Service Employee International Union- United Healthcare Workers.

The Yes on 23 committee also released a statement from a Yes voter, Carmen Cartagena, following the election results who said, “Prop 23 not only would have made treatment safer and better for patients, it would have brought more equality to dialysis treatment. The initiative would have held all clinics accountable.”

Cartagena also said that they are “in this for the long haul, until the dialysis industry does the right thing.”