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Dialysis Industry Raises $99 Million To Defeat California’s Prop 8

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, Adrian Perez undergoes dialysis at a DaVita Kidney Care clinic in Sacramento, Calif. If approved by voters in November, Proposition 8, would limit dialysis clinics' profits.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Tens of millions of dollars are flowing in to California’s ballot campaigns on rent control and the gas tax increase.

But the one raising the most cash, at nearly $120 million, is the lesser known Proposition 8, a measure to regulate dialysis clinics. That’s according campaign finance totals on the California Secretary of State’s website.

A cascade of No on 8 ads has hit the airwaves in recent weeks. They’re paid for by the dialysis industry and describe the proposition as “another attempt to bring more government bureaucracy into healthcare,” one that would increase “taxpayer costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Just a handful of companies own dialysis clinics in the state; among them DaVita Kidney, Fresenius Medical Care and US Renal Care, Inc.

Together, they’ve raised more than $99 million to defeat the measure, which proposes to cap the industry’s profits. The companies say clinics could close if the measure passes.

The total raised by the dialysis industry is approaching the $109 million amassed two years ago by the pharmaceutical industry to defeat a Prop 61, which would have regulated drug prices.

The dialysis measure is supported largely by unions, including the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, which has tried to organize dialysis clinic workers.  

The Yes on 8 campaign has raised more than $20 million to pay for ads claiming dialysis corporations are gouging patients, charging as much as “a 350 percent over the cost of care,” for treatment.

The combined total raised by both sides on Prop 8 is triple the amount raised for and against Prop 6, the gas tax repeal measure. And it’s nearly $40 million more than the totals raised for and against Prop 10, the state’s rent control measure.

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