In the previous article, 2018 Proposition 8, California, on Dialysis Treatment, I gave the pros and cons arguments as neutral as I can. I also stated there that “I am a Jehovah’s Witness. We don’t vote. I am also a dialysis patient who will be impacted by Proposition 8, one way or another.” My article received a comment that said I should exercise my right to vote. That comment got me thinking. If I were voting, which way will I be going? Here’s what my deliberation told me:
The ‘yes’ vote contends that dialysis clinics are getting over 115% of profits. It specifically targets the two top California dialysis corporations, “DaVita and Fresenius, made nearly $4 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2016”.
Fresenius claims to be “at the forefront of high-flux dialysis technology, providing Nephrologists the solutions to allow for the continuous enhancement of dialysis treatment. And today, over 90% of the machines utilized in the provision of hemodialysis are manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care.”
DaVita may not have the same bragging rights, however, “In 2017, the federal government agreed to pay DaVita $538 million to settle … U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs underpaid for dialysis services to veterans between 2005 and 2011.” A greedy company would not have continued to serve veterans while underpaid.
Prop 8 claims that a ‘yes’ vote would refund money to patients or patients’ insurance payers. I am betting the refund to patients will be minimal or nothing because the insurance pays most of the cost of dialysis. Thus, this vote only serves the insurance companies.
A ‘no’ vote lets the dialysis clinic keep the profits all and above 115% percent. It deprives the insurance companies the refunds they want, but the insurance companies are paid in premiums, either by the patient or American Kidney Fund, etc. On the claim that the dialysis center’s profits are pocketed rather than spent on improving the quality of care, my question is, how will giving that profit to insurance companies “improve the quality of care”?
In short, the Prop 8 is merely a tug of war over the money between insurance companies and dialysis clinics. Both sides, agree that missing dialysis treatments will kill the patient. As a dialysis patient, on the side of patients’ welfare, who do I want to hand that money? The dialysis providers are keeping us alive. The insurance companies will simply move on to other customers after we die.
Again, I reiterate that I am a Jehovah’s Witness. I am not voting because voting will give Jehovah God the impression that I don't trust he will take care of me.