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Again California "Special Interests" have a proposition on our November ballot.  It is called the "Special Exemptions Act", better known as Proposition 32.  And it gets a little confusing determining just who are those who will benefit from these "special exemptions".  Perhaps this nurse's take on exactly what will this Proposition do for my patients might shed some light on the real agenda this proposition supports.

It is NOT what it seems....Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act, touted as political campaign reform.  Proposition 32 claims to be about stopping special interest money in politics, but it is really an attempt to deceive voters into passing a law that would change the rules to benefit wealthy corporate interests....at the expense of middle-class workers and unions.  

What will this legislation do....it will prohibit unions and corporations from using donations from dues money through payroll deductions to support political campaigns or candidates.  However, this would have little impact on corporations, which seldom use payroll deductions for political spending, but would be devastating for unions, for this is the only way unions receive their income....and thereby a voice in Sacramento to speak for the common good.

Why do I care....I am a registered nurse of 35 years.  I work in an Intensive Care Unit, and witness daily the devastation our political system has brought to the average working family and individual.  This includes loss of jobs, and thereby loss of health care insurance and benefits.

 I see patients that did not seek healthcare because they could not afford the copays and deductibles required, then waited until it was too late in seeking the medical assistance they needed.  Nurses work tirelessly for their patients, both in the hospital, and the political arena.  

In 2004 the California Nurse to Patient Ratio Law went into effect, and nurses and their patients have seen improved outcomes for patients, and higher job satisfaction for nurses.  This legislation was fought for and won by the dues I pay as a nurse to my professional association.  Without the ability to speak in Sacramento for legislation that benefits our patients, our communities’ health is at the mercy of profit driven healthcare corporations, and insurance companies, whose only concern is the productivity/profit driven bottom line.  

The “Special Exemptions” in this proposition are for “Corporations”....for Proposition 32 does nothing to stop corporations from spending billions in profits to influence elections by contributing to secretive SuperPACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen.

It does not ban contributions from “limited liability companies” (LLCs), or from limited partnership or real estate trusts, which represent some of California’s biggest political donors.  And it does not ban corporate contributions to independent expenditure campaigns.  

People that work in the public interest, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters will lose their voice in Sacramento if this Proposition is not defeated.  The scales of power will be tipped in favor of corporations, and will support “Citizens United”, the Supreme Court decision which states corporations have the rights of “personhood”, the same rights as you and me.  

Do not allow the voice of the middle class, and the unions that support the voice of middle class workers to be silenced.  There is already a law that states Union members can opt out of having dues money spent for political contributions.  The real intent of Proposition 32 is to keep unions, and the workers they represent, out of the political arena.  My union, the California Nurses Association, also represents every patient with whom I have ever had the privilege to assist.

 First and foremost...I am a patient advocate.  Please vote NO on 32.

Originally posted to katnurseadvocate on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thank you for this great diary... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lizjacobs, Larsstephens, rosiecarn

    nurses lookout for patients...teachers for students...we can't afford to have their voices silenced.


    We are not broke, we are being robbed.

    by Glen The Plumber on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:47:17 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    The ballot initiative is clearly worded.  My experience in California was that the initiative process was deliberately designed to confuse or decieve.

    I'd love to hear your take on the nurse/patient ratio law at some point.  It seems to have had a convoluted implementation path and somewhat mixed results, but it's one of the few things I've seen that tried to improve healthcare by working on healthcare, not money.

    •  Pioneering nurse/patient ratio law saves lives.... (0+ / 0-)

      By 2009 the number of licensed RNs increased by close to 100,000 in California since the ratio law passed in 1999.  

      University of Pennsylvania researchers led by Linda Aiken, RN, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, interviewed 22,000 RNs in California and two comparable states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Their findings were published the policy journal, Health Services Research. This study is comprehensive and detailed, and shows that increased patient assignments is the cause of thousands of preventable deaths in hospitals.  

      RNs constitute an around-the-clock surveillance system in hospitals for early detection and prompt intervention when patients' conditions deteriorate.  The effectiveness of nurse surveillance is influenced by the number of RNs available to assess patients on an ongoing basis.  When a nurse has too many patients for which to care....this ongoing assessment is impossible.

      There are many studies one can find that corroborate improved patient outcomes, related to the number of available nursing staff.  However, that does not stop the continual assault on those ratios by the American Hospital Association and here in California, the California Hospital Association.  They work diligently, through the legislative process in Sacramento,  to undermine our ratios, and eventually to dismantle what we have worked so hard to achieve for our patients.  

      So we come back to the subject of California's
      Proposition 32.....the "Special Exemption Act"  Hospitals and their Associations at the national and state levels will continue to fund political campaigns and candidates that support the elimination of hospital nurse/patient ratios....dues are not an issue for them.....but your nurse and our association will be crippled in our fight for our patients...... we pay dues that enable us to participate in the legislative process, where we work to protect our patients, and our profession.  Please help....support Nurse/Patient Ratios in your state.....and in California...Vote NO on 32.    

      To listen and truly hear is to learn.

      by katnurseadvocate on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 09:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Glad your experience is better than what I'd heard (0+ / 0-)

        There is no doubt that increased nurse/patient ratios save lives.  What I'd heard was the following:

        - Minimums set by law used as targets for staffing, when patient severity would call for more staff

        - Non-licensed personnel being counted against minimums. (Perhaps this is illegal, and is now stopped.)

        - Mandatory overtime rather than hiring more staff - leading to people who are overtired and stretched thin.

        Good luck with the fight against 32.  I'm no longer in California, so all I can do is encourage my in-state friends to vote.

        Have you considered trying to air a Perspectives piece on KQED?  They do prefer to discuss local issues; they might allow an advocacy essay.  It's not that hard, and you do seem to be able to write compellingly on the issue.

        •  Assaults continue... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Toymaker

          You speak to valid points.... hospitals in California, and across the country, have the same game plan....minimize and destroy nurse to patient ratios in California before they spread.  

          Minimum ratios set by law are used as targets for staffing, and nurses are continually pushing back against this illegal staffing ploy by hospital administrators in California.  I have not heard, or experienced non-licensed personnel being used in the count for a long time.  

          As California is the only state that has this ratio law we are a big target for the dismantling of this legislation.  Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to dismantle our ratios and paid a high political price, for nurses will never stop advocating for their patients....it is what we do.  At least there is a ratio law  which nurses can use to push back for more staff in California.  

          There is also pending legislation in multiple states, and a federal bill introduced by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). It is the "National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act", legislation to protect the rights of nurses to advocate on behalf of their patients, set minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals and invest in nurse training to address the nationwide nursing shortage.

          Should nurses be political???  Your life may depend on it.    

          To listen and truly hear is to learn.

          by katnurseadvocate on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 11:21:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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