California's Proposition 8: A look at both sides

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The battle for Proposition 8 which would, in part, cap revenue for kidney dialysis centers, has set an all-time record for spending. The Los Angeles Times reports that combined, both sides have spent more than $100 million. Those for and against do have one thing in common, though, the patients.

Emanuel Gonzales is a kidney dialysis technician. But the treatment he gives extends beyond his work.

"Like my dad," he said. "Who sometimes is yelling over a technician to help him because they are taking care of 12 other patients at one time."

Gonzales is fighting for the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. The proposition, in part, caps revenue dialysis centers at 15 percent. And pays refunds to patients and insurers for money not spent on improving patient care.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at California's Prop 8: Dialysis clinics' revenue limits and required refunds
EMBED More News Videos

In the November election, California voters will decide on 11 propositions. Here's everything you need to know about Prop 8. (Courtesy of

He says the proposition, which was put forth by a labor union, would get dialysis providers to reinvest in patient care. And as their political ad suggests, put patients before profits.

"It's unacceptable," he said. "They have the money in order to upkeep their facilities, in order to hire more staff and they refuse to because they are only worried about making money."

Dr. Brian Wong disagrees, "In a clinic like mine, where there is no private insurance, it's a non-starter. There is no excess profit."

Wong has worked in kidney dialysis for 30 years and calls Prop. 8 counter-intuitive.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at all the California propositions

He says the patient death is high. Not because of sanitary conditions, but because of the overall poor health of most dialysis patients.

Wong adds the staff shortage isn't just about salaries. California can't graduate the number of technicians needed to do the work.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: What to watch on Bay Area ballots for midterm elections

And if clinics close, he says it runs the risk of sending patients to the emergency room.

"Guess what happens, it drives up the cost of care," said Wong.

Two corporations run more than 70 percent of all of California's dialysis clinics. The California's Legislative Analysts' office puts their profit at close to $3 billion. Gonzales says clinics won't close if prop 8 passes.

"If the ballot measure tells them, encourages them to spend more money on quality improvements and staff, how does that equal cutting back on services? It doesn't."

Take a look at full coverage on the 2018 election here.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.