Prop. 45 offers a ‘feel-good’ promise

Laphonza Butler
Laphonza Butler

Proposition 45 offers a feel-good promise: that one politician can be the knight in shining armor and, with the stroke of a pen, can heal the worries of rising health care costs that plague California consumers (“SEIU sells out on Prop. 45,” Viewpoints, Nov. 1).

But if we’ve learned anything as we’ve tackled the complex and tangled problems of our health care system in the last several years, it’s this: Health care reform is no fairy tale, and there are no magic bullets.

Instead, Service Employees International Union members, in partnership with California leaders and communities, have helped put California at the head of the nation in implementing the Affordable Care Act through steady, careful, constant attention to innumerable small details, not grand gestures.

As a result, California’s health care marketplace for individuals and small businesses, Covered California, has earned national acclaim. SEIU members are proud that we’ve successfully fought to expand health care access to 4 million Californians through the Affordable Care Act.

And now, just as consumers are starting to see the value of a healthy competitive marketplace, Proposition 45 would create lengthy delays and barriers to care, even while we are working to streamline the process and open doors.

ACA champion Rep. Nancy Pelosi called Proposition 45 the way to “kill the Affordable Care Act,” and newspaper editorial boards including The Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register have urged voters to reject this flawed measure. That’s why SEIU members joined doctors, nurses and scores of California health care professionals to oppose Prop. 45.

SEIU California members have never shied away from the toughest fights for the health of Californians.

We’ve fought for groundbreaking workplace safety regulations. We’re on the front lines of the Ebola threat in our state’s hospitals. We’ve fought for undocumented Californians to have access to quality health care that saves lives and money.

We pushed to strengthen and expand our public health care safety net as part of health care reform. We battled insurers to make health care costs transparent and to protect consumers from junk insurance policies.

In each of these fights, SEIU members have been guided by one pragmatic principle: expanding access to quality care to more Californians. Now, our commitment to the communities we serve calls us to oppose Prop. 45. Vote no on 45 to protect the progress we’ve made to make health care affordable and accessible in California.

Laphonza Butler is SEIU California president and president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers.