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Midterm Election Shakes Up California’s Political Chessboard

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Earlier this week, the 2022 midterm election shuffled the state and federal political decks, altering for at least the next two to 10 years the makeup of the bodies that determine health care policy for hospitals here in California and throughout the nation. 

While some races are yet to be determined, we know several things at this point: 

  • The California Legislature could see 10 new senators and 22 new Assembly members, each eligible to serve for a maximum of 12 years in state office if this is their first time holding a legislative office. This means at least 27.5% of the Legislature in 2023 will have never served at the statewide level — this creates an opportunity and a necessity for a structured educational advocacy strategy on the issues that are vital to hospitals and the communities they serve.  
      • In the Southern California cities of Inglewood and Duarte, where voters were deciding the fate of a ballot initiative to institute a $25 per hour minimum wage for some health care workers (including hospital operational restrictions on things like the ability to lay off employees), there are still thousands of ballots that must be counted before the measures can be called. CHA and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) aggressively fought these measures as they would apply only to some workers, but not others doing the exact same job. An updated ballot count is not anticipated in L.A. County until Friday, Nov. 11. Here are the vote counts as of Wednesday afternoon: 
        • In Duarte, voters are currently rejecting Measure J — 36.03% YES (1,175 raw votes) to 63.97% NO (2,086 raw votes). 
          In Inglewood, voters are currently passing Measure HC — 53.49% YES (6,163 raw votes) to 46.51% NO (5,359 raw votes). 

      CHA, along with HASC, is examining these two campaigns, as well as the impact of their outcomes on the potential for statewide minimum wage legislation this year and/or a statewide ballot initiative in 2024. In the meantime, we face at least four local $25 minimum wage referendums in November 2024.  

      In Washington, D.C., it is still uncertain as to which party will control the House and Senate. With more than a handful of races still too close to call and several others tightening as the votes are tallied, it looks like California’s congressional delegation will still have a significant majority of Democrats. Leadership elections and committee assignments will take place in the weeks ahead and CHA will be watching closely.  

      Our advocacy priorities — securing additional Medi-Cal resources so that patients who rely on this coverage can receive more equitable care; protecting Medicare; rebuilding the health care workforce; educating about the need to reform the seismic 2030 building standards; and engaging on issues like workers’ compensation, system integration, and minimum wage — haven’t changed. 

      But the political chessboard for the next year and beyond is different. With so many new pieces, it’s vital that we work to make sure your voices — as well as the voices of your community partners — are heard directly by legislators, so they can make decisions that support your mission of care.