Following narrow Senate passage last month, a bill that would raise the minimum wage for all health care workers in all settings in California to $21 in 2024 and $25 in 2025 is now making its way through the Assembly. The minimum wage would also increase annually by 3.5% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lesser.
There are two stops along the way before the bill would head to the Assembly floor: the Labor Committee and the Appropriations Committee.
Given the grave risks to access to care that passage of this bill would entail, it is vital that Assembly members hear directly from hospital leaders about the impact of this legislation on your organization’s ability to deliver care. There is no question this law would reduce access to medical services, increase health care costs, and diminish health care employment opportunities.
Recently, CHA asked for your help to tell this story. Assembly members need to hear from you as part of a broad opposition coalition — by call or text — between July 17 and Aug. 14. The following materials are available for your use or customization:
Despite much-needed state support for struggling hospitals via a new Distressed Hospital Loan Program, hospitals continue to struggle as they lurch toward bankruptcy, service reductions, or outright closure. In the past couple of weeks alone, media have chronicled:
- The struggles at Palomar Health, where revenue continues to plummet at a time when the system is facing $585 million in debt
- A potential bankruptcy at Northern Inyo Hospital District, where the best case scenario is that cost-cutting will reduce monthly losses to $300,000 per month
- The alarm-sounding by Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, where the board of directors is sharing that even without subsidization, “sustainability is impossible without adequate reimbursement for services”
The impact on health care doesn’t even touch the broader problems that this far-reaching bill will create. A rapid, unplanned increase in costs in health care will ripple to other sectors, placing goods and services — food, travel, transportation, energy — that Californians rely on and expect out of their financial reach.
Health care workers deserve fair wages, but an $8 billion overnight increase in the statewide cost of health care will only cause the most vulnerable Californians to suffer.