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Unions to drop California hospital ballot initiatives

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POSTED May 6, 2014 6:33 p.m.

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The state’s largest union of health care workers says it has reached a deal with the California Hospital Association and will abandon its drive to place two hospital-regulation initiatives before voters in November.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West was attempting to qualify two initiatives. One would have barred hospitals from charging patients more than 25 percent above the estimated cost of care, while the other would prohibit nonprofit hospitals from paying senior executives more than $450,000 a year.

Instead, the union and the hospital association announced Tuesday that they are creating a $100 million fund to help stabilize California’s health care safety net. They primarily will focus on lobbying for reforms in the state’s Medi-Cal program for poor and lower-income residents.

Officials say more funding and better management of the program that serves 7 million Californians would help hospitals and their workers.

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