Sunday, April 22, 2012

Did SEIU’s “Dishonest Dave” Flush $5.5 Million down the Toilet?

Remember Dave Regan’s scheme to put two propositions on California’s statewide ballot in November? As Tasty reported in this earlier post, Regan claimed the measures -- which are part of his “Let’s Get Health California” campaign -- would rein in healthcare costs and improve access to “charity care.”

In December, Regan announced he would begin spending $5.5 million of SEIU-UHW members’ dues money to gather signatures to qualify the measures for the ballot. He also called on union members to volunteer their time to collect signatures. 

Unfortunately, Dishonest Dave forgot to mention that the measures contain hidden loopholes designed to exempt one-quarter of California’s hospitals from the so-called reforms. Last month, the Los Angeles Times busted Regan when it published this article about his deceptive efforts to sell the measures to the public.

Now, after spending millions of members’ dues dollars to qualify the flawed measures for the ballot, Regan is preparing to pull the plug on the doomed initiatives, which are headed to certain defeat. In fact, last week, Regan asked SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board to authorize him to NOT file the initiatives with election officials.

So how will Dave explain this multi-million-dollar fiasco to the union’s membership? Well, Tasty hears he’s been desperately searching for a face-saving maneuver to hide his massive failure.   

And it looks like he’s settled on a scheme. According to a resolution that was sent to SEIU-UHW’s Executive Board last week (see below), Regan says he wants to abandon the ballot measures because he negotiated a “groundbreaking” and "strategic" agreement with the California Hospital Association that will "transform California healthcare." (The California Hospital Association is the “Chamber of Commerce” for the state’s hospital corporations.)

What will Regan’s “groundbreaking” agreement actually do? According to the vaguely worded resolution, it will allow the California Hospital Association and SEIU-UHW “to work together to fight chronic disease, lower healthcare costs, improve healthcare quality and improve the livelihoods of California healthcare workers.”

Hmm… super vague, right? Tasty has a hunch that the agreement is all about Wellness Programs… and that SEIU-UHW will soon be working hand-in-hand with the Hospital Association to promote Wellness Programs across California. 

Hardly a victory for workers. After all, aside from Regan and John August, the biggest promoters of Wellness Programs are corporations like WalMart, Safeway and Kaiser Permanente that hope to use Wellness Programs to shift more healthcare costs onto workers’ backs.  

So… turn on your Bullshit Meters and get ready for Dishonest Dave’s inevitable announcement about his “groundbreaking” agreement with the California Hospital Association! This should be an interesting one.