We can afford Prop. 14

Over the last three months I served on the Patient and Medical Advisory Committee for Prop. 14, which will renew support for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

It has been an honor and privilege to advocate for CIRM, because the research, education, and clinical trials it supports will save lives and reduce suffering. We’re a diverse group, including patients, advocates, scientists, and students - brought together by the power of a state agency that has enabled a cure for children born without an immune system - so called bubble babies, and treatments for blindness and cancer.

In addition to a possible cure for diabetes, more than 90 other regenerative treatments and cures are in clinical trials. It is impossible to argue with these accomplishments.

Given that, some will argue against the economics of supporting CIRM through Prop. 14, which will involve the sale of $5.5 billion in bonds over the next 20 years. Contrast that to the $300 billion per year spent in California on healthcare.

Even if the only thing that comes from CIRM support is a cure for diabetes, it will pay for itself many times over, given that diabetes cost California $30 billion per year. But CIRM won’t just enable a cure for diabetes - treatments and cures are being developed for dozens of other chronic diseases and conditions.

Can we afford Prop. 14 now, in the middle of the COVID-19 recession? We can. Bond repayments won’t start for five years. After that, state revenue stimulated by CIRM will cover bond payments until 2030. At the same time, renewing support of CIRM will create 100,000 jobs. That is exactly the sort of stimulus we need right now.

These benefits can be ours for $5 per resident, per year - about the cost of a bottle of ibuprofen.

Everybody agrees that our healthcare spending is unsustainable. Regenerative medicine - using genes, cells, and tissues to restore our body’s function - can change this trajectory, reining in healthcare spending while saving lives and reducing suffering.

Join me and the Patient and Medical Advisory Committee in supporting this effort and vote yes on 14!

Trevor Cardina

Arroyo Grande

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