Best Buy, California State Council of Service Employees Contribute to Proposition 72 Campaigns
The Service Employees International Union California State Council and Best Buy have donated funds to campaigns related to Proposition 72, a referendum on SB 2, the Sacramento Bee reports (Smith, Sacramento Bee, 7/24). The initiative, which is scheduled to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot, puts SB 2 before the voters; if a majority of voters approves Proposition 72, SB 2 will be implemented. If the measure does not receive a majority approval, SB 2 will be repealed (California Secretary of State Initiative Update, 7/19). Under SB 2, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, employers with 200 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007. Companies with fewer than 20 workers will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 7/14). SEIU California State Council has donated $250,000 to the Yes on 72 campaign, which supports SB 2, and Best Buy has donated $100,000 to a campaign opposed to the law (Sacramento Bee, 7/24).
The San Bernardino County Sun on Sunday examined the impact SB 2 would have on the state's uninsured residents. According to the California HealthCare Foundation, the state has between 4.5 million and six million uninsured residents. Dr. Ronald Bangasser, president of the California Medical Association, said the state could have as many as seven million uninsured residents. Bangasser said SB 2 would provide coverage to an estimated 1.3 million uninsured residents -- including about 850,000 adults, 300,000 children and some seniors -- which would allow them to receive care "rather than ... wait until they have gotten so sick that they need to go to the emergency room." However, opponents of SB 2 say the law would not decrease the number of uninsured residents and could actually lead to an increase in the uninsured population if it prompts businesses to leave the state. Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Association and co-chair of Californians Against Government Run Healthcare, estimates that 25% of the restaurant association's members would be forced out of business if SB 2 is implemented (Wells, San Bernardino County Sun, 7/25).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.