Business Groups Voice Concerns With Health Care Reform Measure
On Wednesday, more than a dozen business groups in California signed a letter stating their opposition to a compromise health care reform bill (ABX1 1) negotiated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles), the East Bay Business Times reports.
The measure has won approval in the Assembly, and the Senate Health Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on Jan. 16 (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 1/9).
However, Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) remains skeptical of assertions by the governor that the state's $14 billion budget deficit would not interfere with ABX1 1. The Senate leader has ordered the Legislative Analyst's Office to assess the plan's effect on the budget deficit.
Perata has said that he will not hold a Senate vote on the plan until LAO completes its report.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger and Núñez have filed a proposed ballot measure to provide funding for the plan. The initiative seeks to go before voters on the November 2008 ballot (California Healthline, 1/7).
According to the letter by the business groups, the health care reform bill poses "risks" to consumers, employers, workers and taxpayers. The business groups also are concerned that the measure does not ensure access to coverage over the long term and that coverage could be suspended if revenue is found to be inadequate.
The letter also states that the legislation would penalize self-employed California residents if their individual health insurance policies become more expensive.
The groups that signed the letter include:
- California Business Properties Association;
- California Chamber of Commerce;
- California Hotel & Lodging Association;
- California Manufacturers & Technology Association;
- California Restaurant Association;
- California Retailers Association;
- California Roundtable;
- California Taxpayers' Association;
- Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California;
- Consulting Manufacturing and Technology Association;
- IBA West; and
- National Federation of Independent Business.
Meanwhile, a coalition of businesses organized by Safeway CEO Steve Burd has not yet endorsed the overhaul measure. The Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform has supported Schwarzenegger before, but the alliance is still discussing the measure with its members.
Kevin Herglotz, a Safeway spokesperson, said Burd is "very complimentary of the" compromise legislation, but he would like the bill to include stronger provisions for health care cost transparency and more comprehensive approaches to disease prevention and corporate wellness programs (East Bay Business Times, 1/9).