Business Leaders Expect Schwarzenegger To Be Receptive to Their Concerns, Including Health Care Issues
California business leaders expect Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to be "more receptive" to their concerns about the cost of government-mandated programs, including a new employer-sponsored health care law and the state's workers' compensation program, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9). Gov. Gray Davis (D) last week signed a bill (SB 2) that will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health coverage to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage. Businesses that employ 50 to 199 workers will have to offer health insurance to employees only by 2007. Employers with fewer than 20 workers will be exempt from the law, and those with 20 to 49 workers are exempt from the law unless the state provides tax credits to offset the cost of health benefits (California Healthline, 10/6). Davis last week also signed into law two bills (AB 227 and SB 228) to reform the state workers' compensation system and help reduce increased workers' compensation insurance premiums for employers. Some of the provisions in the bills include fee schedules for treatments and prescription drugs; limits on chiropractic and physical therapy visits; reviews that use national standards to determine the proper amount of care for certain injuries; and increased penalties for employer fraud from $50,000 to $150,000 (California Healthline, 10/1). According to the Chronicle, Schwarzenegger during his first press conference as governor-elect made only "passing reference" to further workers' compensation reforms and did not mention the employer-sponsored health care law (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.