California Chamber of Commerce 2005 Legislative Agenda Addresses Uninsured, Medical Malpractice
The California Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released its legislative agenda for 2005, including a request for the state to address the growing number of workers without adequate health insurance, the Los Angeles Times reports. The group called for more state involvement in controlling health care costs and noted the "importance of preventing trial lawyers from weakening malpractice laws," the Times reports.
According to the Times, the chamber's legislative priorities are "garnering more attention in Sacramento these days, in part because of the group's clout" with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). However, the chamber still "faces obstacles" in the Democratic-controlled Legislature and from some interest groups, the Times reports.
Chamber President Allen Zaremberg said it will be difficult to encourage economic growth in part because of the state's $8.1 billion budget deficit, adding, "We need to get our budget under control." However, he said, "Employers can't afford to absorb all those [health insurance] premium increases."
Jack Lewin, CEO of the California Medical Association, said he supports the chamber's advocacy of tort reform but said more is needed to improve consumers' access to health care. Lewin added that not expanding availability of health services would cause the state to "change in draconian ways that will effect everybody, rich or poor" (Tamaki, Los Angeles Times, 1/13). The Chamber's 2005 business issues and legislative guide is available online.