California Healthline Highlights Recent News of Referendum on Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Law
California Healthline highlights recent news coverage of Proposition 72, an initiative on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot that asks voters to uphold or reject a law (SB 2) that would require some employers to provide health insurance to their employees or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage.
Under Proposition 72, state residents can vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2.
Under SB 2, 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, 10/8).
Summaries of the articles appear below:
San Francisco Chronicle: The Chronicle on Sunday published an interview with California Labor Federation Executive Secretary Treasurer Art Pulaski, who supports SB 2. Pulaski in the interview discussed his recommendation that state residents uphold SB 2, calling the law "a fair balance" and "the first major step in providing universal care" (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
San Jose Mercury News: The Mercury News on Tuesday examined Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco), who sponsored SB 2 and is scheduled in December to leave the state Senate because of term limits. According to the Mercury News, Burton "is working hard to retain his relevance before his last sliver of political daylight fades" by attending fund raisers aimed at upholding the measure (Marimow, San Jose Mercury News, 10/12).
San Jose Mercury News: The Mercury News on Tuesday looked at the problem of the uninsured and the potential effects of SB 2. According to the Mercury News, SB 2 would "provide health care coverage for fewer than 20% of those who are uninsured" in the state. The Mercury News reports that although "[n]o one will dispute that it benefits companies to have healthy employees and that our health care system is broken," employers "should help frame the debate and find an alternative" if they "want to shift the burden" of health coverage. Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) is reintroducing to the Senate a bill (SB 921) that "would overhaul the system and ensure coverage for everyone by eliminating the crippling costs of administration and bureaucracy," the Mercury News reports (Hutchison, San Jose Mercury News, 10/12).
AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune: Campaign strategists last week pulled from broadcast television networks a disputed advertisement that urges voters to vote No on Proposition 72, but they said they intend to continue airing the ad on cable channels, the AP/Tribune reports. Groups who are asking voters to vote "yes" on the proposition have alleged that the ad was taped in a restaurant that has 12 employees -- too few to be affected by the measure -- and cites higher than estimated costs for providing health insurance (Lawrence, AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune, 10/7).
- KPBS' "KPBS News": "KPBS News" reported on rallies on Monday in Chula Vista and eight other cities by California school workers in support of universal health coverage. The segment includes comments from rally organizer Erik Olson (Sharma, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/11). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Proposition 72 "sounds like a terrific idea," but "it won't work," a Los Angeles Times editorial states. According to the editorial, requiring some employers to provide health insurance to workers would "chas[e] businesses out of the state and pu[t] low-income employees out of work." The editorial urges state residents to vote "no" on Proposition 72 (Los Angeles Times, 10/9).
Additional information on Proposition 72 is available online.