Chamber of Commerce Reiterates Support for Ballot Initiative To Repeal Employer-Sponsored Insurance Mandate
The California Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday reiterated its opposition to a law (SB 2) that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage, the Sacramento Bee reports (Evans, Sacramento Bee, 5/5). Under SB 2, 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. The law will exempt employers with fewer than 20 employees. The law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 employees unless the state provides them with tax credits to subsidize the cost of health insurance for employees (California Healthline, 4/28). The chamber is sponsoring a measure on the November statewide ballot that would repeal the law. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has not taken a position on the ballot measure (California Healthline, 5/3). The Bee reports that the chamber also is fighting a ballot initiative that would institute a tax on Californians with high incomes to fund expanded mental health services (Sacramento Bee, 5/5). The initiative would increase the state personal income tax by 1% on adjusted personal incomes exceeding $1 million annually and would raise about $600 million in its first year for mental health services for children and homeless adults, as well as new treatment facilities and transitional housing. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced Monday that the measure has qualified for the November statewide ballot (California Healthline, 5/4). Speaking at the chamber's annual legislative conference, business leaders and supporters "celebrated a series of victories this year" -- including legislation enacted to reform the state's workers' compensation system -- "as a sign of momentum for the chamber's policy agenda," according to the Bee. In a speech to the chamber, former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) said the group has played an important role in shaping state policy this year, adding, "The chamber seems to have gained new life" (Sacramento Bee, 5/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.