Coalition That Seeks To Repeal Health Insurance Law Agrees To Pay Fine Over Campaign Contribution Report
Californians Against Government Run Healthcare, a coalition of business groups that seek to place a measure on the state ballot to repeal a law (SB 2) that would require many employers to provide health insurance for employees, has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for failure to properly report more than $1 million in contributions, the Sacramento Bee reports (Rapaport, Sacramento Bee, 3/9). SB 2, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage. 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, 2/25). The California Fair Political Practices Commission said that the coalition failed to file electronic reports to disclose 10 contributions of $5,000 or more within 10 days of the formation of the group, as required by law. The contributions included $500,000 from the California Restaurant Association and $100,000 each from Nordstrom, Robinson's-May, Sears Roebuck and Target. The agreement between the coalition and state regulators requires approval by the commission (Sacramento Bee, 3/9).
California last year "took a step" to address the problem of the "Wal-Martization" of health care with the passage of SB 2, David Bacon, author of "The Children of NAFTA," writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. SB 2 will ensure that large employers such as Wal-Mart must provide health insurance for employees and cannot "undercut their competitors by forcing workers into the emergency room" for medical care, Bacon writes. However, Bacon writes, the repeal of the law would lead to "more frequent and bitter" strikes, such as the recent strike by grocery store employees in Southern California, as employers "will demand benefit cuts in order to compete, and workers will either have to give up health ... insurance benefits or fight" (Bacon, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).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.