Companies’ Health Policies Could Be Targets for Critics
Companies involved in a recently-formed business coalition lobbying for universal health care could face criticism about the health insurance benefits they offer their own employees, American Public Media's "Marketplace" reports (Babin, "Marketplace," American Public Media, 5/7).
The Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform was announced on Monday by Steve Burd, chair of Safeway grocery stores and a supporter of the governor's proposal to expand health care coverage in California.
The group includes several Fortune 500 companies, drug manufacturers and health insurers that collectively employ 1.7 million workers. Most of the member companies provide health insurance benefits to workers but are becoming concerned about rising premium costs (California Healthline, 5/7).
Rick Wartzman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, praised Burd and the coalition for calling for expanded health insurance coverage for workers but noted that Safeway's hourly employees must be employed with the company for more than one year before they are eligible for health benefits ("Marketplace," American Public Media, 5/7).
A transcript and audio of the "Marketplace" segment is available online.
Three additional broadcast programs recently included discussions about the coalition.
- KPCC's "Patt Morrison": Guests on Monday's program included Julie Soderland, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform, and Jordan Rau, a reporter covering the story for the Los Angeles Times (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 5/7). Audio of the segment is available online. Weekly archives of recent "Patt Morrison" broadcasts also are available online.
- NPR's "Day to Day": The program on Monday included a discussion with Janet Babin, a correspondent covering the story for "Marketplace" (Cohen, "Day to Day," NPR, 5/7). Audio of the segment is available online.
- WBUR's "On Point": Guests on Tuesday's program included Rau; Henry Aaron, an author and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Christopher Lischewski, CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, a member of the coalition ("On Point," WBUR, 5/8). Audio of the segment is available online.
"The prospects for fundamental change in the health care system improved Monday when three dozen businesses, including some of the country's largest employers, announced their support for universal health insurance," a Los Angeles Times editorial states.
According to the editorial, the "coalition postponed the policy heavy lifting by instead advocating broad principles."
The editorial concludes, "It would have been more admirable had the group come up with ways to achieve those ends. But at least it is pushing for a genuine overhaul rather than just tinkering around the edges of a system that's badly broken" (Los Angeles Times, 5/8).