Governor Discusses Reform Proposal With Business Leaders
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday held a roundtable discussion with Silicon Valley business leaders in Fremont to gather support for his health care reform proposal, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The meeting was part of a series with business leaders to discuss the details of his proposal (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/23).
Under the plan, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families would be expanded to help provide coverage to low- and moderate-income state residents. Individuals who declined to carry insurance could face a reduction in state income tax refunds or have wages withheld.
The plan would require employers with at least 10 workers to contribute at least 4% of payroll into a state fund if they do not provide insurance coverage.
According to the governor's office, employers that provide insurance coverage pay about 17% more in premiums to subsidize the cost of uninsured patients and insufficient funding of Medi-Cal (California Healthline, 1/22).
Despite the mandatory employer contribution, Schwarzenegger is working to convince businesses that his proposal would increase profit and improve the business climate across the state, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Analysts say that Schwarzenegger has to gain some business support for his plan to strengthen his case that it would benefit the economy, according to the Mercury News (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 1/23).
Voters in 2004 repealed an employer health care mandate before it could take effect (California Healthline, 1/22).
Carl Guardino -- president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which organized the discussion -- said that his group "[s]hares much common ground" with Schwarzenegger's reform plan (San Jose Mercury News, 1/23).
The full text of the governor's proposal is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the document.
"If a society believes that health insurance is an important benefit that everyone should have, the burden of providing that benefit should be spread throughout society," Daniel Weintraub writes in his Sacramento Bee column. "America is one of the few countries that rely" on an employer-sponsored coverage system, "one reason health care costs more here than anywhere else," according to Weintraub. "Schwarzenegger should be looking for ways to reverse that trend, not reinforce it," Weintraub writes (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 1/23).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.