Governor Rallies BusinessesTo Support Health Care Overhaul
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday told business leaders at a meeting that health care reform proposals by Democratic leaders in the Legislature would be financially burdensome for businesses, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The annual meeting was sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce. The chamber on its 2007 list of 25 "job killer" bills includes measures by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) to expand health insurance coverage to more uninsured residents.
Both measures largely would be funded by a mandatory contribution from businesses of at least 7.5% of payroll.
The governor's health care reform plan would require businesses with at least 10 employees to contribute at least 4% of payroll to providing health insurance.
Schwarzenegger criticized proposals "where the employers should have the whole burden," referring to the Democrats' bills. He added, "And I can guarantee you that my proposal ... is the best, and I think that's the one that we should all go with."
However, Steven Maviglio, spokesperson for Núñez, said, "When the governor has a bill of his own, maybe he can start criticizing ours." He added, "There are 120 legislators of both parties, and he can't find a single person to introduce his bill. I think that speaks for itself" (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 5/23).
Schwarzenegger also said the state should not manage a health care system, citing California's administration of the prison health care system (Anderson, Sacramento Business Journal, 5/22). Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Los Angeles) bill (SB 840) seeks to create a state-run, single-payer system (Sacramento Bee, 5/23).
Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, said businesses agree with Schwarzenegger's goals of expanding health care coverage but disagree with his proposed mandatory contributions for businesses.
Zaremberg said the chamber is prepared to work with the governor if he considers using existing funds or revenue generated from the state's tobacco tax as an alternative to requiring businesses to help fund his overhaul (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 5/23).
The governor's Web site features a transcript and video footage of his speech.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.