KCET’s ‘Life and Times’ Examines Potential Impact of Health Coverage Law on Employers, Employees
KCET's "Life & Times" on Monday examined the potential impact on California workers and employers of SB 2, a law signed in October by former Gov. Gray Davis (D) that will require some companies to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage (Zavala, "Life & Times," KCET, 2/23). 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 the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007, and employers with fewer than 20 workers will be exempt from the law. Those with 20 to 49 employees will be exempt from the law unless the state provides tax credits to subsidize the cost of health benefits (California Healthline, 2/9). Dr. Michael Stephen, medical director of emergency services at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, said that SB 2 might not be "'the' answer to the problem" of the uninsured, but "it's hopefully one of the solutions," noting that currently, "the burden of taking care of [the uninsured] falls to the emergency department." Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, said that for "narrow-margin businesses," SB 2 "might be the thing that just pushes us over the edge." The segment also included comments from Estella Davis, of St. Francis Medical Center's Healthy Benefits Resource Center, and Cesar Cedillo, who is employed by an armored car company ("Life & Times," KCET, 2/23). A complete transcript of the segment is available online.
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.