Organized Labor a Growing Challenge to Governor’s Health Reform Plan
After months of meetings with Gov. Schwarzenegger, organized labor didn't see the changes they wanted when the governor released his revised health care reform plan last week. Now they're protesting.
On Wednesday, a coalition of major labor and consumer advocacy groups began a 48-hour vigil in front of the Capitol in Sacramento and at the governor's six offices throughout California to rally against a provision in his plan that calls for all state residents to have health insurance coverage.
The problem with that plan, the groups argue, is that it doesn't go far enough to ensure the affordability of health insurance for middle-income Californians. Moreover, they say businesses should pony up more than Schwarzenegger is asking them to.
Having the unions lined up against his plan is a big setback for Gov. Schwarzenegger. Making matters worse, the California Teachers Association is challenging the governor's proposal to lease the state lottery to a private operator. Schwarzenegger wants to use proceeds of the lottery lease to help pay for his health care plan, but the move also would reconfigure where education funds come from.
The union's new campaign against the governor's plan sets the stage for some daunting opposition if he reaches a deal with Democratic lawmakers to put a funding measure for his health care reform plan on the ballot in 2008.
In 2005, the teachers union spent big to defeat the governor's ballot initiatives in a special election, and the coalition of labor and consumer advocacy groups has raised the possibility of pushing for their own health care ballot measure in 2008. It would be modeled after AB 8, the Democratic health care reform effort that Schwarzenegger vetoed last week.
AB 8 was one of the hundreds of bills that the governor acted on before the Oct. 14 deadline. Here's a look at how bills dealing with Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, fared.