Public Likely Will Reject Health Coverage Law When They Learn of Cost, Editorial States
When the public learns about the "multibillion dollar price tag" of a new state law (SB 2) that requires some companies to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage, opinion polls that show widespread support for the mandate are "likely to change," a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial states (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/29). 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 a state fund that would provide such coverage. 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. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday that a referendum to repeal the law could appear on the November statewide ballot (California Healthline, 1/27). In 1992, some 66% of California voters rejected a ballot measure similar to SB 2, the editorial states. When the public finds out that SB 2 "will further raise the high cost of doing business in California and almost certainly dampen job growth," Senate President Pro Tempore John Burton (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), the law's sponsors, "may very well find that history repeats itself" in November, the Union-Tribune concludes (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/29).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.