Safeway CEO, Governor Head to Legislature To Talk Health Care
In talks about health care reform with legislative leaders in Sacramento on Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will be joined by Safeway CEO Steve Burd, one of the biggest supporters in the business community for the governor's plan to overhaul California's health care system, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/10).
Burd is the founder of the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform, a coalition of 36 large businesses that this week kicked off a political campaign to promote universal health care in California and nationwide. The group includes 18 of the Fortune 500's largest companies, as well as insurance companies and drug manufacturers (California Healthline, 5/7).
Burd said that his interest in health care reform is rooted in a desire to encourage people to make better decisions about health care, such as receiving regular preventive health care and adopting more healthful lifestyles. Gov. Schwarzenegger's health care proposal also highlights these issues.
Although many businesses remain opposed to elements of the governor's plan that would mandate health benefits for workers or fees to the state, Burd backs those provisions and went so far as to say that the alternative fees should be higher than Schwarzenegger proposed.
According to Burd, expanding health insurance coverage and controlling health care costs will help U.S. businesses compete with foreign companies that do not face similar costs.
Burd said, "It's becoming increasingly apparent to the informed business community that someone is going to impose a solution." He added, "The last thing I want to do is be on the sidelines" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/10).
Schwarzenegger's meeting with business and legislative leaders will be broadcast online on the governor's Web site. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. PT.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.