Some Los Angeles, San Diego Physicians To Ask CMA To Withdraw Support for Health Insurance Law
Some physicians from Los Angeles and San Diego counties this weekend at the California Medical Association's annual house of delegates conference in Sacramento will introduce a resolution to withdraw CMA's support for SB 2, which will require some employers to provide health insurance for employees or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The resolution asks that the CMA "join with the California Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles County Medical Association, the San Diego Medical Society and others in seeking to repeal or legally block the implementation" of SB 2 (Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/12). 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. The law will exempt employers with fewer than 20 employees. The law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 employees unless the state provides them with tax credits to subsidize the cost of health insurance for employees. A referendum to repeal the law will appear on the November ballot (California Healthline, 3/10). If CMA approves the resolution, it would represent a "complete about-face" because the group was one of the law's "primary" supporters, the Union-Tribune reports. The trustees of the Los Angeles and San Diego county medical associations last year voted to oppose SB 2. According to the Union-Tribune, about 400 delegates will attend the conference and consider about 100 resolutions. Voting will take place Sunday or Monday.
Dr. Thomas LaGrelius, author of the resolution, said, "This particular law will mandate the worst kind of managed health care we have," adding, "This means there will be more and more patients with terrible insurance. My business plan is negatively affected. As a businessman, this law is terrible." CMA CEO Dr. Jack Lewin, who supports SB 2, said, "The majority of CMA members believe doing nothing is the most irresponsible action we can take. SB 2, with all of its wrinkles and dimples, is some action. It is going to protect employer coverage for workers and their families until there is a better solution" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/12).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.