Union Backs Bill To Fine Big Businesses With Workers in Medi-Cal
The California Labor Federation has launched a campaign to support a bill (AB 880) that would penalize large employers if they do not pay workers enough to keep them out of Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Sanders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/28).
Details of Bill
Under the bill -- which was introduced by Assembly member Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) -- the Affordable Care Act threshold for fining businesses would be lowered so that large employers would be penalized if their part- or full-time workers are enrolled in Medi-Cal.
The legislation -- which is supported by the California Labor Federation and United Food and Commercial Workers -- aims to encourage large businesses to offer job-based coverage.
While the amount of the fine has not been specified, the penalty could be about equal to the cost of providing job-based coverage.
Funds raised from the penalty would be used to increase Medi-Cal reimbursements for health care providers and subsidize state costs for the program.
Sara Flocks -- a policy coordinator for the California Labor Federation -- said the businesses thatÂ could be affected by the bill include companies like Wal-Mart and a variety of chain restaurants and janitorial companies (California Healthline, 4/12).
Details of Campaign
Steve Smith, a spokesperson for the California Labor Federation, said the campaign has:
- Collected about 12,000 signatures on a petitionÂ in support of the bill;
- Purchased online advertisements expected to be seen by about one million individuals before week's end;
- Brought dozens of union members to the state Capitol this week to lobby lawmakers; and
- Mailed political fliers to constituents of Assembly member Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert), who voted against the bill in the Assembly Committee on Health ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/28).
Some Farmers Oppose AB 880
On Tuesday, agriculture leaders from the central San Joaquin Valley gathered in Clovis to oppose the bill, saying it would reduce the number of farm jobs available and increase ACA-related expenses for farmers.Manuel Cunha -- president of the Nisei Farmers League -- said, "There's no way our farmers can afford this" (Lee, Fresno Bee, 5/28). 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.