Prop 72: Health Care Coverage Requirements

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 17, 2004
Senate bill two was signed into law last year amid heavy opposition. Business interests quickly placed a referendum on the November ballot, asking voters to overturn the new law. It requires California businesses with 50 or more employees to provide 80-percent of their workers’ medical insurance costs. Either that, or pay a fee to a State Health Purchasing Program. Supporters say it will result in a healthier workforce and ease the strain on emergency rooms caring for the uninsured. California Medical Association C-E-O Jack Lewin says opponents are exaggerating cost increases for employers. Lewin1 (:18) “They can purchase a relatively low-cost, entry-level program, it can be a high deductible insurance program for example… But the point is no working family today should be at risk of being impoverished just because someone in their family gets sick.” The state Chamber of Commerce is the lead opponent. President Alan Zaremberg co-chairs the No on 72 effort. He says non-profits, school districts and for-profit business have a lot to lose if the law is approved. He says it’s too broad and that its higher costs will drive more businesses out of state. Cut: AlanZ4 (:14) “We should first concentrate and make sure the solutions only affect the uninsured—the 90-percent of the people, 92-percent of people who have health insurance in California and are satisfied with it.” Opposition is heavily funded by donors including the California Restaurant Association and fast food franchise owners. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger raised Prop. 72’s profile by announcing he’s against it. Support for the yes on prop 72 campaign includes large donations from the Teamsters Union and the California Federation of Teachers. SOC