Health Care bills move

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 27, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Since Governor Schwarzenegger declared 2007 as the "Year of Health Care Reform" five different proposals have been introduced in the legislature to address the problem of the uninsured in California.  The Democratic leadership worked diligently to draft legislation that would position them in this debate. Although Governor Schwarzenegger has yet to finalize his proposal, the Democratic leadership has chosen to move ahead with their legislation.  This week the Assembly Heath Care Committee heard Speaker Nuņez Health Care Reform legislation, AB 8.

Speaker Nuņez outlined an ambitious health care reform package similar to initial proposals by Governor Schwarzenegger.  He would expand Medi-Cal and Health Families, set up a purchasing pool for families to purchase health insurance, create some health insurance market reform to keep premiums down and promote prevention and wellness as well as expand Health Information Technology.  Funding for this legislation is not specified.

This begs the most important question - how should the State of California pay for healthcare reform? Both the Governor and the Democratic leadership would impose a mandate on employers with 10 or more employees to provide health care coverage, or pay the State to subsidize health care coverage to the uninsured.  AB 8 moved from the Assembly Health Care Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee with an undefined percentage of payroll employers must spend on health coverage before they are required to pay a fee to the State.

CMTA recognizes the need to make healthcare more affordable for California families but believe that a tax on employers is the wrong approach. Beyond the problem of absorbing a new tax in this high cost state, employers could expect to see pressures for tax increases as healthcare costs continue to escalate. In addition, most CMTA members provide employees with health care coverage and would like to continue having that flexibility without a state mandate.

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