on Proposition 72 Press Conference-10/4/04
law requiring large and mid-size companies to provide employee health
insurance or pay a fee to the state to do so was signed in October
of 2003. A year later, the law has not been implemented. Instead,
we have Proposition 72, a referendum vote on the law, on our November
to overturn the health care law and what is their motive?
citizens can place a referendum on the ballot enabling voters to
approve or reject statutes signed into law. It's expensive, but
a consortium of large businesses preferred to pay the money to try
to eliminate the law rather than pay health insurance to their employees.
A short list of the referendum's sponsors are: California Restaurant
Association, McDonalds, Macy's, Nordstrum's, Office Depot, Sears-Roebuck
and Target. These companies claim the law will drive business out
of California, but does anyone really think they will be leaving
To protect the
law and ensure the protection and expansion of health care access
in California, supporters of "Yes on Prop 72" held a press
conference on October 4th, 2004, at the State Treasury building.
Anthony Wright (left of Phil Angelides in photo) of Health Access
served as moderator for the event.
passage of Proposition 72 is important not just in California --
It sends a signal all across the country that we are truly dedicated
in California and in America to the idea of affordable health care
for all our families. It's not right that in the wealthiest society
in human history, one in five Californians doesn't have health care.It's
a matter of fairness, a matter of equity, and a matter of what's
right for California!" --Phil Angelides, State Treasurer
The matter of
equity and fairness was further elaborated by Phil in response to
a question about the cost of health care to the taxpayer for the
uninsured. Most employers offer health insurance to their employees,
but the employers who don't provide insurance take unfair advantage
of their more ethical competition by passing the cost on to the
taxpayer, to the tune of 4.6 billion dollars annually. When the
employees of large, profitable corporations like Wal-Mart don't
have health insurance, they must go for health care to county clinics
and emergency rooms, paid for by the taxpayer. Why should the people
of California shoulder a cost which enables large corporations to
reap even greater profits at the expense of their employees?
the provisions of Proposition 72, if you have health insurance you'll
keep it, if you work for one of the companies that doesn't provide
health insurance, you'll get it, and if you're paying for health
care and paying taxes, you're paying double and with passage of
Proposition 72, you'll get relief!" --Assemblymember Dario
Outrage was expressed
by Frommer and other speakers at the attack ads being aired by opponents
of Proposition 72. One ad suggests that family restaurants will
be driven out of business, or forced to fire workers and raise prices
if they have to meet Prop 72 standards.
Development Department figures indicate that 93% of California restaurants
have fewer than 50 employees, and thus would not be affected by
the law. For the law to affect smaller employers (20-49), the Legislature
would be required to pass a tax credit to help small businesses
offset the cost of buying insurance. Businesses of less than 20
would be exempt under this law.
Local 1000 members Ed Perez, SEIU Local 1000 Vice President Marc
Bautista, and Larry Perkins supporting "Yes on Prop 72."
have fought hard to get and keep health benefits in their contracts.
Ethical companies that provide health insurance are at a disadvantage
when they compete with huge corporations like Wal-Mart that keep
prices down by providing minimal benefits to a limited number of
employees. Proposition 72 would require big employers like Wal-Mart
to provide health care or pay into a state fund that will provide
it. And yes, Wal-Mart is non-union and one of the big sponsors of
the "No on 72" campaign....
Michael Sexton, ER physician and President Elect of the California
Medical Association, provided the medical community's perspective
on Proposition 72:
to the "No on 72" attack ads featuring an actress portraying
a restaurant owner, I am a real, live doctor, not an actor, and
I'm here representing doctors throughout the state of California
who stand in strong support of Proposition 72. As an ER physician,
I see the terrible toll taken on working people and their families
when they don't have health care insurance. That is why doctors
support Proposition 72 -- We want to protect the health of Californians!"
Dr. Sexton described
another positive feature of Prop 72: "Proposition 72 sets standards
for health care like the minimum wage sets standards for pay. Employer-paid
health care must include the essential elements to good health care:
preventive care, major medical, and prescription drug coverage."
R.N, of the California Nurses Association, anounced the strong support
of the 300,000 registered nurses in the CNA, the California Nursing
Alliance, and the United Nurses Association of California. "Nurses
and other health care providers every day, on the frontlines of
hospitals and clinics, see the result of families who don't have
health insurance. We see the suffering of people whose illnesses
could've been prevented if they'd had access to timely health care.
We strongly support Proposition 72!"
Bender, of SEIU Local 1000 in strong support of Prop 72.
Allinice of SEIU Local 1000 and Ellen Dillinger of SEIU Local 250,
the health care worker's union.
sets a cap on the premium contribution for employer-paid health
care plans of 80/20-- employers are required to pay at least 80%
of health care costs.
already pay 100% of employee health care premiums. The SEIU Local
250 contract with Catholic Healthcare West provides health care
at 100% of premium costs for employees and their dependents. This
didn't happen by accident-- union members fought hard to achieve
SEIU 1000, SEIU
Local 250, and the Sacramento Central Labor Council join other unions
in strongly supporting Proposition 72, expanding health care access
and leveling the playing field for ethical employers.