California Working Families Support AB 8, Meaningful Health Care Reform
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“We are pleased that Speaker Núñez and Senator Perata tackled the issue of health care reform this year, and that they have worked so diligently with California’s working families to develop a better prescription for our state’s health care crisis.
“For too long, hard working Californians have been forced to make difficult choices between medical care and secure retirements. The increasingly high costs of our health care have threatened good wages, have bankrupted countless families and have threatened many of the gains made by unions during the past century. In fact, this crisis has jeopardized the very existence of our middle-class.
“AB 8 provides a historic opportunity to enact meaningful health reform and positions California far ahead many other states in the country on this issue. This legislation will protect working families from excessive health care costs so that no one will have to accept health insurance that costs more than five percent of their wages. This bill also provides cost and quality transparency, allowing group health care purchasers like our union health and welfare funds to identify why they are paying more for health care and provide them with the tools to do something about it.
“This bill helps even the competitive playing field for responsible employers that already provide health care coverage. Union members and employers already spend over 10% of wages to provide health care. AB 8 narrows this gap.
“And AB 8 will also expand coverage to the vast majority of the state’s uninsured residents.
“California’s working families stand in strong support of AB 8. This is the kind of reform that’s good for working families. We will actively urge our state legislators to support this historic piece of legislation and vote for AB 8.”