Governor's Health Care Plan Fails to Address Affordability
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“Today, Governor Schwarzenegger presented a health care proposal that reflects an enormous step backward on the road to comprehensive health care reform. The Governor has opted to ignore the Legislature’s widely popular health care bill, which is currently awaiting his signature, in favor of his own unpopular and regressive plan.
“The Governor’s proposal still requires everyone to get health insurance, even if they can’t afford to buy or use it. Working middle-class families would be left on their own to figure out how to pay thousands of dollars in deductibles, premiums, co-pays, prescriptions and other out-of-pocket expenses.
“Under the Governor’s proposal, employers would contribute as little as zero to four percent of payroll towards health care. By comparison, Wal-Mart, widely known to skimp when it comes to health care, contributes seven percent of its payroll towards health care for employees. By advocating such a miniscule employer contribution, the Governor is heaving the financial responsibility of health care onto the backs of working families.
“The Governor is relying on a desperate idea of privatizing the state’s lottery to help finance his plan. Lottery privatization has failed in the past, and will do little to address the serious affordability concerns that most working families face when it comes to getting and using quality health care.
“The provisions of the Legislature’s bill, such as bulk medication purchasing and the development of a public insurance option, are essential in making health care more affordable for all Californians. The Governor should recognize the hard work and compromise that went into the Legislature’s bill, and use this framework as a starting point for real, affordable health care.
“Working families know that if it’s not affordable, it’s not real health care reform.”