Thursday, June 21, 2007

Health Care Compromise

I would be interested in your thoughts on this as this means if passed that all employers would have to pay 7.5% into their employees health cost and individuals would not be required to get coverage.

As Follows:

State Democrats to unveilcompromise health planThe bill would reject Gov. Schwarzenegger's call for mandatory insurance but require all employers to spend at least 7.5% of payroll costs on healthcare.By Jordan Rau and Evan Halper, Times Staff Writers11:23 AM PDT, June 21, 2007 SACRAMENTO -- The Legislature's Democratic leaders have agreed to require all California employers to spend at least 7.5% of their payroll costs on healthcare but have rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal that everyone in the state obtain insurance.State Senate and Assembly leaders this morning planned to announce their joint healthcare bill, a combination of two similar proposals recently passed by each chamber.Most significantly, they agreed to drop the Senate plan to require that Californians with more than modest incomes get insurance. That was intended to be the middle ground between Schwarzenegger's insistence on universal coverage and the Assembly's rejection of any requirement that people have insurance.Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) also agreed to apply the business requirement to every enterprise except the self-employed. The Assembly plan provided large exemptions for businesses with only one employee, those with payrolls of less than $100,000 and those that had been in operation for three or fewer years.At a morning news conference in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger praised lawmakers for moving forward but said, "The only way the healthcare reform is going to work is if you have mandatory healthcare insurance."He downplayed the significance of the Democrats' legislation, saying the final outcome would be worked out in private negotiations and could turn out dramatically different."What you see now is not really what counts," he said. "What counts is the outcome. And it can turn very quickly."Schwarzenegger dismissed a suggestion that his healthcare proposal, unveiled in January, conflicted with his reelection campaign promise not to raise taxes. An opinion from the Legislature's nonpartisan counsel said the governor's plan to raise $4.4 billion a year from assessments on employers and healthcare providers qualified as a tax, not a fee as the governor maintains."I don't get kind of tied up on 'is it a tax, is it a fee,' " Schwarzenegger said. "To me, I look at it as a fee. I stick with that."The distinction is significant because taxes require two-thirds support in the Legislature, something Democrats cannot muster alone and Republicans have so far been loath to back.

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