HEALTH ACCESS ALERT
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
IT’S ORGANIZING TIME FOR HEALTH EXPANSION BILLS
Today, with minimal fanfare, SB 2 (Burton) was considered and passed out of the Assembly Health Committee. While the effort is to require employers to provide health care to their workers and their families, the bill currently only includes intent language, and is moving along the legislative process with the expectation that it will reach a conference committee with three Assembly bills that are currently moving through the Senate. It is likely that such a conference committee would meet and finalize details of a proposal during the July-August recess. Support was stated by the CA Labor Federation, CA Medical Association, Health Access, Genentech, CA Association of Public Hospitals, Congress of CA Seniors, Blue Shield, CA Healthcare Association, and the Alliance for Catholic Health Care. Opposition came from the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and other lobbyists representing small businesses, restaurants, and others.
Yesterday, Senator Sheila Kuehl announced that she “made a strategic decision that I believe will improve the possibility of getting a 2/3 vote in favor of SB 921 on the Assembly floor.” SB 921, which would establish a universal, single-payer health care system in California, will “not be heard in Assembly Health Committee… during the current legislative” year. With legislative attention focused on the budget crisis and the need “to further craft the details of the reform,” she asks that “the time between now and January must be used to build support for SB 921.” In addition to holding hearings later in the fall, the Senator stated that “the interim presents an excellent opportunity for constituents to reach legislators who are in their districts for the break.”
This is an important time for additional organizing during this time when the details get worked out for these two important bills. More information will be forthcoming on advocacy actions and recommendations on behalf of both bills.
Anthony E. Wright
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921