Red-handed and Red-faced

The Assembly Health Committee just passed AB343 (Solorio), which would require the state to list the names of businesses who have more than 25 employees are enrolled in public programs such as Healthy Families, Access for Infants and Mothers, and Medi-Cal.

In other words, if you are a business and at least 25 of your workers are enrolled in public programs, the state will publish:

  • your business name
  • address
  • the number of employees (and their dependents) are on public programs
  • How much it costs the state (and taxpayers) to provide health care to your employees, and their families.

The California Chamber of Commerce and WalMart opposed the bill, citing veto messages of previous efforts that said it would do nothing to lessen the number of uninsured in the state.

On the contrary, though, while it may not directly provide coverage to the uninsured, it would essentially allow the public to see how much taxpayer money is being spent to provide healthy workers, who inturn help private companies make money.

The Employer Development Department is already collecting all the data anyway — so why not crunch it in a different way.

Businesses frequently opine about California’s unfriendly climate for businesses. A study such as suggested in Solorio’s bill could either prove their case (showing that CA taxpayers don’t give a dime to providing health coverage to workers), as I suspect, blow their cover, showing that huge amounts of taxpayer dollars go to help workers to enroll in public programs.

As Assemblymember Mary Salas said, if businesses are not ashamed of the way they are conducting business, why not let this report become public?

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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