One of the surreal moments of the week was when lobbyist Beth Capell, in testifying in support of a bill, representing her clients Health Access California and SEIU, ceded half her time to… the NFIB.
The NFIB made it’s name opposing the Clinton health plan in the early 1990s. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. The bill was AB2967 (Lieber), to allow for better transparency of cost and quality from health care providers. It’s disappointing, although perhaps not surprising, that doctor and hospital associations opposed more reporting on themselves.
What was new and interesting was the unique coalition in support. That included consumer groups, like Consumers Union, AARP, Health Access, and CALPIRG; many labor unions including the California Labor Federation, SEIU, AFSCME, CTA, and yes, key employer groups, with Pacific Business Group on Health, Small Business Majority, and the NFIB.
It’s makes sense that purchasers of health care–whether individuals, employers, or union trusts–would want better information on what they are buying. But these alliances are less frequent than that common interest would suggest.
It’s a sign that the unique alliances around health reform last year were not a fluke, and not dependent on the Governor’s urging. So let’s see if this goodwill continues.