Killing jobs? or Killing people?

The Chamber of Commerce has just released its annual list of “job-killer” bills. Among them — AB8 and SB48, the Legislature’s health reform legislation. You’ll recall that both bills woudl require businesses to dedicate 7.5 percent of their income to pay for health care for their employees.

(They also opine about “green energy” and “green building” bills. Maybe global warming doesn’t kill jobs.)

Now maybe nobody at the Chamber ever gets sick, but I’m thinking that many of the Chamber’s member businesses know better. According the National Committee for Quality Assurance, sicker employees are less productive(Duh) and expensive. Businesses lose about $1.2 billion annually due to heart disease, asthma, hypertension, depression, diabetes, and smoking-related illness. And that 7.5 percent, if anyone up there in the Chamber ivory tower cared to do the math – is less than many businesses pay now for health care.

And, to take the Chamber on its own terms, I can think of no worse “job-killer” for an employee than being dead. (You think I’m exaggerating, but 18,000 people die a year because they are uninsured making it the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Institute of Medicine).

So what do you say?

Will it be a job killer? Or people killer?

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

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