I attended the always-informative California Budget Project conference yesterday, where Alissa Anderson Garcia, an analyst there, shared her study of where California industry, wages and benefits are headed. The information was fascinating.
First off, higher paying jobs WITH benefits — such as manufacturing and the information sector — are on the decline. These jobs average $51,215 annually.
They are being replaced by lower-paying jobs WITHOUT benefits, such as construction and service industry jobs, where the pay is $44,057.
Garcia analysis showed that if the new jobs provided health care at the same rate as the old jobs, 600,000 more workers would have coverage.
Instead, these low-wage workers are either uninsured — and paying for it through poorer health and higher medical expenses — or enrolled in public programs, which means the taxpayers are taking care of the private sector’s workers.
These workers need to be covered. It helps everyone if they have health coverage because they are healthier and it will give them an opportunity propel themselves and their families into a higher income bracket. It helps everyone because they will not be delaying their medical needs because they’re afraid of the expense, ultimately costing everyone more money.
This means two things, in my view.
1) Require employers to provide health coverage or 2) Provide substantial enough subsidies for these workers to get adequate and meaningful coverage.