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California’s Prop 72 protects health insurance for workers

Consumers Union Urges California Voters to Support Proposition 72 on November 2
Proposition 72 Would Preserve Our System of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Prop. 72 is a preventive measure that preserves job-based health insurance. It requires all employers with 50 or more workers to make a choice: either (1) provide health insurance for their workers just as more than 95% of employers do now; or (2) pay into a state fund that will purchase private health insurance for employees whose companies choose to pay into the fund. Small businesses under 50 employees are exempt from Prop. 72.
Prop. 72 keeps health insurance affordable for employees. Under Prop. 72, employers must pay at least 80% of premiums and can pay up to 100%. The employee share is limited to 20% at most. The coverage under Prop. 72 is the same kind of comprehensive private coverage most Californians have now through their job. Coverage includes medical care, preventive care and prescription drugs.
Prop. 72 will provide health insurance to about 1 million uninsured Californians. Without health insurance, uninsured people often must resort to emergency rooms—the most expensive place to get healthcare—for treatment. Because the uninsured can’t get preventive care or receive treatment early, they are often very sick when they finally do go to an emergency room. This increases healthcare costs for taxpayers and those with health insurance. Providing more people health insurance helps control rising healthcare costs.
Proposition 72 protects our system of health insurance. Right now, many companies are cutting back on health insurance by making out-of-pocket contributions by employees too expensive or by not offering coverage at all. If this trend continues, more and more companies will have to follow suit to stay competitive. This will destabilize our entire health insurance system, which currently depends on companies providing health coverage to employees.
California doctors, nurses, teachers, senior citizen organizations, religious organizations and community groups support Prop. 72. See the full list of more than 200 supporting organizations at: http://www.yesonprop72.com/site/pp.asp?c=efIOISMEG&b=47413
Opponents of Prop. 72, such as the fast food industry, use scare tactics. They claim Prop. 72 will hurt the economy. But Prop. 72 will help the economy by helping businesses that already offer health coverage compete fairly against those businesses that now don’t offer health coverage. Prop. 72 will also help the economy by keeping people healthy and making them more productive workers. An analysis by the Economic and Social Research Institute in Washington, D.C. found that Prop. 72 should not “have a major impact on the number of people hired” (see “Labor Force Effects” at http://www.chcf.org/topics/healthinsurance/sb2/index.cfm?itemID=105807).
Prop. 72 is not government run healthcare, as opponents claim. Prop. 72 requires private health insurance, not a government health program. Most employees will continue to get private insurance purchased by their employer as they do now. If an employer chooses to pay into the state fund, then the employee will get the same kind of private health insurance. The only difference: the state purchasing pool pays for the insurance, not the employer. But the insurance is the same: private health insurance from companies like Blue Cross, Kaiser, Blue Shield, and others. The employee will only deal with the private health insurer, not the state purchasing pool.
Useful links for more information on Prop 72: www.YesOnProp72.com
The text of the initiative and the ballot arguments on both sides of the issue: