L.A. chamber backs Arnold’s health care reform

first_imgCompeting health-care reform plans proposed by Democratic leaders, he added, put too much of the burden on business alone. Fleming said the chamber’s board overwhelmingly voted to support the governor’s plan. Earlier this month, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 8, a health reform plan authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, and the Senate president pro tempore, Don Perata, D-Oakland. But Schwarzenegger is expected to veto that bill and has called a special legislative session to focus on achieving health-care reform this year. Schwarzenegger’s proposal calls for a combination of requiring all Californians to carry health insurance, requiring insurers to provide coverage to everyone and expanding access to publicly funded coverage plans. SACRAMENTO – The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce endorsed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health-care reform proposal Monday, becoming the largest business group to support the effort. The California Chamber of Commerce, a normally staunch Schwarzenegger ally, continues to be concerned about the costs businesses would bear under the plan. But the Los Angeles chamber traditionally has been closer to the political center on many issues, and chamber Chairman David Fleming said the governor’s plan does not burden businesses alone. “We need a plan that will cover everyone in California, but it shouldn’t be a plan that’s funded solely by business,” Fleming said. “It should be a plan that’s funded by everybody in this state, all the interests.” It also requires employers who don’t provide coverage to pay 4 percent of their payroll to a state fund and would charge hospitals 4 percent and doctors 2 percent of gross revenues for health coverage. The plan was introduced in January, but has yet to muster enough Republican support to pass the Legislature. It is expected to need a two-thirds vote because the financing mechanisms are seen as a tax. Without Republican support, Schwarzenegger is considering placing at least the funding portion on voters’ ballots. Schwarzenegger welcomed the chamber’s support Monday, saying the coalition supporting his plan has been growing. He said he is continuing talks with Nunez and Perata but hopes to avoid a piecemeal approach under which the state would first look at expanding coverage for children or creating an employer mandate. “I think we’re really marching in the same direction,” Schwarzenegger said. “I think, more and more, everyone realizes that we ought to reform and do total and comprehensive reform.” Nunez said he was glad to see the Los Angeles chamber get involved and he will continue working with the governor on a compromise plan. “It’s great to see the Los Angeles chamber step up to the plate in support of health care reform, but I remain concerned that Republican opposition to the governor’s two-thirds vote proposal in the regular legislative session will still be an obstacle in the current special session,” Nunez said in a written statement. harrison.sheppard@dailynews.com (916) 446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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