Goals & Issue Summaries
Promote a sound and affordable health care system. Work to contain costs and avoid unnecessary and expensive regulatory controls, including mandates.
Rate Review Mandate
Position: There is no disagreement that health care costs are rising and making it more difficult for employers and their employees to afford quality, accessible care. Maintaining a viable health insurance market that provides individuals with an opportunity to obtain health insurance is important.
The California Chamber of Commerce will continue to promote efforts to contain health care costs and improve access to high-quality health care by supporting a system that is affordable and improves the overall health of California citizens.
Rate Review Mandate
Single-Payer Health Care
Position: Californians need to have access to affordable, quality health care—and currently, it appears this ideal is being met. Not counting undocumented immigrants, 97.6% of Californians have health insurance. In addition, California now offers health benefits to undocumented immigrants who are ages 19 to 25 (see Business Issues article on “Universal Health Care”).
A $200 billion tax increase and complete restructuring of the health care system seem to be an excessive approach to providing health insurance to the small percentage of Californians not covered today. Such a system abrogates the freedom individuals have to pursue health care of their choosing. Exorbitant taxes will be required to fund such a system, and the necessary public financing will have a detrimental impact on all the employers and employees of this state.
Single-payer health care does not equate to free health care, and the costs associated with this system will systemically eradicate new jobs while driving out existing industries. The consequences associated with adopting a single-payer health care model should give the Legislature serious pause in pushing forward any proposal in California.
Single-Payer Health Care
Universal Health Care
Position: Universal health care schemes do not equate to free health care. When analyzing universal health care countries, it’s evident that patient costs are covered by tax-funded public financing. These corporate and individual taxes do not cover all health care expenses, which means patients are left personally paying for partially covered and exempted services despite being charged the equivalent of a health care premium under the guise of an all-encompassing tax. These services include care and treatment Californians expect to have covered under their health insurance, such as preventative care, prescription medication, ambulance transport, and physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Although access to health care may be considered a fundamental right, the method in which individuals pay for that health care must be allotted ample thought and consideration. The “Universal Health Care” slogan places form above substance, and Californians need to recognize how their health care will be paid for under such a model.
Universal Health Care
Blocked increases in health care costs in 2018 by:
- Winning amendments to and veto of proposal mandating medication-assistant treatment for opioid use disorders (AB 2384).
- Supported voter rejection of initiative that set dangerous precedent of applying arbitrary government price controls on a health care service; could have increased costs by shifting treatment from dialysis clinics to more expensive venues, and led to clinic closures, thereby reducing patient access to critical care (Proposition 8).
Kept lid on health care costs in 2017 by:
- Stopping well-meaning but flawed mandates increasing health care costs (SB 349, SB 172, SB 399, AB 1601, AB 1110, SB 221,
- Advocating amendments to narrow the overly broad scope of required screening for blood lead levels in children to subjects whom a physician determines are at risk for lead poisoning (AB 1316).
- Winning removal of language that would have limited access to care from in-home respite care provider agencies (AB 1380).
Stopped plan in 2017 for single-payer, multibillion-dollar health care system with unspecified funding plan (SB 562).
Stopped health care mandates in 2016 that threatened the long-term affordability of health care premiums (AB 2209, AB 3400, SB 1034, AB 1763, AB 2004, AB 2764).
Supported enactment in 2016 of special session measure to preserve a crucial state-federal funding mechanism for the Medi-Cal program (SBX2 2).
Opposed initiative defeated by voters in 2016 that would have increased health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs by shifting the cost of prescription drugs from government purchasers to private payers (Proposition 61).
Supported well-crafted health care funding proposal signed into law that preserves critical funding for the state’s Medi-Cal program, which is critical for the health care delivery system, without undermining the affordability of commercial health care purchased by employers, families, and individuals. (SBX2 2 of 2016)
Stopped 2015 Job Killer that would have increased health care costs by granting ability for state regulators to unilaterally alter large-group rate changes (SB 546.)
Controlling Health Care Costs in 2015:
- Stopped coverage mandates that would have increased employer premiums (SB 190, SB 289).
- Supported legislation signed mid-year to extend funding for program to provide the Legislature with valuable independent analyses of medical, financial and public health impacts of proposed health insurance mandates (SB 125).
- Blocked new targeted taxes on employer health insurance (SBX2 14, ABX2 19, ABX2 4)
Stopped state proposals in recent years that would have increased health care premiums by establishing numerous health care coverage mandates.
Promoted voter rejection of ballot measures in 2014 that would have led to increased health care costs: Proposition 45 and its fundamentally flawed approach of giving the state Insurance Commissioner authority to approve health insurance rates (thereby potentially delaying health care decisions); and Proposition 46, which would have removed the longstanding cap on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Blocked legislative proposals in 2014 that would have increased health care costs, including new health care mandates (AB 1771, SB 1053) and bills that would have undermined managed care plan savings (AB 2533) or nonprescription-based health care products and services (AB 1917).
Supported urgency measure in 2014 helping small employers control health care costs by allowing them to extend pre-Affordable Care Act policies through the end of December 2015 (SB 1446).
Advocated signing of legislation in 2014 eliminating confusion on waiting period limitations for health care coverage (SB 1034).
The interplay of costs, subsidies and pre-existing conditions in the health care debate is explained by CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg at the CalChamber Capitol Summit on May 31, 2017.
CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg discusses the political pressures affecting lawmakers’ attitudes toward government-run health care at the CalChamber Capitol Summit on May 31, 2017.
Health Care Bills
Health Care, Taxation