Workers Comp Zone


This afternoon is crunch time for the Schwarzenegger-Nunez healthcare reform package, ABX1. Last week’s California Senate hearing on the bill was continued to this afternoon.

A few weeks ago it appeared that ABX1 might make it after all. The product of year-long negotiations and a “special session” of the legislature, ABX1 is supported by many major large employers and some
large unions as well as Kaiser and Blue Shield. In formal opposition are
employer groups representing smaller employers-restaurants, for example- and Blue Shield. Also in opposition are many progressives who question whether anything other than a single-payer Medicare type system will work. These advocates are concerned about the affordability of
insurance under ABX1 since the bill mandates that some individuals purchase coverage.

ABX1 had a major recent setback when the non-partisan California budget analyst issued a report questioning the financial assumptions of ABX1.

Soon, several wavering state senators announced their opposition-Leland Yee and Gloria Negrete McLeod. They join Sheila Kuehl, a single payer advocate, in opposing the bill. Senate Pro Tem Don Perata had announced he was taking a go slow approach til the budget analyst’s report was issued.

And all of this is taking place in the shadow of next week’s term limits initiative. According to analysis I’ve seen this morning of Field Poll results, the support for the term limits initiative has cratered. This would leave the Democratic legislative leadership of Fabian Nunez and Don Perata as lame ducks.

According to analysis done by Health Access California ( a group focusing on healthcare reform), the legislative analyst’s report has a number of mistakes and faulty assumptions. Anthony Wright of Health Access California argues that ABX1 is not as risky as the LAO analysis would have indicated. Wright’s article is significant and I encourage you to read it here: … is_pr.html

But we’ll likely know in a few hours whether ABX1 has failed.

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments