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Health Coverage Bill: Good for the Goose?

September 18, 2003

Re "Legislature OKs Small Business Health Coverage," Sept. 14: It's easy to predict the effects of SB 2, which requires businesses in California to provide health-care coverage for their employees. Employers with more than 19 workers will start outsourcing and downsizing their staffs at once to meet the January 2006 or 2007 deadlines and avoid this onerous burden. Those managers who are foolish or unable to trim their payrolls will put their companies at risk of bankruptcy if medical costs continue to escalate as dramatically as we've seen over the last decade or two.

After all, there is nothing in this bill (drafted by Democrats) that forces California businesses to retain their current number of employees or medical providers to stabilize their fees. It's also a certainty that small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will not be trying to create new jobs and expand the economy. When Gov. Gray Davis signs this bill he will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

John F. Tintle

Nipomo

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It appears that the major objections to requiring employers to provide health insurance center on the notion that some businesses that currently do not provide this may be economically harmed or even go out of business. But what about employers who have provided coverage for their employees? How many of them have already gone out of business or are seriously hampered by having to compete with those who don't? If competition is indeed good for the economy, is it not a legitimate role of government to ensure that there is an even playing field? What kind of employers do we most seek in California anyway? Hopefully, there is more to a successful business than simply keeping labor as cheap as possible.

Hyman J. Milstein MD

Studio City

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