|"It's hand-to-hand combat
right now." |
California Retailers Association President Bill Dombrowski
Democrats look to drive large employers out of California with huge fines ranging from $6,000 to $15,000 per employee
The People's Republic of California - A new and controversial proposal in California's Obamacare related health care overhaul calls for the huge fining of large employers if the wages they pay are not high enough to keep workers off Medi-Cal rolls.
Leftist Democrat Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will formally unveiled the measure as Assembly Bill 880 in a drive sponsored by the California Labor Federation and United Food and Commercial Workers.
"We need to close a loophole that basically allows the largest and most profitable employers in the state to skirt their responsibility to provide health care coverage," said Gomez (Socialist Democrat - Los Angeles).
California labor unions have launched a lobbying, direct mail and online advertising blitz in support of legislation to penalize large employers if wages they pay are not high enough to keep workers off Medi-Cal rolls.
"We're seeing that there's a small number of large employers that are trying to game the system, and this is something that the Legislature, I think, has a responsibility to address," said Steve Smith, spokesman for the California Labor Federation.
The campaign has collected about 12,000 petition signatures in support of Assembly Bill 880, bought online advertising expected to be seen by a million people before week's end, and is bringing dozens of union members to the Capitol every day this week to lobby lawmakers, Smith said in the Sacramento Bee.
Political fliers also have been sent to constituents of Assemblyman Brian Nestande, a Palm Desert Republican, after he voted against the union-sponsored bill in the Assembly's Health Committee.The campaign might end up costing six figures, Smith said.
"This is a huge issue for workers," he said of legislation supported by the campaign, Assembly Bill 880.
AB 880's monetary penalty has been "scrubbed" from on-line versions of this story.
Here is the info from the print version of the Ventura County Star:
California Retailers Association President Bill Dombrowski said there are up to 1,200 California businesses with more than 500 workers that could be impacted by the bill.
Dombrowski estimates the penalties would amount to $6,000 to $15,000 for each worker enrolled into Medi-Cal.
"It is chilling," he said, "I don't know how you would handle that."
The labor federation and United Food and Commercial Workers are joint sponsors of AB 880, which has passed policy committees and is headed for the Assembly floor. Los Angeles Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez introduced the bill.
AB 880 would affect Walmart and various restaurant chains and janitorial firms, Smith contends. It would penalize employers of 500 people or more if their workers qualify for Medi-Cal coverage.
Existing federal law allows businesses of 50 employees or more to be penalized if their full-time workers are forced to buy health insurance from a new state exchange because they are neither covered by an employer plan nor eligible for Medi-Cal.
AB 880 would lower the threshold further and encompass part-time workers, but it would apply only to the state's largest employers. The penalty would be roughly the sum necessary to provide health insurance.
A Walmart spokeswoman referred calls about the bill to a business coalition opposing it, which released the following statement from Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association:
"AB 880 has overwhelming opposition from nearly every industry in this state. This is one of the worst bills introduced and it will have devastating impacts on jobs, our economy and the implementation of Obamacare."
Also see THE FEDERALIST - A $15,000 "Obamacare" fine - Welcome to Socialism