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News of the Day ... in Perspective

11/11/2004

California rejects “Pay or Play”

California Proposition 72, the “Play or Pay” bill signed into law by Gov. Davis just before he was recalled, went down to narrow defeat in the election, despite massive spending by unions for television ads.

The margin was 49.1% to 50.9%, only 150,000 votes.

The law would have forced all California employers to buy qualified health insurance for all employees and in most cases their dependents, or else pay into a state fund that would insure all. California would have been the first state in the nation to have such a law.

“Pay or Play” was favored by a majority of the board of directors of the California Medical Association, but a few CMA leaders and members spoke out against it. Gov. Schwarzenegger provided some last-minute assistance to the repeal effort.

This bill was described by Dr. Tom LaGrelius, President of the California chapter of AAPS, as the “antithesis to consumer-directed health care,” which would have set the CDHC movement back by a decade in California.

Additional information:

AAPS letter to California members

Anatomy of a TKO by Michael Schlitt, M.D.: AAPS members help defeat “Pay or Play” in Washington, AAPS News, July 1992.

Cost of pay or play estimated to be a loss of 710,000 jobs in the first year, according to documents of Clinton Task Force on HealthCare Reform. (Excerpts of task force documents in Archive of AAPS v. Clinton - PDF about 1MB)

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