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POLICY/POLITICS: Which Californians care about Prop 72?

So the mudslinging has begun with the No on 72 crowd calling it a government takeover of the health care system in California. Prop 72 is an up or down popular vote on the SB2 “Pay or Play” passed last year just before Gray Davis was booted out by Arnie. Calling Pay or Play a government takeover as have recent ads is pretty disingenuous, as the law only gives the government control over those who choose to “pay” into the pool in order to stop employers gaming the system. But why waste precious ad time saying that, especially as it smacks of the truth.

Of course if you really want to find out what this is about you need to follow the money. The California Health Care Foundation’s HealthVote 2004 site shows who’s spending what. Unions are supporting the campaign with about $1m so far, and that’s mostly an ideological buy to support SB2’s sponsor State Senator John Burton. On the other side is $6 million from the people who’d have to –shock-horror — pay for their employees’ health care! Who are this disinterested crowd? The list of contributors by size

1.California Restaurant Association
2.CKE Restaurants. (Carl’s Jr)
3.California Restaurant Association Issues PAC
4.Target
5.Macy’s West, Inc.
6.Harman Management Corporation (biggest KFC franchisee)
7.Sears
8.Yum! Brands, inc. (parent company of KFC, Taco Bell)
9.McDonald’s corporation
10.Wendy’s international, inc.

I think it’s safe to say that Walmart is on that list in spirit at least too. So basically anyone who employs a lot of low wage-employees is fighting this. But really what difference would it make to them? People will keep living in California and someone will make money selling them fast-food and whatever schlock Target is selling. So it’s not exactly as if these jobs are going to pack up and go to Arizona.

So really this is as naked as it gets. These corporations are trying to preserve the share of their revenue that goes to profit over that which goes to compensation. And for that, they want the rest of us to fund the care of 1 million uninsured people who work for them. Arnie is opposed to 72. Welcome to Kal-ee-forn-iya.

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