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Los Angeles County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

Health Care Reform

By Gabriella Holt

Candidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 54

This information is provided by the candidate
We don't want to do it like San Francisco
Mayor Gavin Newsom attempted to institute a "universal healthcare" plan for San Franciscans until a Federal judge overruled the ordinance.

One thing we all can agree one should be without accessible and affordable healthcare. The number of uninsured employed in this state and country is deplorable. All that said, attempts to circumvent federal law which preempts state and local governments from regulating employee benefits is not the way to go.

The Federal law in place, called ERISA (Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974), is the basis of the federal judge's decision to strike down the San Francisco ordinance. ERISA sets minimum federal standards for established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans and trumps all state and local laws that relate to any employee benefit plan. This is for the uniform protection of all individuals enrolled in these plans.

The Healthy San Francisco ordinance was just one more attempt of state and local governments to bypass ERISA and create illegal employer mandates. "By mandating employee health benefit structures and administration, those (spending) requirements interfere with preserving employer autonomy over whether and how to provide employee health coverage, and (with) ensuring uniform national regulation of such coverage for employees," the judge said. Bingo!

This is a good sign. Affordable healthcare should not be at the expense of small business owners already burdened in an all too expensive arena in which to do business. Too many people believe that monies will come from big profitable corporations but the reality is 60% of businesses are small businesses. Small restaurants, small retail, and service business do not have the margin room to be able to pay for it.

Good intentions do not make good policy and EVERYONE'S mutual best interest needs to be considered over simplistic solutions that do more collective harm than good.

The state legislature must pull together and develop a reasonable healthcare plan for all in compliance with federal law, with the best interest of all Californians in mind and without busting the state treasury

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