Saturday, August 25, 2007

Guvmint Health Care

Last week, the California Labor Federation came knocking on TAG's door about supporting state-mandated Universal Health Care.

The particular bill with which they wanted assistance -- AB 8, supported by Fabian Nunez, California Assembly Speaker -- isn't supported by Governor Arnold.

No surprise there. Its costs are somewhat higher and it focuses on an employer mandate to get more people covered, rather than an individual mandate, which is what the guv wants.

Long story short: TAG and the IATSE (our mother international) won't be supporting it unless there are amendments which address the problems the legislation causes for our trust fund -- the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.

At this point, the bill is really a non-starter anyway, since Arnold S. has announced he's going to veto the sucker if it lands on his desk, and there aren't near enough votes for an override.....

I bring this up because:

A) State coverage could, theoretically, impact TAG members who now get their health coverage from the MPIPHP, and...

B) If state-wide funding for health care happens at some time in the future, it might free up hundreds of millions of dollars that now go into our Health Plan and enable the millions to be redirected into the Pension plans.

Like I say. Theorectical. But worth thinking about for five minutes if you're an active participant in the Pension and Health Plans.


Anonymous said...

Steve.. If it is not amended, how might this universal health plan(AB-8) impact our MP/IA plan specifically? I'm guessing that if it went through,it would wipe ours out completely, as we would then all be on the state plan. While universal health care is an ideal I can appreciate, my fear is that a fund of that enormity could easily be subject to gross incompetance and corruption.
Too many, if not most Insurance Companies and HMO's already suck in that regard,.. we know that-- but would it be of any greater comfort knowing that bureaucratic vultures may be drooling over the mere possibilty of such opportunity?
I can see it now..
The red tape will be horrendous and, certainly ,compared to the great care we in the IA are privileged to enjoy at present, the quality of the care, if indeed it is rendered at all, will be crap.

Steve Hulett said...

If the bill isn't amended, then there could be a problem.

The IA has made clear it won't support the legislation without amendments protecting the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan. (The International ain't stupid.)

But the reality is, the bill won't become law in its present form. The guv has announced he's vetoing the measure (with or without amendments).

So don't lose any sleep over this. AB 8 isn't going anywhere.

Jeff Massie said...

AB8, and other similar proposals, would not mandate that employers switch from a private of multi-employer plan to a state-sponsored plan.

This particular proposal would mandate that employers spend no less than 7.5% of their payroll on health insurance. Obtaining health insurance for all employed Californians would be a good thing all around, as it would lower costs.

Here’s the problem. Our union health plan gets a lot of its funding from residuals and supplemental markets. This income remains relatively steady despite the roller-coaster of employment. It’s the reason why our insurance remains 100% employer funded, and why ours is the best health insurance in the entertainment industry.

But AB 8 doesn’t count those sources of funding against the 7.5% requirement. So if AB 8 passed without amendment, our employers would probably have to increase the hourly contributions, and they would push for reductions in residuals to compensate. The result would be a much less steady income stream for our plan.

Amendments have been introduced to address this problem. But as Steve just said, it's kind of a moot point since AB 8 has no chance of passing in this year's legislature.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve and Jeff, for the clarification. Though, as you say,there's no immediate danger of this bill passing unamended, it's good to be aware of things like this anyway.

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