Prop. B is bad medicine

Pub date September 21, 2010
WriterTom Ammiano

OPINION Proposition B on the November ballot would eviscerate health care for tens of thousands of public workers and their families. It would double the cost of children’s health care for more than 30,000 public employees including teachers, nurses, firefighters, custodians, and gardeners — regardless of their ability to pay.

But you wouldn’t know this is actually what Prop. B does because the recent focus has been on the measure’s "reforms" to employee retirement. You wouldn’t know this has anything to do with children’s health care — because proponents don’t want you to know the true costs of Prop. B.

What are those true costs?

A single mother will be forced to pay up to $5,600 per year for her child’s health care — in addition to the $8,154 she already pays.

A custodian making only $40,000 per year would have to pay the same hike in health insurance premiums as the city’s top brass, who could be making three times as much.

Talk about unintended consequences.

That’s not reform, and it’s not fair. The workers being blamed are the same city employees who this year voluntarily agreed to $250 million in wage concessions. These are the same workers who have willingly taken pay cuts totaling $750 million the last decade.

Proponents have framed Prop. B as an answer to the city’s pension and retirement costs, but in reality, this measure is about health care. San Francisco’s Office of the Controller’s impartial analysis of Prop. B concludes that 70 percent of the savings from the measure would come from dramatically increasing the cost of dependent health care for working families.

A deep recession spurred by costly wars and reckless behavior on Wall Street has had devastating effects on our city and nation. Prop. B punishes city workers for this economic collapse by radically increasing the cost of their health care.

San Francisco has led the nation in providing universal access to health care. As author and founder of our HealthySF program, I encourage you to resist the attempt reverse progress on health care. Vote no on B.

Assembly Member Tom Ammiano represents the 13th District.